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The Stainless Steel Rat (Stainless Steel Rat (Publication Order) #1)

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  10,968 Ratings  ·  366 Reviews
There is a prequel called, A Stainless Steel Rat is Born.

Meet Slippery Jim diGriz

Cosmic criminal, the smoothest, sneakiest, con-man in the known Universe. He can take any bank in the Galaxy, con a captain out of his ship, start a war or stop one - whichever pays most.

So when the law finally catches up with the Stainless Steel Rat, there is only one thing to do - make him a
Paperback, #F672, 158 pages
Published November 1961 by Pyramid Books (first published 1961)
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To understand the unique brilliance and enduring popularity of the Stainless Steel Rat, it’s important to understand the world in which these stories take place. It is the far future and genetic manipulation and controls have bred the “malcontent” or “criminal” gene out of humanity...all but a few anyway. Society is sterile, homogenous and lifeless.

Shattering the status quo is James Bolivar DiGriz (aka The Stainless Steel Rat) and his roguish, adventure-filled criminal schemes. He is an exciti
Jan 14, 2012 Carol. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of To Catch a Thief, Ocean's Eleven
Recommended to Carol. by: Eric
First, notice the cover. Do you know why my review copy looks so different from the one you may have read? Published 1970, baby, this edition comes courtesy of the local library system. Let’s give it up for the librarians, shall we, the ones who track down my ridiculous requests for books published before I was (figuratively, of course, my dears). I like to think of myself as the real life equivalent of the heroine in Bellwether, who was on a mission to check out unused books so that they wouldn ...more
Mark Lawrence
This was an interesting book to read. Pulp sci-fi written in 1961 and reprinted dozens of times. First in a successful and long running series. My copy comes from the late 80s when it was selling very well.

The main points of interest for me were how poor a prediction of future technology it was, and how badly sci-fi was written 55 years ago.

The Stainless Steel universe has the 'standard' many-times-faster-than-light travel, instant communication (via psychic telephone men this time), and highly
Right up front, I'm going to tell you that this is a book that is about to suffer for being judged out of time. By me.

Now, I'm not usually the type to notice offenses to the feminist cause in everything, but I couldn't help but find this book, and its depiction of literally the ONLY female character in it (besides prostitutes, that is, but they don't count) ridiculous in the worst way. As soon as the "secretary" was mentioned, and it was - of course - assumed that she must be working for a male
Jason Koivu
Jan 30, 2012 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who needs a fun, action-packed good time
Recommended to Jason by: Stephen, he of many reviews
Shelves: sci-fi, humor
A fun, entertaining and, above all else, quick read. Just what the doctor ordered after finishing the mammoth tome that is A Game of Thrones. This Sci-Fi lite-meets-hardboiled cop dramedy makes for a nice, mindless distraction. It probably only deserves 3 stars (this ain't Shakespeare, folks!), but I'm willing to bump it up a full star more for the pure enjoyment of it all. Some will consider the writing so-so or even subpar, while others will complain of stereotypical characters (I actually enj ...more
Aug 13, 2013 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of sci-fi classics
What we have here is a time capsule from 1961, when Harrison, the author of Make Room! Make Room!, wrote a pulpy sci-fi adventure as an homage to prototypical science fiction adventures of an even earlier era.

While this didn't age as well as one would hope, and may get knocked down by fans of more contemporary science fiction on that account, I enjoy occasionally looking back in time and reading influential genre works, as they give a glimpse into how the genre was built and evolved into what i
Jul 09, 2009 Mohammed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I was surprised to find how well this book stands up after all these year. I hadnt read Harry Harrison before so i didnt expect it to be this good.
It was raw quality with fun adventure, great satirical humour,ingenious plot twists. Good action too. The ideal fun space adventure i was looking for.

Slippery Jim himself is an awesome character to read and memorable. His strong first person narrative carried the book very well. Every thought,word from him was interesting. He made me smile by the kind
Oct 20, 2013 F.R. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When I was a child in short trousers, I used to stare fascinated at the various ‘Stainless Steel Rat’ adventures on the bookshelves at W.H.Smiths. I don’t quite know what intrigued me so much. Perhaps it was the cover, which I remember as a square jawed man in a futuristic space-suit dropping from the sky. Or maybe it was the name, as I thought the term “stainless steel rat” seemed impossibly cool (if I’m honest, I’m still of that belief). Whatever the reason, I would stand there and stare at th ...more
Kat  Hooper
Oct 16, 2010 Kat Hooper rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

"At a certain stage, the realization strikes through that one must either live outside of society’s bonds or die of absolute boredom. There is no future or freedom in the circumscribed life and the only other life is complete rejection of the rules. There is no longer room for the soldier of fortune or the gentleman adventurer who can live both within and outside of society. Today it is all or nothing. To save my own sanity, I chose nothing."

In the future
Sep 27, 2014 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: stainless steel rats, hot killer babes with battlecruisers
"Slippery" Jim DiGriz is a rogue in a society that is a peaceful, plentiful utopia and has mostly bred antisocial behavior away. That leaves men like DiGriz bored and, unable to cope with society any other way, they plan capers. Since there are so few people like him, there is a Special Corps dedicated to stopping these nefarious ne'er do wells.

After a bank heist and a scam that turns the wrong way, DiGriz gets captured, and recruited into the Corps. Of course. Takes a thief to catch a thief, an
Nov 11, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a nice blast from the past, a fast moving space opera with a wonderful main character, Slippery Jim DiGriz. He's a thief, con man, liar, but a pretty good & nice guy for all that. Just a bit of a square peg in the round holes of the future. This was the first book published & might be the best book, although the next one The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge is a very close second.

While this is shelved as SF, the universe is very much a 1960's vision of the future. Punch cards are s
I was never particularly attracted by this book before, but when Ryan from SpecFic Junkie was reading it, he got me intrigued. I wasn’t going to buy it, in case it remained not-my-thing, but actually it’s pretty fun. Slippery Jim is basically a Vlad Taltos/Locke Lamora of sci-fi: a loveable rogue, ultimately reluctant to do real harm, and sort of kind of on the side of right. It’s a pretty short book, or the tone might start to grate, and there were one or two things I disliked about the portray ...more
Nov 24, 2008 Manny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction

Excellent SF caper novel. The successors get steadily worse, but #1 is definitely worth reading.
Mar 18, 2017 Carlex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 1/2 stars

Finally I could read this classic. It was my second Harry Harrison's work and I find it quite different for the masterwork Make Room, Make Room!. The Stainless Steel Rat was a light reading with an ironic criticism about human nature, but no the devastating warning that was the other.

A thief turned space agent 007esque style has to stop an interestellar mass murder. A light reading, curiously it remembers me the Spanish pulps I read when I was a very young space cadet (it occurs me t
I read this book for the first time back in the early 90s, while at university. We had a fantastic book shop where you could give back books you'd read to help fund your new purchases. I introduced myself to a lot of previously unread science-fiction authors thanks to that shop, but I also read through a lot of great series that way too. Strangely, I never went any further with the stainless steel rat series, although I remembered loving the first book – and I gave it four stars based on that me ...more
Ken Magee
Jan 12, 2012 Ken Magee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Stainless Steel Rat introduced me to comedy sci-fi many, many years ago. It opened up a whole new genre which, in turn, led me to comedy fantasy. I'm very grateful to Harry Harrison for that.

I remember the plot as being somewhat convoluted, but it boiled down to master conman turns cop... and falls in love. I recommend it to anyone who likes a bit of fun, I plan to re-read it soon.

This is definitely the best pulp scifi I have ever read!

There are no actual rats, steel or otherwise, in this story (I have to admit I was a bit disappointed about that); the stainless steel rat is the protagonist and narrator's metaphor for his chosen role in society -- slipping between the cracks and taking what he wants. In the far future it's harder to do this, as society is run by experts who maintain peace and abundance and who cull potential criminals from the population. Thus one can't j
Darryl Knickrehm
2.5 out of 5
In 1961, I am sure this book was stellar. It is colorfully written. There is a whimsical tone to the narration. It evokes a lot of the B-sci-fi of the time. The plot is always moving. Lots of snappy action fill the pages. It is short. All of these make The Stainless Steel Rat a great book for teens.

In 2012, this book is not so stellar. Heck, we are in the 'future' now (at least for the 60's) and none of that B-sci-fi is considered quality fiction nowadays. Just like SSR, that sci-fi
Aug 01, 2012 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know why but I was expecting something more like vintage space opera from the 30's and was surprised to find this was actually written in the mid '60s and still feels fresh.

This is light, fast-moving, edge of your seat stuff that you will whip through in no time. A charming, loveable rogue protagonist is nearly impossible not to engage with. While he think's he's clever, he still gets outsmarted on quite a regular basis, his fallibility only making him more likable. There is very little
This was entertaining but not as good as 'Make Room! Make Room!' by the same author. But then again, the comparison is not fair as 'Make Room! Make Room!' is more serious than this. But reading 'SS Rat' once won't make you regret it.
Jun 12, 2015 Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book aged very well - probably because it focused more on the characters and the caper - and those are timeless.
Nov 05, 2012 Kian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Taking a break from Masterworks for a little bit, I grabbed this on hearing of the author's passing. Better late than never.

First in a series of ... lots, the Rat is a intergalactic con man in a universe where criminality is low due to personality modifications. Captured criminals are rehabilitated, or ... are recruited in to the Corps, where their individual skills are especially useful. Use a thief to catch a thief.

The story is the first outing for the Rat under the Corps. The Rat is foiled by
Steve Merrick
Feb 08, 2012 Steve Merrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I have just re-read this one and adored every naughty moment, the main character is none other than Slippery Jim DiGriz, a galactic thief with a love of cigars and fine living, whats outstanding is the morality of this crook, he literally has justified his every move and you love him more for it, also he doesn't kill people, he is pretty specific about that until he gets caught by Inskip and the Special Corps and he finds himself becoming a copper..
Linda I
This is a great campy sci-fi story. Set in the future and in a society where most everything is regulated and nearly perfect, comes a con rat, James DiGriz or Slippery Jim, who is simply unsatisfied with the nicety of his world. After decades of successful cons, Slippery Jim, though meticulously careful in planning his cons, is convinced he can outsmart the authorities. That is, until the Special Corps eventually catch up to him and snare him in their trap. However, rather than arrest him, they ...more
Conan Tigard
Nov 14, 2015 Conan Tigard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
really love the way Jim can become any person he wants…a master of disguise. He can manipulate just about anyone. And, he is always shocked when he finds out that somebody out-thunk him. This is a book that I consider a fun read. It has been over 10 years since I last read it and I enjoyed it as much, if not more, the second time around.

If you like a slick sci-fi story with a really cool character, The Stainless Steel Rat is the book and series for you. It is a classic.

I rated this book a 9 ou
Nov 03, 2012 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really fun read, Master theif novel, set in space, what more needs to be said, it was both and while parts made me chuckle this isnt just some book to rip jokes on all the stereotypes, the story works well and kept me reading when I really should not have been.

As someone who doesn't find myself picking up sci fi novels very often, id definately recommend it even if just for some of the humorous antics.
Kevin Hull
Jan 04, 2016 Kevin Hull rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a world where technology and an abundance of all resources have made crime superfluous, how does a Master Criminal make his way? It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it! Don't look for logic or any kind of message, this is more a less a comic book without pictures. But as such it is ridiculous fun from start to finish. I will be reading more of this series in the future.
Austin Wright
May 16, 2016 Austin Wright rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition want to read Sci-Fi Comedy (A Sub-Genre that I personally despise), then I recommend this book. I do not recommend Douglas Adams' series at all, and this book is better and more comical than all five of Adams' Hitchhiker series.

Strong characters! Will continue reading the series!
Oct 10, 2012 Kaila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well that was a ton of fun. The narrator gets 5 out of 5 stars. There were a few things that weren't in the book that the narrator did that were just genius and made me laugh out loud. His lady voice could be improved.

For the book itself, it was a short, fast-paced sci fi caper novel. It definitely shows the era it was written in (1961), but still a lot of fun.
Emily (BellaGrace)
This book is 50 years old and it has not aged well. It is super short though (my book was super tiny font and 120 pages) so I managed to finish it. I found this book listed on several "best of" sci-fi lists - I guess whoever wrote the list hasn't read much sci-fi - but I have, so trust me when I say this is totally skippable.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Harry Harrison (born Henry Maxwell Dempsey) was an American science fiction author best known for his character the The Stainless Steel Rat and the novel Make Room! Make Room! (1966), the basis for the film Soylent Green (1973). He was also (with Brian W. Aldiss) co-president of the Birmingham Science Fiction G
More about Harry Harrison...

Other Books in the Series

Stainless Steel Rat (Publication Order) (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge (Stainless Steel Rat, #5)
  • The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World (Stainless Steel Rat, #6)
  • The Stainless Steel Rat Wants You! (Stainless Steel Rat, #7)
  • The Stainless Steel Rat for President (Stainless Steel Rat, #8)
  • A Stainless Steel Rat is Born (Stainless Steel Rat, #1)
  • The Stainless Steel Rat Gets Drafted (Stainless Steel Rat, #2)
  • Stainless Steel Visions
  • The Stainless Steel Rat Sings the Blues (Stainless Steel Rat, #3)
  • The Stainless Steel Rat Goes to Hell (Stainless Steel Rat, #9)
  • The Stainless Steel Rat Joins the Circus (Stainless Steel Rat, #10)

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“We must be as stealthy as rats in the wainscoting of their society. It was easier in the old days, of course, and society had more rats when the rules were looser, just as old wooden buildings have more rats than concrete buildings. But there are rats in the building now as well. Now that society is all ferrocrete and stainless steel there are fewer gaps in the joints. It takes a very smart rat indeed to find these openings. Only a stainless steel rat can be at home in this environment...” 14 likes
“I could say. “Well I damn well knew what” 1 likes
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