Review – The Stainless Steel Rat

Cover of The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry HarrisonThe Stainless Steel Rat, Harry Harrison

I was never particularly attracted by this book before, but when Ryan from SpecFic Junkie was reading it, he got me intrigued. I wasn’t going to buy it, in case it remained not-my-thing, but actually it’s pretty fun. Slippery Jim is basically a Vlad Taltos/Locke Lamora of sci-fi: a loveable rogue, ultimately reluctant to do real harm, and sort of kind of on the side of right. It’s a pretty short book, or the tone might start to grate, and there were one or two things I disliked about the portrayal of the female antagonist, but it was pretty fun.

The problem with the female antagonist is mostly that her motivation revolves around being ugly originally, and that “twisted” her. Because looks are the important thing, amirite? It’s sort of easier to take because it’s in character for the narrator, but the character’s actions aren’t hopeful in that direction.

Still, as a quick read, it works okay, and the pace and shortness keep it from getting annoying. It’s not 100% my thing, but I am going to read some more.

Rating: 3/5

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2 thoughts on “Review – The Stainless Steel Rat

  1. I used to read Harry Harrison when I was just a wee lad, and I gobbled the Stainless Steel rat books down, though I’m not sure how well they’ll stand up to contemporary scrutiny.

    My last of his was “Star Smashers of the Galaxy Raiders”, read with a five year gap in the middle because I was too young to get the satire when I started and just thought it was… rubbish. When I came back to it, the escalating ridiculousness came good – lots of mockery of traditional sf tropes (and just general mockery as well, I expect, though I’m looking back across over 25 years now and my mind’s eye grows hazy). You might be interested in giving it a try, it’s certainly the one I look back on the most fondly.

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