James Bolivar “Slippery Jim” diGriz, Special Corps agent, master con man, and interstellar criminal (retired), is living high on the hog on the planet Moolaplenty when a long-lost cousin and a shipful of swine arrive to drain his bank account and send him, and his lovely wife, Angelina, wandering the stars on the wildest journey since Gulliver’s Travels.
In this darkly satiric work, Harry Harrison brings his most famous character out of retirement for a grand tour of the galaxy. The Stainless Steel Rat rides again: a cocktail in his hand, a smile on his lips, and larceny in his heart, in search of adventure, gravitons, and a way to get rid of the pigs.
©2010 Harry Harrison (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
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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