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April 5, 2011 / Leslie

Review: The Stainless Steel Rat

TheStainlessSteelRatThe The Stainless Steel Rat
by Harry Harrison
Read by Phil Gigante

Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publish Date: September 12, 2010 
(first published 1961)

Format: 4 CDs | 5 Hours
Rating: 4 of 5

Jim DiGriz is a likeable a con man, a smooth, slippery rat of a guy, a stainless steel rat. Crime is rare in his world and a criminal of DiGriz’ skills is difficult catch. But eventually he does get caught and it’s all over for him. Or is it? Soon he is recruited into the Special Corps, a law enforcement group made up of ex-criminals. It takes a criminal to catch a criminal. In no time Jim is chasing after a thief that has stolen an industrial ship with the intent to build it into a battleship. The fun starts when Jim catches up with the thief, the beautiful Angelina. He has met his match.

This book was originally published in 1961 and is now considered classic sci-fi. It is book one in a series of Stainless Steel Rat books. If you are of a certain age and you read science fiction in your younger days, chances are good you already know about these books. Somehow I missed out on this series. Oh, I knew about them I just never got around to reading them. When I saw book one had been reissued in audio book I grabbed a copy from the library to find out what I had been missing.

This is a book with a sense of humor. The story is not deep and I don’t think it was intended to be. I laughed out loud more than a few times at the sometimes corny and sometimes clever dialog. Science fiction doesn’t have to be technical or exist in a complex, carefully built world. It can be entertaining, fun and campy. The audio was nicely performed by Phil Gigante. I enjoyed his interpretations and portrayal of the characters. At only 4 CDs for the unabridged version, this is a short book and easy to listen to.

Although dated the story has held up fairly well. Thankfully attitudes towards women and the way they are portrayed have, for the most part, changed. While Angelina was initially portrayed as brilliant and strong she quickly turned into the stereotypical femme fatal which had me gritting my teeth and grumbling gaaaah, gaaaah! Setting that aside, it was enjoyable and I’ll be listening to the next book in the series.
Source: Borrowed audio CDs from the library.
CymLowellI participate in Book Review Party Wednesday. Click the link to read more great reviews.


Leave a Comment
  1. Rebecca Rasmussen / Apr 5 2011 9:49 pm

    Interesting — I am a little bit shy to say I didn’t know about this book, but I am glad I do know 🙂


  2. BermudaOnion / Apr 6 2011 7:29 am

    I don’t read a lot of sci-fi, so I probably won’t try this book, but I bet my son would love it.


  3. Listener / Apr 6 2011 4:14 pm

    Excellent! I’m planning to review the short story “The Misplaced Battleship” by Harrison for one of my future blog posts. I write a blog featuring free audiobooks, and that story has been recorded by volunteers at Librivox. The story later became the basis for this book.

    Visiting via Cym Lowell


    • Leslie / Apr 7 2011 12:38 am

      Thanks for the heads up on “The Misplaced Battleship”. I didn’t know that was the basis for Stainless Steel Rat.


  4. Elizabeth / Apr 6 2011 8:49 pm

    Don’t really read sci-fi….great that this one is funny. 🙂

    I am stopping by from Cym Lowell’s Book Party.



  5. theguildedearlobe / Apr 7 2011 11:24 pm

    I think, if you continue on in the series, you’ll enjoy Angelina’s character development. I really enjoy her character.

    I’m glad to see that someone else has been enjoying this series in audio form. I actually think that Phil Gigante actually enhanced my love of these books.



  1. Audiobook Week « Under My Apple Tree

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