Harry Harrison! Harry Harrison!: It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

Harry Harrison. Tor, $25.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-4299-6728-0
The late Harry Harrison (The Stainless Steel Rat), a Science Fiction Hall of Fame inductee, blends his personal adventures with literary history in this entertaining, posthumously published memoir. Harrison gives readers an inside look at the pivotal role he played in the growth of the SF community—among other things, he was the first to bring authors and fans from the Soviet Union into Western Europe, as part of the First World Science Fiction Writers Conference in 1976. At times, the book reads almost like a travelogue, following Harrison and his wife and two children during their continual moves throughout the world, first to Mexico, and later to Italy, Denmark, and Ireland. These migrations, motivated by Harrison’s search for freedom from the distractions and high costs of American life, were the source of many difficulties for him and his family, yet his vivid descriptions should still kindle the reader’s wanderlust. Since Harrison’s brisk pace can make individual episodes feel rushed and incomplete, readers might find the stand-alone essays at the book’s end easier to follow. Each of these pieces, which Harrison was unable to incorporate into the memoir before his death in 2012, focus on a single topic, such as the transformation of Harrison’s novel Make Room! Make Room! into the film Soylent Green. Despite the book’s ramshackle construction, it succeeds in capturing Harrison’s warmth, humor, and philosophy for all SF fans to appreciate. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/22/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
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