18 July, 2011
Artist Bruce Pennington has an exhibition at Atlantis Bookshop, Museum Street, London WC1A 1LY from 29 July to 27 August. See http://www.brucepennington.co.uk/ for more details.
As well as The Technicolor Time Machine cover painting for N.E.L. (above), Bruce Pennington also did several other covers for Harry Harrison books, including a couple for the Stainless Steel Rat series.
I probably first encountered the artist’s work on the covers for the NEL editions of the Dune trilogy, and the cover of several Gene Wolfe titles — incredible, other-worldly paintings. If you can’t make it along to the exhibition, try and get hold of a copy of Ultraterranium: The Paintings of Bruce Pennington – it’s one of my favourite collections of artwork.
19 June, 2011
“The world’s changed. Society’s all concrete and stainless steel. It really takes a smart rat to survive the new conditions.”
Sound familiar? It’s a line being used on FaceBook to promote a play called Stainless Steel Rat which is being staged from 28th June 2011 at the York Theatre, Seymour Centre, in Sydney, Australia.
But don’t get excited, the play has nothing to do with Harry Harrison’s book The Stainless Steel Rat. It is actually an ‘artistic interpretation’ of the activities of WikiLeaks spokesperson and editor-in-chief Julian Assange. Assange is believed to have used the names ‘Stainless Steel Rat’ and ‘Harry Harrison’ as aliases online, hence the connection.
Julian Assange has received a number of accolades for his journalism and campaigning for more open and accountable government; his place in the spotlight has also meant that his own private life has become a matter of investigation and speculation.
Swedish authorities are currently seeking to extradite Assange from Britain to question him about an alleged sexual assault. Assange is appealing against extradition, on the grounds that the allegations are ‘without basis,’ and in the belief that an extradition to Sweden will then be followed by extradition to the United States. The British appeal hearing is due to take place on 12th July 2011.
Assange is known for taking things which don’t belong to him and making them freely available. The authors of the ‘wikiplay’ Stainless Steel Rat seem to have taken a similar approach, but they’re using Harry Harrison’s creations for their own profit. Shame.
[Note: Any opinions expressed here are my own, and not those of Harry Harrison. The above image is taken from the theatre website and is used without their permission... :)]
A brief update, with Harry’s comments on this:
These guys are ripoff artists. I’d have them in jail if I could.
4 June, 2011
The Stainless Steel Rat Audio Book, Brilliance
The winners of the 2011 Audie Awards — “recognizing distinction in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association” — have been announced, and the winner in the Science Fiction / Fantasy section is The Stainless Steel Rat, written by Harry Harrison, and read by Phil Gigante. The five-hour unabridged recording was released by Brilliance Audio in March 2011.
Congratulations to both Harry and Phil for this well-deserved award.
There’s a nice review on the AudioFile Magazine website, which includes a link to an extract of the recording, if you haven’t had chance to hear any of it yet.
17 May, 2011
Yesterday’s Guardian had an 84 point headline reading:
“There is no heaven or afterlife… that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark” - Stephen Hawking
You can read the interview online here:
27 April, 2011
It’s been a while since we had a Stainless Steel Rat on this page, so time to put this right. I came across this image by accident doing a Google image search for ‘mecha’. It is from a site called Ambient Art and appears on the 3D-Robots page. The site is in German, and the artist appears to be Marko (aka ita3D), who has a Yugoslavian e-mail address. Other than that, I can’t tell you anything about this image — except that I like it very much!
Click on the image to see it in all its glory.
23 April, 2011
A little while ago, a Brazilian journalist contacted Harry and asked him why it was that people with religious belief hated atheists. Here is Harry’s response:
They’re Afraid of Us! - by Harry Harrison
It is hard to be religious. The priests threaten hellfire, eternal torture; very nice. Some believe that they feel disgust and repulsion towards atheists. Not true…
We atheists lead happy lives, never concerned with the-dying-and-burn forever-in-hell nonsense. We know better. We enjoy happiness with our friends and neighbors and ignore all the greed and rituals that pay the parasite priests.
Let them wallow in their medieval superstition while we enjoy all the wonders of our God-free universe.
All that the godly feel is jealousy.
© Harry Harrison, 2011
12 April, 2011
Hollywood producer and press agent Walter Seltzer died on the 18th February 2011, aged 96. He collaborated with actor Charlton Heston on a number of films, including the adaptation of Harry Harrison’s book Make Room! Make Room! which became Soylent Green. The obituary published in The Guardian newspaper for 6th April 2011 quotes Seltzer as saying that both he and Heston agreed that “the greatest social problem of our time was over-population. We became a little obsessed with the idea.”
1 April, 2011
Over at the ABE secondhand books website, Scott Laming has written a beginner’s guide to Steampunk — and includes Harry Harrison’s A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah! under the heading ‘Literature That Influenced Steampunk,’ where he is in the company of Verne, Wells, Ward Moore, Mervyn Peake, and Michael Moorcock.
1 March, 2011
Harry Harrison received word from his agent on Monday that The Stainless Steel Rat audio book, read by Phil Gigante, and published by Brilliance Audio, has been nominated for an Audie award in the science fiction / fantasy category.
The Stainless Steel Rat Audio Book, Brilliance
Here is a link to the press release on the Audio Publishers Association website. The awards are to recognise ”distinction in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association (APA).” There is also an Audies website.
I have the Brilliance audio book of The Stainless Steel Rat Returns, also performed by Phil Gigante, and he does a great job of bringing the story to life. The audio books are unabridged readings, available on multiple CDs or on a single MP3 CD — well worth checking out.
1 March, 2011
Eeek, I’ve been away from this blog for so long the rats have moved in. At least that’s what one pest control company seem to think! They left a comment here offering their services. I’m not sure they would know what to do with a Stainless Steel Rat, so I haven’t approved their comment.
Anyhoo, apologies for the long silence – I’ve been distracted with other things, and Harry has been hard at work on his autobiography, so we haven’t had much news to post until today…