Harry Harrison, an American novelist famous for science fiction and fantasies died Wednesday, his official website reported. He was 87.
The cause of death was not disclosed on the official announcement. The legendary icon spent the last years of his life in Ireland.
Friend and fellow author Michael Carroll who also runs Harrison's website said, "Rest in peace, my friend. You touched the lives of millions with your exciting adventures, packed with unlikely but always hilarious and thrilling escapades and frequently rather dodgy, but loveable, characters... and, you know, your fiction was pretty damn good too!"
“He believed science fiction was important, that it caused people to think about our world and what it could become.”--Harrison’s publisher, Tom Doherty
Early life and career
Harry Harrison, whose real name was Henry Maxwell Dempsey was born in Stamford, Connecticut in 1925 and spent his formative years in Brooklyn. He lived in many countries over his life span, including Mexico, England, Ireland, Denmark and Italy.
After serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, Harrison studied art at Hunter College in New York. He began his career in the 1950s as an illustrator by creating comic books and strips before turning to writing full-time.
In his long writing career, Harrison churned more than 70 books and short stories. He had readers in many languages.
He made his debut as a novelist in 1960 with Deathworld, an action-packed story with an environmental message.
He is best remembered for the creation of the futuristic character “Slippery Jim DiGriz”, a quick-witted conman who swindles humans, aliens and robots in the long running “The Stainless Steel Rat” series comprising of 12 books written from 1961 to 2010.
Other well known works include, “Eden”, “Bill, the Galactic Hero”, the "Flash Gordon" comic strip penned during the 1950s and '60s, anthologies, collections and children’s stories.
The 1973 film “Soylent Green” starring Charlton Heston and Burgess Meredith was based on his Nebula Award-winning novel Make Room! Make Room!
Harrison’s publisher, Tom Doherty stated, “In ‘The Stainless Steel Rat’ and ‘Bill, The Galactic Hero’ he created two of the great comic series of the genre. In ‘Make Room! Make Room!’ he made us consider the consequences of over-population and over-consumption of the world’s resources.
“He believed science fiction was important, that it caused people to think about our world and what it could become.”
Harrison had two kids, daughter Moira and a son Todd. His wife, Joan died in 2002 from cancer.