I just found out that Harry Harrison passed away this morning at the age of 87. I want to express my condolences to his family. Harry Harrison touched many lives including my own. I can’t express the joy I had reading the adventures of slippery Jim DiGriz over the years. I normally hate stories about criminals but Jim was just the right kind of criminal. Not a villain in any sense of the word but a man who was bored by a society that was too artificial, too controlled, and just to damn uptight. The “Rat” was not Harrison’s only creation by a long shot and his other work stands just as exulted in the annals of science fiction. Who doesn’t know what soylent green is made of? We owe at least the inspiration for Soylent Green if not the product itself (cannibalism was added by the filmmakers) to Harrison’s novel Make Room, Make Room. He was also an Illustrator for EC comics and an anthology editor. He is credited with raising the standards of science fiction as literature by creating strict guidelines for the anthologies he was involved with.
Harrison was a visionary. He understood something about the human condition and how to make people laugh. That is something most writers today miss. We all have a little bit of Slippery Jim in us and that’s why Harrison’s writings will stay fresh forever.
Please take a moment today to remember one of science fiction’s great story tellers.