Harry Harrison has written and edited work which has appeared under a number of names:

Hank Dempsey
Felix Boyd
Wade Kaempfert
Cameron Hall
Philip St. John
Leslie Charteris

Hank Dempsey

Harry Harrison was born Henry Maxwell Dempsey - his father was also Henry (or Harry or Hank) Dempsey. Henry Dempsey Sr. changed the family name to Harrison soon after his son was born, and so Harry Jr. went through school and the army as Harry Harrison: it was not until he applied for a passport, at the age of thirty, that he discovered the name on his birth certificate was not Harrison. Deciding to carry on being Harrison, he legally changed his name to Harry Max Harrison.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s Harry Harrison published a number of short stories under the pseudonym Hank Dempsey, prompting Malcolm Edwards to point out that "One of the lesser-known facts about Harry is that he is one of the few authors - who knows, perhaps the only author - to use the name on his birth certificate as a pseudonym."

Harrison finally revealed that he was Hank Dempsey, and told why he had adopted the pseudonym, in the December 1966 issue of SF Impulse:

    Now-It-Can-Be-Told Department:

    There are many reasons why writers use pen names - and most of the reasons are legitimate. A writer may have two stories in a single issue of a magazine, or write different sorts of stories each of which is identified with a pen name, or may just be ashamed to have his worse stuff appear under his real name. Another reason is conflict of interest. One of the editors of this magazine was, for a number of years, a correspondent of a medical newspaper. From this work he extracted at least one novel which will be familiar to sf IMPULSE readers (PLAGUE FROM SPACE) and the background material for a series of stories more than slightly inimical towards the more stuffy aspects of the medical profession. To prevent a conflict of interests the stories were published under the name of "Hank Dempsey".

    Now it can be told. The connection with the medical journal has been severed and the real name can be revealed at last.

The medical newspaper was the Medical Tribune, for which Harrison wrote articles while living in Denmark. The first 'Hank Dempsey' story - CWACC Strikes Again - ends with a reference to a report in this newspaper.

The December 1966 SF Impulse also contains the final CWACC story, under Harrison's own name, The Voice of the CWACC.

The stories published in Analog under the Hank Dempsey pseudonym are:

  • CWACC Strikes Again
  • One Step from Earth
  • The Life Preservers
  • Heavy Duty
  • A Tale of the Ending

    All but the first of these appear in the collection One Step from Earth.

    Harrison also used this pseudonym for the story The Defensive Bomber, which appeared in his own anthology Nova 3 - he used it here because he felt his publisher might look askance at his commissioning himself to write an original short story.


    Felix Boyd

    Harry Harrison used the pseudonym Felix Boyd for three stories published in the 1950s:

  • An Artist's Life
  • The Robot Who Wanted to Know
  • Welcoming Committee

    An Artist's Life appeared in the September 1953 issue of Rocket Stories: Harry Harrison edited this issue of the magazine under the name Wade Kaempfert, the name used by Lester Del Rey to edit the previous two issues.

    The Robot Who Wanted to Know appears to have been written 'based on' the cover of the March 1958 issue of Fantastic Universe; the cover was by Virgil Finlay, and the story carries the following note: F.B. is the pseudonym of a prominent SF writer and editor.

    Welcoming Committee again appears to have been written to suit a Virgil Finlay cover painting, this time for the October 1957 issue of Fantastic Universe, and carries the following note: Felix Boyd is the pseudonym of a very well known sf author.

    Harry Harrison may also have shared two other editorial 'house names' with Lester Del Rey: the name Cameron Hall was used by Del Rey for editing Fantasy Fiction and Harrison may have edited the third and fourth issues under the same name. The fourth (and final) issue featured the story Web of the Norns by Harry Harrison and Kathleen McLean. Harrison also edited the final issues of Science Fiction Adventures, which Lester Del Rey edited under the name Philip St. John, and Harrison continued the magazine under that name.


    Leslie Charteris

    Harry Harrison wrote reviews, newspaper comic strips, and a novel - Vendetta for the Saint - under Leslie Charteris' name. These were 'ghost written' as opposed to being written under a pseudonym, and this fact seems to have caused some confusion, with some sources listing Leslie Charteris as a pseudonym of Harry Harrison, and others giving Harry Harrison as a pseudonym of Leslie Charteris!

    See Vendetta for the Saint for more information.


    Harrison Denmark

    Roger Zelazny used the pseudonym Harrison Denmark for some of his early stories published in Amazing Stories: apparently some readers believed these to be the work of Harry Harrison, who was living in Denmark at the time. To add to the confusion, one of Zelazny's "Harrison Denmark" stories was called "The Stainless Steel Leech". Harry Harrison wrote to Amazing to set the record straight.


    The preceding paragraphs only cover names used during Harrison's freelance writing career, ie. those used after 1955. In the years prior to this, while working on a variety of pulp magazines, Harrison wrote a great many articles, 'confessions', stories and letters columns under a number of names. He even wrote an advice column for a romance comic under the name Barbara Miles.