Archive for May, 2008

Movie News Update – Deathworld & West of Eden

30 May, 2008

Following Harry Harrison’s trip to Moscow this month, here is a brief update on the current status of the Deathworld movie adaptation, and news of a possible West of Eden film.

Contract negotioations are underway for Harry and Alex Cox to write the script for the Deathworld movie. Hopefully we’ll have more news on this one soon.

Meanwhile a Russian film production company called Paradise have taken out on option on West of Eden with the aim of turning it into a 3D animated film. Harry Harrison will co-script – I believe – with Paradise’s Chief of Production, Armen Adilkhanyan.

Paradise have a website (some of which is in English), including details of their current animated film project Cucaracha, which is described as a fairy story which tells of the relationship between a young boy called Nicky and some … er… cockroaches! 🙂

Visitors to the Official Harry Harrison Website will know that a number of other Harry Harrison novels have been optioned: Rebel in Time, The Technicolor Time Machine, and The Stainless Steel Rat series. Also optioned are several HH short stories including, I think, ‘The Streets of Ashkelon.’ Alex Cox has also taken out on option on Bill, the Galactic Hero.

Harry Harrison on Mars!

28 May, 2008

Arthur Lortie wrote to congratulate Harry Harrison on reaching Mars:

At 7:53 p.m. Sunday, the Phoenix landed on Mars on a plateau called Vasitas Borealis, a few miles from the Martian polar ice cap.

On board is a disc containing my name (and that of about 299,999 others), but more importantly, also on the disc are a series of Mars images from US comic strips, pulps, animation, and fiction; and the work of many talented earth-bound writers and artists.

One Step From Earth by one Harry Harrison.

Congratulations!!! (and in pretty heady company as well — including a poster from the 1936 Flash Gordon serial)

Further details of the other artists and writers whose work is included on the ‘silica-glass mini DVD’ can be found here:









Book of the Month – Just Tell Me When to Cry

20 May, 2008

Book cover

Richard Fleischer directed the (so far) only full-length feature film based on a Harry Harrison novel: Soylent Green was based on Make Room! Make Room!

Fleischer devotes a chapter of his autobiography Just Tell Me When to Cry (1993) to the making of the film, describing what it was like to work with the legendary Edward G. Robinson on what was to be Robinson’s last film.

“Movies are a funny business,” Fleischer writes on his opening page. “For some reason it is almost impossible to tell a serious story about the film industry without everyone laughing. The worse the disaster, the more hilarious it becomes. You can tell of careers being ruined, fortunes being lost, people being injured, or worse, and the reaction is always laughter.”

Fleischer’s book is filled with behind-the-scenes stories of what goes on during the planning and making of movies, and with quiet humour he describes what it’s like to work with some of the biggest names, and biggest egos, in the business.

For Edward G. Robinson, Fleischer has nothing but respect. The eighty-year-old actor’s health was failing (he had cancer), and he’d been almost forgotten by Hollywood, blacklisted as a result of his stand against the McCarthy witch-hunts. He was close to the end of his career and knew it. His involvement in Soylent Green caused the media to take notice of him again: ‘Now I know I’m dying,’ he said, ‘I’ve never gotten so much press.’

Robinson’s hearing was severely impaired, to the extent that he could only hear someone standing directly beside him. This caused some problems for the director – ‘CUT! … EDDIE! COME BACK! WE’RE NOT SHOOTING ANY MORE!’ – but after a couple of rehearsals the actor could time his performance perfectly, as though he could hear every other line spoken by the actors on set.

Whatever its short-comings as an adaptation of the Harry Harrison novel – the on-screen images capture pretty well the themes of the novel, but they’re sadly over-shadowed by the nonsensical ‘soylent green is people’ conspiracy – Soylent Green does provide us with an outstanding performance from Edward G. Robinson. Fleischer’s memoirs offer a poignant behind-the-scenes look of how that performance came about.

Harry Harrison in Moscow

19 May, 2008

 Photo (c) Lena Adasheva 2008
Photo: Lena Adasheva

Lena Adasheva contacted us with details of her report and photographs of Harry’s recent book signing in Moscow. Hope Lena doesn’t mind me borrowing one of her images here…

The book Harry is signing in the image above is, I think, the Russian edition of the Stainless Steel Rat series – all of the novels in a single volume: it’s a big, heavy, lovely book… 🙂

The text of the report (in Russian) and the rest of Lena’s photographs can be found here:







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