Friday, March 23, 2007

The Adventures of the Stainless Steel Rat

Adventures of Stainless Steel Rat

Harry Harrison

Date: 15 July, 1981   —   Book

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Fiction, Science Fiction

This compilation of three novels, The Stainless Steel Rat, The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge, and The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World, actually brings up the page count of the book to a decent size. (The SSR novels are caper novels and fairly short.) These are the first three novels that Harry Harrison wrote and they are somewhat less polished than the prequel novels he wrote later. There's also a bit more chauvinism, which, while it seems to be an act on Jim diGriz' part, is still off-putting. Slippery Jim likes his wine, women, and (money for a) song.

Of course, what function does a crook have in a extremely streamlined future society? It seems to be working for the Special Corps, that section of the League Navy which looks to catch the true psychopaths. Slippery Jim, while a crook, has a highly exaggerated respect for life, and they recruit him to catch the person responsible for a new battleship, a sociopath who has left a trail of bodies. Naturally, that trail leads to interesting complications, as Jim has to be sneakier than he ever has been before.

The second novel deals, once again, with "impossible" interstellar invasion and the forces behind it. Unfortunately, Harrison has managed to contradict himself several times with stuff he put in the prequels, which is more distracting than outrageous. It's still obnoxious, though.

The third book involves time war, and Slippery Jim has to work out how to kill an enemy that is removing his support before he can use it. This novel is, for all its interesting content, a bit dull. It's usually about this point that I start losing interest in Slippery Jim, who acts like he got his attitude from a cheap crime drama. Oh, well.

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