October 4th, 2014


Book Review: The Stainless Steel Rat, by Harry Harrison

Belle dames and battlecruisers: a Neutral Good Thief in a sci-fi setting.

The Stainless Steel Rat

Sphere, 1961, 158 pages

Jim DiGriz is caught during one of his crimes and recruited into the Special Corps. Boring, routine desk work during his probationary period results in his discovering that someone is building a battleship, thinly disguised as an industrial vessel. In the peaceful League no one has battleships anymore, so the builder of this one would be unstoppable.

DiGriz' hunt for the guilty becomes a personal battle between himself and the beautiful but deadly Angelina, who is planning a coup on one of the feudal worlds. DiGriz' dilemma is whether he will turn Angelina over to the Special Corps, or join with her, since he has fallen in love with her.

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Verdict: The Stainless Steel Rat is humorous, light-hearted space opera that will cause readers of a certain generation (ahem) to recall classic Traveller games of yore. Particularly recommended for fans of Keith Laumer's Retief or A. Bertram Chandler's John Grimes series.

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