Audible The Stainless Steel RatAuthor Harry Harrison – Wildlives.co
Slippery Jim DiGriz is a rogue in a society that is a peaceful, plentiful utopia and has mostly bred antisocial behavior away That leaves men like DiGriz bored and, unable to cope with society any other way, they plan capers Since there are so few people like him, there is a Special Corps dedicated to stopping these nefarious ne er do wells.After a bank heist and a scam that turns the wrong way, DiGriz gets captured, and recruited into the Corps Of course Takes a thief to catch a thief, and DiGriz s boss is a former arch criminal himself DiGriz is sent to figure out why a peaceful, backwards planet is building a battlecruiser This leads him into conflict with the beautiful and deadly Angelina, who mostly gets away with stuff because this book was written in 1961, so even in this far future galactic setting, everyone expects a pretty girl to be a hapless doll, not a sociopathic mastermind plotting revolutions and conquest.DiGriz is the archetypical scoundrel who s secretly a decent guy, and his crimes are mostly bloodless ones He reviles Angelina s bloodthirstiness, yet still falls in love with her because she s hot And also because she s a criminal mastermind like him.Coal burning robots, giant battlecruisers that exist for no particular reason, thousand year old galactic civilizations, and guys n dolls Nothing deep here, but it s an entertaining space romp This is a classic space opera and light hearted sci fi that shows its datedness a bit, but will be fun for anyone who likes the old stuff 3.5 stars. Rating 3 of fiveDistastefully sexist, but 58 years old The book, not the reviewer Although I m regularly informed of my innate inferiority of character due to sexism It was a modest amount of fun reading it because I like capers Slippery Jim diGriz plans a fun caper indeed, thrice in fact, and I had no problem seeing how to modernize the capers Still and all, I can t really think of a reason to read the book if you haven t already because there s really nothing substantive to be gained and a lot of attitude changes have rendered the central points of the plot outdated to the point of actually becoming offensive in a MeToo world.So you ve been warned enticed, depending on your social orientation. In The Vastness Of Space, The Crimes Just Get Bigger And Slippery Jim DiGriz, The Stainless Steel Rat, Is The Biggest Criminal Of Them All He Can Con Humans, Aliens And Any Number Of Robots Time After Time Jim Is So Slippery That All The Inter Galactic Cops Can Do Is Make Him One Of Their Own Right up front, I m going to tell you that this is a book that is about to suffer for being judged out of time By me Now, I m not usually the type to notice offenses to the feminist cause in everything, but I couldn t help but find this book, and its depiction of literally the ONLY female character in it besides prostitutes, that is, but they don t count ridiculous in the worst way As soon as the secretary was mentioned, and it was of course assumed that she must be working for a male who was pulling all the strings, I knew that this book and I were going to have issues Perhaps I could have moved past those issues Perhaps It was written decades ago, and women and men had their roles and all But then toward the end, I knew there was no redemption for this book for me Because, as forward thinking as Harrison no doubt thought himself or so it seems to me, knowing nothing about him at all other than having read this one book for casting a woman as the antagonist, and making her smart, and independent, he ruined all of that when he THEN made her psychotic about her looks and actually had the main male character say something to the effect of I had wondered how someone so beautiful became so smart and she was cursed by ugliness Because ugly women can be smart, but beautiful women who are smart are SUCH a rarity that they defy reality And of course, no matter how insane or murderous they are, it s impossible not to fall in love with a woman like that.I can t even right now If he had handled Angelina better, this might be a 4 star book for me There was a decent amount of humor, the futuristic society was interesting, the heist details were on point all things considered , and the main MALE character was interesting at least until Angelina came into the picture and ruined everything I don t hold her responsible for that, though She was just written that way A shame really. What we have here is a time capsule from 1961, when Harrison, the author of Make Room Make Room , wrote a pulpy sci fi adventure as an homage to prototypical science fiction adventures of an even earlier era While this didn t age as well as one would hope, and may get knocked down by fans of contemporary science fiction on that account, I enjoy occasionally looking back in time and reading influential genre works, as they give a glimpse into how the genre was built and evolved into what it now is This work is a particularly good example, as I am not sure sci fi gets Han Solo without first having Slippery Jim diGriz, a.k.a the Stainless Steel Rat.And Jim is the kind of brash, rapscallion anti hero with a heart of gold that sci fi is littered with And we love him for it.One early plot development that did not sit so well with me, however, was how easily Jim was turned by the Special Corps On his first job for them, for example, he is given a luxury spacecraft that he uses to catch another criminal, and at no point does he consider stealing it himself and disregarding the mission.Also of note was that while at first, the treatment of females in this novel left a bit to be desired, that gets turned upside down when the mastermind antagonist turns out to be a femme fatale that is so manipulative, she ensnares Jim, a master con artist in his own right, with little effort. A fun, entertaining and, above all else, quick read Just what the doctor ordered after finishing the mammoth tome that is A Game of Thrones This Sci Fi lite meets hardboiled cop dramedy makes for a nice, mindless distraction It probably only deserves 3 stars this ain t Shakespeare, folks , but I m willing to bump it up a full star for the pure enjoyment of it all Some will consider the writing so so or even subpar, while others will complain of stereotypical characters I actually enjoyed the overly cocky main character , but those people need to pull the stick out and relax on this one. This was a nice blast from the past, a fast moving space opera with a wonderful main character, Slippery Jim DiGriz He s a thief, con man, liar, but a pretty good nice guy for all that Just a bit of a square peg in the round holes of the future This was the first book published might be the best book, although the next one The Stainless Steel Rat s Revenge is a very close second.While this is shelved as SF, the universe is very much a 1960 s vision of the future Punch cards are still used while many things are smaller pin head grenades or possible in a magical sort of space opera way there isn t any visionary tech Some is hilarious like the robot butler that runs on coal steam Pistols shoot 75 caliber bullets, but can be stopped by bullet proof underwear.There is a lot of action DiGriz is always ready with a snappy word, but he s a young steel rat in this one which makes him real likable than he is in some of the later books.This was well read by Phil Gigante I read these books several times since I was a kid, but it s been a long while since the last reread The story is just as good whether printed or read aloud. ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature At a certain stage, the realization strikes through that one must either live outside of society s bonds or die of absolute boredom There is no future or freedom in the circumscribed life and the only other life is complete rejection of the rules There is no longer room for the soldier of fortune or the gentleman adventurer who can live both within and outside of society Today it is all or nothing To save my own sanity, I chose nothing In the future society where Jim diGriz lives, most criminal and anti social behavior has been weeded out of the human genome It s hard for bad guys to hide themselves in this antiseptic society in order to survive, you gotta be a stainless steel rat, and Slippery Jim diGriz is a really sneaky one He s exceptionally cunning but he s not murderous, so when he finally gets caught, instead of fixing him, the intergalactic cops decide to recruit him Jim s pretty conflicted about working for the good guys, but soon he s on his first case after he figures out that somebody evil is building a battleship.The Stainless Steel Rat is, simply, tons of fun It s quick paced, action packed, and funny The villains are purposely overdone in that cheesy James Bond Batman kind of way, but Harry Harrison doesn t skimp on Jim diGriz s character The Stainless Steel Rat is one of those outlaws that you just can t help but root for, especially when he s always amused with himself and his circumstances For a science fiction novel written in 1961, The Stainless Steel Rat ages well, too.I listened to Brilliance Audio s version read by Phil Gigante who gives a lively performance I m sure that a lot of my chuckling was caused by Mr Gigante s interpretation of diGriz s personality In one scene, diGriz takes a drug that s supposed to help him understand the mind of a sociopath This was beautifully and hilariously portrayed by Mr Gigante Brilliance Audio will be producing several Stainless Steel Rat novels read by Phil Gigante I will definitely be picking those up This was an interesting book to read Pulp sci fi written in 1961 and reprinted dozens of times First in a successful and long running series My copy comes from the late 80s when it was selling very well.The main points of interest for me were how poor a prediction of future technology it was, and how badly sci fi was written 55 years ago.The Stainless Steel universe has the standard many times faster than light travel, instant communication via psychic telephone men this time , and highly intelligent robots.A strange distinction is made between robots and computers The robots have robot brains and can do complex jobs like being policemen some run on coal Computers on the other hand do bugger all You feed them navigation instructions on tape They take anything from 1o seconds to several minutes to search modest databases And that s pretty much it.Files are held in filing cabinets on paper Our hero spends a fair time rustling his way through dusty heaps of files.Currency is paper and coin Our hero a thief who turns policeman steals money in bags and carries it to other planets hidden in his luggage.So in short, the laws of physics are overturned at will with not even a two word description of the engines or principles involved, and the computer revolution goes unanticipated.The story is a rather silly one about chasing a murderous female criminal who Slippery Jim falls in love with in a deeply unconvincing 1950s movie kind of way The plot is pretty thin and involves a bunch of face changing and unlikely guesswork The world universe building are very basic and rather uninspired.I found the book s only saving grace to be that the first person narrator, Jim, has a strong, lively voice with a measure of humour to it Given that the sci fi failings were pretty common to most all of the sci fi around at the time I guess the strong voice accounts for the books popularity.Essentially this work was of its time and has dated badly.Fortunately it s a very short book, perhaps only 50,000 words or so.Join my 3 emails a year newsletter prizes. First, notice the cover Do you know why my review copy looks so different from the one you may have read Published 1970, baby, this edition comes courtesy of the local library system Let s give it up for the librarians, shall we, the ones who track down my ridiculous requests for books published before I was figuratively, of course, my dears I like to think of myself as the real life equivalent of the heroine in Bellwether, who was on a mission to check out unused books so that they wouldn t be weeded and replaced.But I digress Of course I do You know why Because I just read a book first published in 1961, I m drinking and listening to Three Dog Night, and I m all hazy on what decade I m supposed to be in Because I m likely to digress even further so off topic , you can find the entire review at to my friends that reviewed this, particularly Eric, whose recent review helped draw my attention to it.