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back to article RIP Harry Harrison: Stainless Steel Rat scurries no more

It's been a bad summer for SF. In June, Ray Bradbury slipped the 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 …

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Megaphone

Someone MUST...

... make a film of the 'Bill, the Galactic Hero' series....

Please?

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Meh

Solent Green

Great film but Hestons, that's Charlton not Blumental, looked like one of the village people.

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Re: Someone MUST...

The man with 2 right arms

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Unhappy

Damn

I'm not usually bothered when someone pops off at such an advanced age, but I'm genuinely sad about HH going. No more Slippery Jim.

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Re: Damn

Indeed.

I first encountered sleepery jeem sometime in the 70s and read every single one of them up until either the first or second of the younger Jim DiGriz part of the series. I don't remember precisely which but I do remember thinking that he'd rather lost his way.

James DiGriz was an out-and-out crook when Inskipp and the special corps caught him. For HH to go back and 're-write' the younger DiGriz in a similar vein rather spoiled things for me I'm afraid.

I've re-read the earlier ones many times since then but still haven't got past A Stainless Steel Rat is Born.

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Re: Damn

>I've re-read the earlier ones many times since then but still haven't got past A Stainless Steel Rat is Born.

Some of the later books (such as The Stainless Steel Rat for President) are set in Jim's later years, so you could pick and choose.

That said, some of the later books feel a bit formulaic and forced as if they were being written because they had to be rather than because he wanted to write them.

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Re: Damn

I was referring to writing/publication order. Everything which was published up until A Stainless Steel Rat is Born *is* his later years :)

Everything published since A Stainless Steel Rat is Born is 'supposed' to be his earlier years but seems totally unrelated to the James DiGriz of the earlier books.

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Facepalm

No spoilers, but the ending to the film is fairly well-known.

I think that the subtitle of the article pretty much gave it away...

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Anonymous Coward

RIP indeed

I absolutely loved the Stainless Steel Rat series as a teenager. The original Bill was pretty entertaining too. RIP :-(

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Very sad

Those books were amazing.

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Unhappy

Slippery Jim

Some of my favourite books. Sad to hear of his passing.

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Pint

Farewell Slippery Jim!

Al pentras en via honoro!

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RIP

One of my favourite authors; he had something to say and did so in a intelligent and very readable way.

He'll be missed

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Meh

Sad news, I also loved the Deathworld Trilogy and the SSR as a teen having been introduced to them by 2000AD.

HH created some wonderful characters and worlds, quite why this material has been ignored by Hollywood is perplexing, still I suppose its better to remake (sorry reboot) sucessful movies which haven't dated like Spiderman, Carrie and god knows whatever else they can. The only one of these remakes of slight interest is the Dredd movie which lets face it cannot possibly be as bad as the Stallone one.

So Hollywood take a chance and make some blockbuster HH movies to inspire a whole new generation, just please make it one movie per novel though.

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Re Movies...

Iain M Banks borrows elements from Larry Niven (amongst others), Bungie Studios borrow from both of them ... and yet at one point it was Halo that looked likely to be made into a movie. Thankfully District 9 was made instead, and we should at least consider ourselves lucky that Neill Blomkamp and Duncan Jones are making films these days.

Harry Harrison, RIP. His books were always fun.

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And the first steampunk

"A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah!"

Personally, I'll take 'Deathworld' over the 'Stainless Steel Rat' - but they're both excellent. One of the greats.

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Re: And the first steampunk

"A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah!" - Indeed, Sir!

I met him once, very briefly, when he handed me a camera and asked me to that a photo of him with a friend.

He shall be missed.

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Pint

Celebrate the life and mourn the death

HH was one of the greats. Read the first few chapters of The Stainless Steel Rat and tell me that we are not heading rapidly towards the society described - though without the space travel of course.

I have also long appreciated his description of how robbing banks is actually a deeply philanthropic activity.

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Unhappy

Deathword Trilology needs to be read again . :(

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Unhappy

A great talent...

I first discovered Harrison whilst I was waiting around and someone had left a copy of The Stainless Steel Rat lying on a table. I almost missed what I was waiting for because I got so engrossed in the book!

Ok, his later works involving Slippery Jim showed distinct signs of being churned out, but he left a great body of work (such as Invasion Earth which I only just recently picked up from a second hand stall) which was interesting and thought provoking.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A great talent...

Argh! The SSR ones were great, but he turned out a lot of pulp crud. Invasion Earth was one of them. The only thought it provoked was "I hope he paid a few bills with prostituting his talent".

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Unhappy

He was also a writer's writer. Some fantastic descriptive text, such that you could almost hear the characters saying their lines.

R.I.P.

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Unhappy

This is terrible news. It was bad enough that Ray Bradbury left us, just a few months ago, but now Harry Harrison? As a kid, the adventures of Slippery Jim DiGriz and Jason dinAlt thrilled and entertained me.

Thanks, Harry, for keeping me up all night reading those fantastic boy's own adventures.

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He also claimed to have ghosted "Vendetta for the Saint" for Leslie Charteris, which does explain some of his favourite topics, particularly Bugatti, creeping into the text.

For mine, he was always at his strongest in his satire of other people's work. "Bill the Galactic Hero" has already been mentioned, but also "Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers" is a clever, if somewhat over the top, pastiche of E. E. Smith's work, particularly the Skylark series.

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Star Smashers is a personal favourite here

especially when the all american heroes turn out [oops, nearly a spoiler]

I also have a liking for the juveniles "the men from PIG and ROBOT" with glorious backronyms and sly humour... As a last line :hand in hand, pig robot and man marrched solidly into the wonderful future" is pretty good. Coincidentally, and somewhat reluctantly I picked up the last Stainless Steel rat yesterday, and I would say it was much the best of his recent work.

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Pint

Re: Star Smashers is a personal favourite here

Funnily enough I've never read his more famous stuff, but loved "The Men From P.I.G. and R.O.B.O.T." when I was a kid. Very influential on the young sci-fi geek in me!

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Re: Star Smashers is a personal favourite here

i got Pig and Robot when young and only the other day bought a second hand copy such were my fond memories. I was not dissapointed.

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Cheers to a great writer

I have enjoyed all his books immensely, partly because they were written with such humour.

May he rest in peace!

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Unhappy

Damn........

Slippery Jim, the only hero I could really get behind. It seems we lose someone every day. I must be getting old.........

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Amazon is my friend

I decided to break my normal rules and actually pay for a download to my Kindle.

I can now re-read Deathworld :)

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Re: Amazon is my friend

The first Deathworld, along with several other Harry Harrison books, is available for free on the excellent Project Gutenberg.

Coincidencely I had downloaded and started reading it a week ago.

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Happy

Re: Amazon is my friend

Cor, thanks for that. I downloaded a couple more for the future.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Amazon is my friend

I've noticed some bits of his novels turn up on Gutenberg et al. Not because the whole book is out of print but because the first chapter was published in a magazine. They are titled differently also. Disappointment follows when you discover it was not some work of which you were previously unaware and incomplete to boot.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Fine writer, will be missed

My brother used to put me down as a geek by mentioning the Stainless Steel Rat. Little did he know Slippery Jim would lead me to this forum, today, among this fine company, we band of brothers ...

I'll be tucking into a porcuswine burger today in memory of Harry.

John Scalzi may be his spiritual descendant as a writer, IMHO, for those in need of a similar read.

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Unhappy

50 years of great stories ...

A friend lent me The Stainless Steel Rat at school 35 years ago, and I was hooked, but he also produced other little gems like Starsmashers of the Galaxy Rangers (a very tongue in cheek space opera), and kids sci-fi books like Spaceship Medic and The Men From P.I.G. and R.O.B.O.T.

Sadly missed :-(

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West of Eden

A very good excuse to take this paperback from my bookcase and stuff it in my work bag for the commute tomorrow.

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Rest in Peace, Harry Harrison. Your writing was both cheesy and fucking awesome, simultaneously.

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Pint

The Stainless Steel Rat...

...will never tarnish! RIP.

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Facepalm

Oh ballrocks!

The Rat books, alongside Zelazny and McCaffrey, I've re-read literally my entire life from the moment I was old enough to get a library card.

If you haven't read them then I'm fairly sure that as a Reg reader you'll probably appreciate them;

If you're a fan of the BOFH, you'll flip out over them;

And if you like Burn Notice - you'll feel at home.

Another great gone. I'm getting too bloody old!

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Happy

On screwing bankers and their ilk as a benefit to mankind ...

“We must be as stealthy as rats in the wainscoting of their society. It was easier in the old days, of course, and society had more rats when the rules were looser, just as old wooden buildings have more rats than concrete buildings. But there are rats in the building now as well. Now that society is all ferrocrete and stainless steel there are fewer gaps in the joints. It takes a very smart rat indeed to find these openings. Only a stainless steel rat can be at home in this environment...”

― Harry Harrison, The Stainless Steel Rat

"I whistled under my breath as I went to work. This was by no means my first bank robbery, and I had no intention of making it my last. Of all the varied forms of crime, bank robbery is the most satisfactory to both the individual and to society. The individual of course gets a lot of money, that goes without saying, and he benefits society by putting large amounts of cash back into circulation. The economy is stimulated, small businessmen prosper, people read about the crime with great interest, and the police have a chance to exercise their various skills. Good for all. Though I have heard foolish people complain that it hurts the bank. This is arrant nonsense. All banks are insured, so they lose nothing, while the sums involved are minuscule in the overall operation of the insuring firm, where the most that might happen is that a microscopically smaller dividend will be paid at the end of the year. Little enough price to pay for all the good caused. It was as a benefactor of mankind, not a thief, that I passed the echo sounder over the wall. A large opening on the other side; the bank without a doubt."

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In Memory of Me

In the book (Make Room, Make Room!), Soylent Green was made from... soybeans and lentils, exactly as advertised.

But maybe his fans will eat a soybean and lentil wafer (along with some wine?) in his memory every year, given the subtitle to this article.

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Re: In Memory of Me

Just what I was thinking, it's only the film where it's made from people...

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Re: In Memory of Me

either way nom nom.

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Devil

Re: "Soybeans and Lentils"

The HORROR!!!!!

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And hsi alternate histories

were well thought out as well - loved the "Stars and Stripes" series enjoyed HH's more than Turtledove's

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Re: And hsi alternate histories

Loved most of HH's work but thought Stars & Stripes was literally the worst thing I've ever read.

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My older nieces & nephews (early teens) are currently working through his backlog.

I think it was HH's escapism (along with Zelazny & Robinson) that got me through my A levels and first degree.

Rest in peace, Henry. Your story telling will be enjoyed by many for centuries to come.

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Deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the Big Three.

You can guess which of his works are my favourite, but he produced so much work that was good in so many different ways. The stand alone SF books were especially good, e.g. In Our Hands The Stars, and for me the best of his alt-histories were The Hammer And The Cross books which are an excellent mix of adventure, history and religious philosophy.

Sad now.

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Unhappy

Nothing to say really about this news but "Bugger"

The Stainless Steel Rat Wants You was the first "real" SF book I ever read at about age 7, which really got me into the genre. Harry was my favorite author for years and I devoured everything else I could find by him. Desperately depressing news.

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...wife Joan, who passed from...

'passed' ????

passed to where ????

You're writting in Science, and she 'passed' ???

There is a technical / scientific / medical term that you could have used insted of 'passed'

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