I've long enjoyed tales of the Stainless Steel Rat, but this book just disappointed me all around. Our rat is almost unrecognizable -- no larceny, no cons, no jobs for the Special Branch, not even any real cleverness. The overarching plot that is supposed to tie the book together is the problem of relocating his bumpkin relatives and their porcine herd. Along the way they visit a pair of planets, which have vaguely interesting setups that could have led to an entire book earlier, but are now dealt with perfunctorily. I should have been warned off by the fact that the first part of the book, Jim's biggest worry is his dwindling bank balance. C'mon, the old rat never worried about money -- he just robbed a bank when he needed more. Nothing in this book required the SSR, and, in truth, he never appeared in more than name. Perhaps his years on the right side of the law have really made him soft.
Of course, the narration didn't help either. The narrator demonstrated a good range of voices, and I'm sure he is a fine narrator for other books, but for some reason, he did Jim's voice in Adam West style mock seriousness, which did nothing for the characterization of our favorite hardened criminal.
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