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From misery to success

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My friend Harry Harrison
Brian Aldiss Writer
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I had a great American friend, Harry Harrison – Harry was marvellous.

Harry… just to sketch you in with Harry's background. Harry came from a very poor American family in New York, and he was a cartoonist for a science fiction magazine, but then he decided he would write a novel. He wrote a novel called Deathworld, and he offered it to the editor of Astounding and in those days, Astounding was the prince of the magazines edited by a man learned in science, called John W Campbell. John W Campbell bought Deathworld, paid Harry for it, and Harry took the money to a travel agent, and he and his wife and the children came over to England to start a new life.

And Harry and I became very close because we had the same kind of difficulties with life, you appreciate.

Brian Aldiss (1925-2017) was an English writer and anthologies editor, best known for his science fiction novels and short stories. He was educated at Framlingham College, Suffolk, and West Buckland School, Devon, and served in the Royal Signals between 1943-1947. After leaving the army, Aldiss worked as a bookseller in Oxford, an experience which provided the setting for his first book, 'The Brightfount Diaries' (1955). His first science fiction novel, 'Non-Stop', was published in 1958 while he was working as literary editor of the 'Oxford Mail'. His many prize-winning science fiction titles include 'Hothouse' (1962), which won the Hugo Award, 'The Saliva Tree' (1966), which was awarded the Nebula, and 'Helliconia Spring' (1982), which won both the British Science Fiction Association Award and the John W Campbell Memorial Award. Several of his books have been adapted for the cinema. His story, 'Supertoys Last All Summer Long', was adapted and released as the film 'AI' in 2001. His book 'Jocasta' (2005), is a reworking of Sophocles' classic Theban plays, 'Oedipus Rex' and 'Antigone'.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Deathworld, Harry Harrison

Duration: 1 minute, 27 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2014

Date story went live: 17 August 2015