Stainless Steel Musings

The Stainless Steel RatA week or so ago, I was asked by a close friend of mine if I would be interested in posing some questions to an author whom we both share a high degree of admiration for.

The author, Harry Harrison, had agreed to answer questions from fans via the medium of his blog.

I jumped at the chance, almost instantly spamming my friend with a selection of inane questions, the like of which I should really know better than to ask.

My friend posed far more intelligent questions than I and drafted an email to the author.

The Stainless Steel Rat's RevengeWe were both overjoyed to find our questions answered recently, myself more so as my own question gave rise to the blog post’s title: Angelina vs. Meta – Who would win?

Not only that but it seems that the author agrees with my own assessment on a number of points; from Meta’s guaranteed dominance over Angelina to his opinion on casting Angelina in a Stainless Steel rat film.

My questions focused around two of Harry Harrison‘s better known series of stories: The Deathworld Trilogy and The Stainless Steel Rat series.

The Stainless Steel Rat For PresidentI discovered the Stainless Steel Rat series in my school library in the late eighties. It was actually a later book in the series, The Stainless Steel Rat for President, I was intrigued by the blurb and booked it out.

After I read it (in one sitting) and realised that there were five other books in the series, I snapped them up. I was hooked.

I raved at my friend, whose Father was also a big Harry Harrison fan.

Over the next few years we would scour the local high street bookstores (Greenhead Books and WH Smiths back then) and second hand bookstores alike.

Deathworld 2My close friend introduced me to the Deathworld trilogy shortly after I recommended the Stainless Steel Rat to him; Deathworld quickly became my favourite Harry Harrison franchise. It had everything I love in a story: a psychic protagonist, a violent (and hot) female lead, a lethal environment and subtle parallels to society’s problems.

One day I’ll learn Russian to a degree that I’ll be able to read the next four installments of the series, sadly they are unlikely to be translated into English.

Harry is incredibly popular in Russia, where Science Fiction is appreciated far more than here in the west.

The Stainless Steel Rat Saves The WorldEven if you aren’t aware of his stories, you may well have been exposed to them at some point. I remember how surprised I was when I discovered that the film Soylent Green was based on Harry’s Make Room! Make Room!… Mmmm, Soylent Green.

I loved the cover art to Harrison’s books, to this day they epitomise the Science Fiction genre.

All in all, no other author has had such a profound impact on the person I am today. From my personal ethics, through my sense of humour and interest in languages to my cavalier attitude to alcohol consumption – all of these were pretty much tailored by my exposure to Harry’s work.

The Stainless Steel Rat Wants YouHarry is still writing, with the promise of a new Stainless Steel Rat book on the horizon.  Some of Harry’s franchises have been carried on with co-writers and others appearing to write with his permission.

The Bill the Galactic Hero series was perpetuated with the help of a number of upcoming Science Fiction authors and the Deathworld series has been added to in Russian (as referenced above).

So, my thanks to Harry Harrison for continuing to write such awesome science fiction and if you haven’t read Harrison, you are most definitely missing out.


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