Harry Harrison has written and edited work which has appeared under a number
Philip St. John
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:
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.
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 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
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.
Harry Harrison used the pseudonym Felix Boyd for three stories published in
An Artist's Life
The Robot Who Wanted to Know
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.
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.
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.