Monday, 1 August 2016
The Stainless Steel Rat Wants You! (The Stainless Steel Rat Book 4) - Harry Harrison
Title: The Stainless Steel Rat Wants You! (The Stainless Steel Rat Book 4)
Author: Harry Harrison
“The Stainless Steel Rat Wants You!” is the fourth instalment in Harry Harrison’s amusing and at times quite ridiculous science-fiction series entitled “The Stainless Steel Rat”. If you have read any of the other novels in the series, then you will know the drill by now. Slippery Jim DiGriz is a con artist who’s been forced to work undercover for the Special Corps, an intergalactic investigating agency. When his wife is kidnapped by the revenue service, Slippery Jim picks up his two teenage sons from their military boarding school (and penitentiary) to free their mother and wreak havoc on the tax bureau. As is often the case with his adventures, this escapade leads to Jim finding himself commandeered to save humanity from galaxy-wide destruction.
Up until this point, Harrison’s series has been devoid of aliens which is remedied in this novel. And by remedied, I mean he overwhelms the Universe with an invasion of countless different slimy, tentacled creatures, all improbably banded together against us, united in their hatred and disgust for just how ugly we look. Honestly, I think he tried to cover every B-movie alien he could; he really did make up for his previously human centric Universe!
In regards to the writing itself, well it is fast paced and full of many witty and humourous moments, just like the other novels in the series. At times it did feel a little bit like Harrison was running out of new ideas however as the basic frame work of the plot is very similar to the other novels. And don’t get me started on the use of time travel again; I seriously think this gimmick is getting overused. The resolution’s also a little convenient, but it is in keeping with the tone of the novel so it didn’t bother me that much.
Don’t get me wrong, it is still an enjoyable romp and I probably liked this one more than the previous novel “The Stainless Steel Rat Saves The World”. However, it is just more of the same and there is probably only so many times you can enjoy following these parodies of golden age sci-fi novels before beginning to get a little bored.
Overall, this is another entertaining novel in “The Stainless Steel Rat” series that should appeal to those of you have who have already read the previous novels. Yes, the books are beginning to feel a bit samey but Slippery Jim DiGriz continues to be an enjoyable and engaging character who keeps drawing me back into his world, even if the originality is now slightly lacking.