Prolific SF author Harry Harrison dies at 87

12:51 PM, Aug 15, 2012   |    comments
Prolific science fiction author Harry Harrison died on August 15 at the age of 87. (Harry Harrison Official News Blog/Paul Tomlinson)
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(WXIA) -- Harry Harrison, the noted science fiction author who wrote the story that became the movie Soylent Green has died. He was 87.

Harrison wrote dozens of novels and created a number of memorable characters, including Bill the Galactic Hero and James "Slippery Jim" DiGriz, the roguish smuggler hero of his well-regarded Stainless Steel Rat novels long before movie audiences ever heard of smuggler Han Solo.

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Harrison's best-known work is likely the novel Make Room! Make Room!, which became the motion picture Soylent Green -- which told of an overgrown New York megalopolis, overflowing with more than 35 million people living in filth, squalor and oppressive heat.

His Stainless Steel Rat stories formed the introduction to science fiction literature for many fans over the years. After creating the characters in the August 1957 issue of Astounding magazine, Harrison continued to write the series into his later years, with the latest novel, The Stainless Steel Rat Returns being released in 2010.

Harrison was born in Stamford, Conn., in 1925 and spent his formative years in Brooklyn. After World War II, he began drawing and in art school teamed with noted comic artist Wally Wood on the old EC Comics. By the early 1950s, Harrison had gained membership into the Hydra Club, which put him shoulder to shoulder with science fiction professionals and legends like Isaac Asimov, Theodore Sturgeon, Lester del Rey and many others.

In the 1950s, the prolific Harrison began writing for science fiction magazines and comics before venturing into novels.

Notable stories from Harrison over the years included the alternate history-steampunk novel that pre-dated the genre, A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah! in 1972 and the earlier Make Room! Make Room! which became the motion picture Soylent Green in 1973.

Harrison was living in the U.K. at the time of his death.

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