Obituary: Harry Harrison, Sci-Fi Legend
It is with profound sadness that I report the loss of another science fiction master. Henry Maxwell Dempsey, aka Harry Harrison, passed away today, cause as yet unreported. He was 87.
Harrison was one of the more interesting characters of the sci-fi set. An American by birth, his father was half Irish and changed the family name to Harrison before Harry was born – a fact Harry didn’t know until he was 30, when he legally changed his name to Harry Max Harrison. His mother was Russian-Jewish, and her brother was a US consul in Japan. He served in World War II as a gunsight mechanic and gunnery instructor, and has since lived in many parts of the world. With a personal life this eclectic, one would expect a little carryover into his fiction, and Harrison would go on to become one of the best writers in the field, so far as this writer is concerned.
Harrison got his start as an illustrator for EC Comics, and worked in newspaper syndication for a number of years, including, most notably an 8-year run on Flash Gordon. Known for his comedic writing, his best known work is The Stainless Steel Rat, largely considered in the top 100 science fiction novels of all time. He has also written many serious novels over the years, such as his novel Make Room! Make Room!, which would be most famously translated into the feature film Soylent Green.
As one who discovered The Stainless Steel Rat at an early age when my dad passed on his beat up paperback copy of it, I have spent my life enjoying Mr. Harrison’s works and would recommend them to anyone. To his friends and family, we at SciFiFX express our deepest sympathies. He’ll be missed and remembered.