Wed
Aug 15 2012 9:45am
Harry Harrison, 1925-2012

Sad news this morning as we mourn the passing of one of the greats of science fiction, Harry Harrison. Harrison, 87, was best known as the author of Make Room! Make Room! (the basis for the film Soylent Green), for the Deathworld novels, and for his twelve novels about Slippery Jim DeGriz, the Stainless Steel Rat.

Harrison actually started out as an illustrator working on SF comics including Weird Science and Weird Fantasy before switching to writing—he was also the main writer for the Flash Gordon comic strip during the 1950s and 60s. In his short stories and novels, Harrison often tackled serious issues (such as overpopulation), but he is equally beloved for his humorous and satirical work, including Bill, the Galactic Hero (which spoofs Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers). In his long and celebrated career, Harrison helped raise the bar for science fiction, both through his own work and as an editor and anthologist. He will be greatly missed.

13 comments
alastair chadwin
1. a-j
Sad news. Spaceship Medic was a childhood favourite and the Stainless Steel Rat series always delivered.
Gardner Dozois
2. Gardner Dozois
Sad news. Not only a good writer, but a nice guy.
Steven Halter
3. stevenhalter
That's really saddening. Another great voice gone.
Gardner Dozois
4. F. Paul Wilson
As I've said elsewhere, very sorry to hear this. We met only a few times in person, but I read him extensively and there’s a bit of Slippery Jim DiGriz in Repairman Jack.
Gardner Dozois
5. jim162065
He was so much fun to read. Very sad to hear of his passing.
Gardner Dozois
6. Brian Barker
I have just heard of the death of Harry Harrison. He was not only an advocate of an international language, but spoke Esperanto fluently. I first met him at the London Esperanto Centre in 1987. And, yes, we did converse in that language as well!
Esperanto owes Harry a great debt of gratitude, due to the "Stainless Steel Rat" books as well as his support to the online course http://www.lernu.net
His memory will live on for many years, including now, on the internet.
Jacqueline Lichtenberg
7. JacquelineLichtenberg
This is sad news indeed. 87 doesn't seem all that old! Stainless Steel Rat is mentioned over and over on #scifichat under a vast array of topics each Friday. But that isn't his only contribution to this field. Harrison wrote good stories, yes, and memorable characters, but most of all I'll always remember him for his clearly expressed, sharply focused thematic statements about truly profound ideas. Science Fiction is the Literature of Ideas, and Harrison was a font of original ideas.
Craig Barnett
8. Ommadawn
I have fond memories of the Stainless Steel Rat from my childhood. Thank you, Mr Harrison. You will be missed.
Wesley Parish
9. Aladdin_Sane
I loved Bill the Galactic Hero. I went through at least two copies of the book. I loved West of Eden and the rest of that trilogy. I still haven't read all the Stainless Steel Rat books.

He was a man of many parts, obviously. Deathwish Drang, Vainte, seven-inch Chingers, ... some of the most memorable characters and situations in SF ...
Gardner Dozois
11. Kelley
Another great of Science Fiction gone. Stainless Steel Rat was one of my favorites growing up.
Gardner Dozois
12. Jaister
R.I.P. Mr HARRY HARRISON, a titan and pioneer of Science Fiction, my favourite author by a million stars. I can only imagine having his imagination. Cheers to you good Sir!!
Gardner Dozois
13. Angry Goblin
This is a sad moment for me... I bought and read "Deathworld" 1, 2 and 3 in my teens. That trilogy touched and made an indelible impression on me. I still have the tattered paperback on my bookshelf. And the "Stainless Steel Rat" is one of my favorite fictional 'anti-heroes' and have collected most of the series!

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