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Harry Harrison, author of 'Deathworld' and the book that inspired 'Soylent Green,' dies at 87

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Science fiction author Harry Harrison, known for several series of satirical adventure novels and for the book that would indirectly inspire 'Soylent Green,' passed away at age 87 yesterday.

Harry Harrison Obituary
Harry Harrison Obituary

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.