A Stainless Steel Rat is Born

by Harry Harrison
Series: Stainless Steel Rat 6
Reviewed date: 2006 Jan 29
Rating: 3
219 pages
cover art

Harry Harrison gives us Yet Another Stainless Steel Rat Book (YASSRB). This time Harrison takes us back to Jim diGriz's childhood, when he is a teenager embarking on a life journey of crime. Jim figures that to be a great criminal, he must study from great criminals; he robs a bank and deliberately gets caught so he can go to prison and study from the criminal masterminds behind bars.

Jim miscalculates: only poor criminals get caught. There is nothing for him to learn in prison, so he escapes. His next plan is to find the notorious Bishop, a criminal who captivated the public for decades but was never caught. Jim manages to track him down, and--after some persuasion--the Bishop agrees to teach Jim the tricks of living as a "Citizen of the Outside," as he calls it.

Jim and the Bishop's first move is to leave the planet, being that Jim is a wanted prison escapee. They get off-planet, but end up stranded on a backward feudalistic world where the only law is the power of the sword. Jim and the Bishop are sold as slaves, but manage to eventually turn the tables and rise to positions of influence.

Overall it's a decent book. YASSRB doesn't break much new ground, but for fans of Slippery Jim diGriz, it's two hundred pages of the standard adventures we've come to enjoy.

It's interesting to note a few differences in Jim's character: he is much less confident in his abilities, he makes a fair number of mistakes, and he isn't yet the boozer that he will become as he grows older.

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