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See Ya’, Harry

August 15, 2012
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I’m not much for obits.  I’ll make an exception here:

It’s been a bad summer for SF. In June, Ray Bradbury slippedthe surly bonds of Earth, and now legendary icon Harry Harrison has passed away at age 87.

“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!” said Michael Carroll, admin of Harrison’s official website.

I finally had to make the call a few years ago when I was low on disposable income on whether to keep buying books or music.  I picked music, and got a new library card.  Even more recently, I needed to simplify my life and re-homed about three quarters of my books that I’d collected over the years.  I’m pretty sure I still have all my Harry Harrison books, and I know I saved all the anthologies that have his classics in them.

Most people will remember Harrison for his “Stainless Steel Rat” books featuring Slippery Jim DiGriz.  I actually remember Harrison the most for his alternate history books, some of the first I’ve seen done well.  But overall, he was always an entertaining read that took me away for a time.

I would also note that he was married to the same woman for many years until her death, and he generally had characters that were devoted to their spouse through thick and thin (and gunfire, and beating each other up, and…).

Anyway, I wasn’t writing when Roger Zelazny (still my favorite author) passed, and I couldn’t miss at least mentioning another author who taught me to love reading and, later, to try writing.

Thanks, Harry.

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