Harry Harrison! Harry Harrison!: A Memoir
This is a story about a remarkable man, told in his own professionally engaging voice.
Thirteen and poor in Queens, Harry was a charter member of the Science Fiction League, foreshadowing seminal involvement with the fan movement. In the Air Corps during WWII, he learned to despise the military. Back in New York, illustrating and writing for comics, he drew for some of the early sci-fi magazines, and generally did anything literary to survive. He moved to editing and writing for pulp publications, and then married in 1954. In 1956 he, Joan, and their son became expatriates in Mexico, often earning small change from total penury. He then started Deathworld.
Recoiling from New York, where they had retreated for young Todd’s medical needs, they moved to England and, still scrounging, had to use American pennies to con the gas meter in their flat into thinking it was being fed sixpences. They escaped possible arrest and moved on to a year in Italy, and then New York again for their daughter Moira’s birth. With proceeds from Deathworld, they moved to Denmark and remained for years while Harry turned out material for income, and produced The Stainless Steel Rat.
Filled with a refusal to be constrained, worldwide travel, and constant financial peril, the narrative’s shift to material that the author did not live long enough to compile is a wrench for the reader. I earnestly recommend this biography, particularly for its reminder of a tremendous body of work.
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