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Since he has used the pseudonym mainly for works he wants to distance himself from, it may be understood to mean that "this work is for the birds" or that it is of as much use as shoes to a bird.

Stephen King once said he thought that it meant that Ellison was giving people who mangled his work a literary version of "the bird" (given credence by Ellison himself in his own essay titled "Somehow, I Don't Think We're in Kansas, Toto", describing his experience with the Starlost television series).

Ellison moved to New York City in 1955 to pursue a writing career, primarily in science fiction.

Over the next two years, he published more than 100 short stories and articles.

Ellison has repeatedly criticized how Star Trek creator and producer Gene Roddenberry (and others) rewrote his original script for the 1967 episode "The City on the Edge of Forever".

Despite his objections, Ellison kept his own name on the shooting script instead of using "Cordwainer Bird" to indicate displeasure (above).

In his book Strange Wine, Ellison explains the origins of the Bird and goes on to state that Philip Jose Farmer wrote Cordwainer into the Wold Newton family the latter writer had developed.

The term used by Linebarger was meant to imply the industriousness of the pulp author.

Ellison has said, in interviews and in his writing, that his version of the pseudonym was meant to mean "a shoemaker for birds".

He married Charlotte Stein in 1956, but they divorced four years later. Ellison's screenplay for the Star Trek episode "The City on the Edge of Forever" has been considered the best of the 79 episodes in the series.

He said of the marriage, "four years of hell as sustained as the whine of a generator." Ellison moved to California in 1962, and subsequently began to sell his writing to Hollywood. He participated in the Selma to Montgomery marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, led by Martin Luther King, Jr.

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