Science-fiction readers and Harrison devotees will garner the most pleasure from this heartfelt autobiography.

HARRY HARRISON! HARRY HARRISON!

The life and 60-year career of an award-winning science-fiction writer.

Harrison’s (1925-2012) posthumously published memoir begins with his birth in Depression-era Stamford, Connecticut, and his upbringing in Queens, New York. He only briefly describes his youth before chronicling his drafting into the U.S. Army Air Force, a time which offered little pleasure save for a lecture on the international language of Esperanto, which would endure as a lifelong interest for Harrison. Courting a fascination with both writing and ink illustrations, the author procured work with comic-book publishers (where he honed his “variegated skills”), consorted with industry contemporaries, and went on to edit pulp magazines, leading to his true calling: science fiction. Together with his wife, Joan, Harrison became characteristically nomadic, relocating from city to city, soaking up local culture, freelancing, and eventually growing fidgety in locales like New York, Mexico and Britain. He then spent time fine-tuning novels and writing Flash Gordon scripts in Italy and Denmark, followed by teaching and lecturing in San Diego until a final return to the U.K. The author’s best adventures and opinions can surely be found in this entertainingly animated chronicle. It is through his many physical relocations that the anecdotes, vignettes and sage wisdom flow freely, affording fans an intimate glance into the author’s personality while exposing him as not just a science-fiction writer, but a witty raconteur as well. The author of numerous novels (Make Room! Make Room!), short stories and popular SF series (Stainless Steel Rat), Harrison’s prolific, distinguished oeuvre speaks for itself, as does this witty memoir, which leaves no doubts about who Harrison was, how he lived, and what inspired him to write, explore and imagine.

Science-fiction readers and Harrison devotees will garner the most pleasure from this heartfelt autobiography.

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-0765333087

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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