On Wednesday, we were saddened to learn of the passing of Harry Harrison, 87. Harrison was an SFWA Grand Master, inductee of the SF Hall of Fame, and Worldcon Guest of Honor. In addition, he was a co-founder of the World SF organization (a forum where writers from the West and the East could meet discuss their work). He also had a small but significant role in the Finnish fandom.
The Finnish “First Fandom” has been named Dinosaurs, after their US counterpart. The Finnish Dinosaurs consist of founding members of the first Finnish sf-society, Turun Science Fiction Seura, and their generation, plus one person from abroad: Harry Harrison. There was a good reason behind including him among the Finnish Dinosaurs.
Harry Harrison had an influential role in the formation of the Finnish science fiction fandom. Harrison had met Finnish fen in Sweden and later in Helsinki at King-Con in 1982. During these meetings he gave valuable advice on how to organize science fiction societies and conventions; he also advised on how to avoid schisms inside fandom. Accordingly, Leena Peltonen, a translator, editor, critic and chief editor of the Aikakone fanzine, brought with her the official Dinosaur badge to Harry Harrison, when he was an author guest of the Jyväskylä Arts Festivals in July 2005.
Several of the Finnish fen met Harry in Helsinki, Jyväskylä, or Copenhagen at different cons. He is widely remembered as an approachable, kind, funny, and intelligent person with whom lengthy conversations were had, in a civilized manner over glasses of red wine. It came as quite a surprise to him when the young generation, especially the women, proved to be ardent fans of the Stainless Steel Rat.
Several of Harry Harrison’s works have been translated into Finnish:
- Aikakoneen saaga (The Technicolor Time Machine)
- Avaruuslääkäri (Spaceship Medic)
- Bill – Linnunradan sankari (Bill, the Galactic Hero)
- Bill – Linnunradan sankari robottiorjien planeetalla (Bill, the Galactic Hero on the Planet of Robot Slaves)
- Kuoleman planeetta (Deathworld 1)
- Ruostumaton Teräsrotta (The Stainless Steel Rat)
- Ruostumaton Teräsrotta pelastaa maailman (The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World)
- Ruostumaton Teräsrotta presidentiksi (The Stainless Steel Rat for President)
- Ruostumaton Teräsrotta syntyy (The Stainless Steel Rat Is Born)
- Ruostumaton Teräsrotta tahtoo sinut (The Stainless Steelrat Wants You)
- Ruostumattoman Teräsrotan paluu (The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge)
- Tilaa! Tilaa! (Make Room! Make Room!)
- Bill - Linnunradan sankari mauttoman mielihyvän planeetalla (Bill, The Galactic Hero on the Planet of Tasteless Pleasures, with David Bischoff)
- Bill - Linnunradan sankari zombievampyyrien planeetalla (Bill, the Galactic Hero on the Planet of Zombie Vampires, with Jack C. Haldeman)
- Bill - Linnunradan sankari pullotettujen aivojen planeetalla (Bill, The Galactic Hero on the Planet of Bottled Brains, with Robert Sheckley)
- Stonehenge - Atlantiksen tuho (Stonehenge: Where Atlantis Died, with Leon E. Stover)
(This post was authored together with Liisa Rantalaiho and Irma Hirsjärvi. Photos by Joanna Kurki. Bibliography from Jussi Vainikainen’s sf resource site.)