For immediate release, 17th July 2008
Harry Harrison named Grand Master by SFWA
Harry Harrison, creator of The Stainless Steel Rat and author of the novel that inspired the movie Soylent Green, will be honored as the next Damon Knight Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America during the 2009 Nebula Award Weekend® in Los Angeles, Calif.
Harrison’s selection was announced by SFWA President Russell Davis after consulting with the Board of Directors and participating past presidents. The Nebula Awards Weekend will be held April 24-26 in Los Angeles, Calif., with the awards presentation banquet to be held on the UCLA campus to tie in with the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Past SFWA President and Grand Master (2004) Robert Silverberg will be presenting.
“There are few moments in life that can be taken out and savored in memory. One happened today,” Harrison said. “A phone call from our President Russell Davis with the startling news that I was to be the 2009 Grand Master nearly led to the collapse of a stout writer! “It’s still soaking in,” he said. “But may I express my fervent thanks to all involved for this signal honor.”
Already an established illustrator and freelance non-fiction writer, Harrison published his first science fiction story, “Rock Diver,” in the August 1951 issue of Worlds Beyond. From that point he went on to produce more than 62 novels, eight short fiction collections, six non-fiction books and countless short stories. He also found the time to edit 35 anthologies over the span of his career.
His active involvement in the science fiction community throughout the 1950s led to his becoming a charter member of SFWA.
“Why, I can recall with a tear in one rheumy eye, when SFWA was a just a wild idea put forward by Damon Knight,” Harrison said. “A few of us nodded and agreed with him and thus, with great hope and no money, this organization was born. I won’t dwell on the fact that this was over 50 years ago…
“Enough! Let’s look to the future not the past as we go from strength to strength and march—banners flapping—into the SF future,” he said. Harrison was born in 1925 and served in the U.S. Army during World War II, an experience that made a strong negative impression on him
and inspired his satirical Bill, the Galactic Hero novel series. A regular contributor to the legendary John W. Campbell’s Astounding, Harrison’s work often reflected his interest in environmental issues and non-violent resolutions to conflict. His best-known creations are The Stainless Steel Rat and Make Room! Make Room! on which the film Soylent Green was based. His more recent works include best-selling alternate world trilogies West of Eden and Stars and Stripes Forever!
Harrison is the 26th writer recognized by SFWA as a Grand Master. He joins Robert A. Heinlein (1974), Jack Williamson (1975), Clifford D. Simak (1976), L. Sprague de Camp (1978), Fritz Leiber (1981), Andre Norton (1983), Arthur C. Clarke (1985), Isaac Asimov (1986), Alfred
Bester (1987), Ray Bradbury (1988), Lester del Rey (1990), Frederik Pohl (1992), Damon Knight (1994), A. E. van Vogt (1995), Jack Vance (1996), Poul Anderson (1997), Hal Clement (1998), Brian Aldiss (1999), Philip Jose Farmer (2000), Ursula K. Le Guin (2003), Robert Silverberg
(2004), Anne McCaffrey (2005), Harlan Ellison (2006), James Gunn (2007) and Michael Moorcock (2008).
Until 2002 the title was simply “Grand Master.” In 2002 it was renamed in honor of SFWA’s founder, Damon Knight, who died that year.
More details about the Nebula Awards Weekend are available at http://www.nebulaawards.com/
Details of the Science Fiction Writers of America can be found on their website.