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No 'Star Trek'-ing on Ellison's work

August 28, 2008 |  8:20 pm

leIn 1968, science fiction writer extraordinaire Harlan Ellison helped "Star Trek" do what many thought could not happen: win a major mainstream award. The celebrated episode "The City on the Edge of Forever" took home the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Teleplay. More recent genre shows, such as "Battlestar Galactica," "Heroes" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," have sniffed at the Emmys, DGA, WGA and SAG major awards, but mostly have not jumped that hurdle. (Patricia Arquette's Emmy win for "Medium" should not be overlooked!)

Now comes word that the acclaimed writer is suing CBS-Paramount, Simon & Schuster and CBS Corp. for breach of contract. The author says the companies failed to pay him "for use of elements of a 'Star Trek' screenplay he wrote in a trio of 'Star Trek' novels."

Not a lot has been revealed about the lawsuit, or which particular novels supposedly took which particular elements, but gleaning from the creations of others in a multiverse-size story like "Star Trek" or "Star Wars" or "Stargate" seems acceptable and desirable. Authors are really particular, though, about what they own (intellectually and emotionally), so there's surely more going on than just 'He took my Vulcan.'

Mr. Ellison is not one to shy away from speaking his mind though, as illustrated here:

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