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The Adventures of the Stainless Steel Rat by…

The Adventures of the Stainless Steel Rat (1977)

by Harry Harrison

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1,299178,820 (3.86)22

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Science Fiction Book Club collection--"the adventures of the STAINLESS STEEL RAT"--a comfortable, quick read.

The Stainless Steel Rat-01 (The Stainless Steel Rat)

It's comforting to know that Harry Harrison can be depended on for a short, sharp thriller…with no excess complications in plot or story line. This is the beginning of a series of steady 70's adventure stories designed to merely entertain--not enlighten, frighten or impress. Jim DeGriz is the "good anti-hero", keeping life exciting for those whose lives consist of the same humdrum grind. This is the character who is clever, without overdoing it. The man who can think faster than almost anyone else and relishes the challenge. Many are the life lessons I've learned from this hero.

The Stainless Steel Rat-02 (The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge)

More of the same: implausible predicaments and incredible escapes…but just on the edge of believability. Also, the one thing I definitively remembered from the first time I read this story over 50 years ago: how to fool a lie detector! Oh the things you learn from reading sci-fi.

The Stainless Steel Rat-03 (The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World)

This is a nice change of style for Harrison…a time travel mystery that explains how/why the Earth was destroyed so many years ago and ends with a non-ending (i.e. an isolated time-loop). ( )
  majackson | Sep 20, 2018 |
Fun read! ( )
  ScottDDanielson | Aug 1, 2018 |
funny but no morals or scruples. ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
Once again our beloved Rat takes us right into the thick of things - in his inimitable way - and somehow always makes it out okay. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
At least it's a fast read.

The back cover blurb makes comparisons to Terry Pratchett's work in fantasy. Which is just ludicrous. Sir Terry is funny, and satirical. Harry Harrison is neither. Perhaps the best comparison is Conan the Barbarian. See stuff, break things get stuff. I think it's supposed to be a farce, but a farce is supposed to be funny.

Slippery Jim in a thief in a utopian human empire 32000 years in the future. Where people still smoke. A relatively peaceful future where crime of all sorts has been socialogically altered out of people. Except for a few atavists like slippery Jim. Who runs around with an arsenal of miniturised weapons, that none of the police or military have. After getting caught by robbing one bank too many (would they really have physical currency or even any currency in 32K AD?) Jim is coopted intot he Special Corps, by the master thief Inkspp himself. Who manages to lose any traces he once had of being such a thief. Jim gets to track down a rogue battleship being stolen by another masterthief - Angelica.

In the later two stories Angelica becomes an annoyingly simpering typical Bond girl, I fail to see how this is farce. Maybe it's a product of the times it was written in. But compare with say LeGuin ti shows a marked lack of foresight. The only area that was well predicted (or lucky) is that Earth in 20000 has suffered huge and irreversable climate warming.

As a change from the Golden Era of SF that was being written at the time this was perhaps a dramatic shift. But it's much closer to being a B movie than an increase in literary quality. It's internally inconcistent, it suffers from poorly imagined future technologies, there's no character development or depth, even for the hero. There are no jokes, just badly written inept 'bad guys'.

On the plus side - it is fast paced, actions rush from one scene to another. The TimeTravel was almost well done, and at least acknowledged the paradoxes created. But that's about it.

Readable only as a contrast to other works of the time - badly dated and not worth it now.

If you wish to comment on this review, there is a thread to do so, HERE as part of the Review Discussion group. ( )
1 vote reading_fox | Dec 8, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Harry Harrisonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lippi, Giuseppesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Viskupic, GaryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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When the office door opened suddenly I knew the game was up.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Meet Slippy Jim, aka The Stainless Steel Rat, aka James Bolivar DiGritz. He's quick-witted, physically fit, a master of disguise, a skilled liar, an accomplished bank robber and exceptionally talented at breaking and entering. He's also about to be caught, turned, and sent back out onto the streets as part of the Special Corps.… (more)

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