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Science fiction author Harlan Ellison dead at age 84

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Harlan Ellison, pictured in 2014, was a prolific science fiction writer.

Harlan Ellison, pictured in 2014, was a prolific science fiction writer.  (Gabe Ginsberg/FilmMagic)

LOS ANGELES –  Harlan Ellison, the pugnacious author of "A Boy and His Dog," who lambasted society in nightmare fiction and stinging essays for half a century, has died. He was 84.

Bill Schafer, an editor at the author's publisher, Subterranean Press, tells The Associated Press Ellison died Wednesday.

Ellison was best-known and lauded for science fiction, but his prolific work included mysteries, comic books, articles and screenplays.

Some of his most popular works were surrealistic fantasies set in grisly worlds run by totalitarians and conformists. Some were humorous; many were shockingly graphic.

"A Boy and His Dog" portrays a world devastated by nuclear war. Its hero is a young thug lured to an underground community who rebels against its sterility.

The novella was the basis for a 1975 movie starring Don Johnson.

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