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RIP Harry Harrison 
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Post RIP Harry Harrison
Reports just hit the wire that Harry Harrison has left us at 87. Few non-boilerplate details yet, but I was pleased to see the Guardian remember him for the Stainless Steel Rat series.

Harrison's writing drove me crazy. He was capable of some of the most literate, thought-provoking work published in his age - "The Streets of Ashkelon" is still a shocker - but could then turn out reams of apparently deliberately semiliterate drivel. The SSR books in particular seem to revel in clunky sentences, lumpy run-ons and gutter grammar. He also had a terrible weakness for the goofball gadget story, in which our intrepid inventor creates antigravity, time travel or some other world-changer, and then it gets used for some comic-book idiocy like saving Aunt Bea's cookies at last year's county fair.

Then again, he took one gadget - the portal gate - and wrote a long, insightful and entertaining series of short stories about how that tool would change and shape humanity.

But he was multitalented and prolific and influential and even took on Our Boy Bob head to head with his Bill the Galactic Hero series... and will be missed.

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Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:22 am
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Post Re: RIP Harry Harrison
Well I for one enjoyed the Stainless Steel Rat, so I will agree with your evaluation in general, but not in the specifics.

Another legend leaves us.


Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:52 pm
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Post Re: RIP Harry Harrison
Oh, no mistake, I enjoyed (and occasionally revisit) Slipper Jim and cronies. (At least, through the second prequel... they got a little wobbly after that.)

I simply find it peculiar that the same writer could turn out literature-grade prose, mostly short stories - although the Deathworld trilogy is generally very well written - and then turn out so much weirdly ham-fisted, Mickey Spillane writing as well.


Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:46 am
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Post Re: RIP Harry Harrison
I am so sorry to hear this. SS RAT was one of my alltime top 5. :cry:


Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:49 pm
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Post Re: RIP Harry Harrison
JamesGifford wrote:
I simply find it peculiar that the same writer could turn out literature-grade prose, mostly short stories - although the Deathworld trilogy is generally very well written - and then turn out so much weirdly ham-fisted, Mickey Spillane writing as well.


Hey!!!!! Bite your tongue, you SF snob. Mickey Spillane was a gude righter in the hard-boiled private shamus genre/sub-genre of mystery fiction. I was enjoying his books in the '50s at the same time I was discovering RAH and the rest of SF. [Paperbacks, of course; my allowance cum paper route income wasn't exactly munificent in those days.]

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Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:29 pm
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Post Re: RIP Harry Harrison
"Mike Hammer drinks beer because I can't spell cognac." - Mickey Spillane

I have one Spillane on the shelf and it's a thrill to pick it up and read any page of his iron-fisted, utterly un-PC, sexist, freight-train prose.


Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:59 pm
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Post Re: RIP Harry Harrison
JamesGifford wrote:
"Mike Hammer drinks beer because I can't spell cognac." - Mickey Spillane

I have one Spillane on the shelf and it's a thrill to pick it up and read any page of his iron-fisted, utterly un-PC, sexist, freight-train prose.


BEST ENDING EVAH:
Quote:
The roar of the .45 shook the room. Charlotte staggered back a step. Her eyes were a symphony of incredulity, an unbelieving witness to truth. Slowly, she looked down at the ugly swelling in her naked belly where the bullet went in.

"How could you?" she gasped.

I had only a moment before talking to a corpse, but I got it in.

"It was easy," I said.

THE END (I, the Jury)

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Mon Aug 20, 2012 10:15 am
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Post Re: RIP Harry Harrison
My copy of The Snake isn't within reach, but the big payoff scene near the end involves the bad guy taking the hero and the gorgeous broad to where he knows the other bad guy hid with all the money from the bank robbery, years ago. They get there, and the guy's corpse is still in the taxi, hidden in the woods. Bad guy number one makes the broad strip, the description taking about three pages, of course, and makes all kinds of threats about what's going to happen - you know, the hero's going to die slowly while watching him show the little gal a good time, etc.

Then he opens the door of the taxi to get the bag of loot, and the shotgun in the corpse's arms falls forward and blows the guy away.

Signature Mickey.


Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:08 am
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Post Re: RIP Harry Harrison
JamesGifford wrote:
My copy of The Snake isn't within reach, but the big payoff scene near the end involves the bad guy taking the hero and the gorgeous broad to where he knows the other bad guy hid with all the money from the bank robbery, years ago. They get there, and the guy's corpse is still in the taxi, hidden in the woods. Bad guy number one makes the broad strip, the description taking about three pages, of course, and makes all kinds of threats about what's going to happen - you know, the hero's going to die slowly while watching him show the little gal a good time, etc.

Then he opens the door of the taxi to get the bag of loot, and the shotgun in the corpse's arms falls forward and blows the guy away.

Signature Mickey.


I really am going to have to read some Spillane now.


Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:26 pm
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