Science fiction novelist and short story writer Harry Harrison passed away yesterday at the age of 87. Harrison's substantial body of work included Deathworld and its sequels, a long-running series based on con man Jim diGriz or "The Stainless Steel Rat," and Bill, the Galactic Hero, which was also extended into a series co-authored by other writers. His books toed the line between science fiction adventure, humor, and satire, often with a strong anti-military bent informed by his time in the US Army Air Corps.
Despite this, Harrison is probably best known indirectly — as the author of Make Room! Make Room!, which inspired cult film Soylent Green despite having very little to do with it. Make Room! Make Room! was a bleak depiction of a corrupt and overpopulated US in the year 1999, predating much "population bomb" literature and infusing the central murder-mystery plot with romance and tragedy. The book, however, crucially did not suggest cannibalism as a potential policy solution, and "soylent green" was in fact a mixture of soy and lentils. Fans and acquaintances are invited to leave a comment or a message to Harrison's remaining family at his news blog, and novelist Christopher Priest has commemorated his work and life in The Guardian.