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In the vastness of space, the crimes just get bigger and Slippery Jim diGriz, the Stainless Steel Rat, is the biggest criminal of them all. He can con humans, aliens and any number of robots time after time. Jim is so slippery that all the inter-galactic cops can do is make him one of their own

208 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 1, 1961

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About the author

Harry Harrison

1,090 books939 followers
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 Group.

Excerpted from Wikipedia.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 563 reviews
Profile Image for Mark Lawrence.
Author 72 books51k followers
March 14, 2023
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 intelligent robots.

A strange distinction is made between robots and computers. The robots have 'robot brains' and can do complex jobs like being policemen. (some run on coal!)

Computers on the other hand do bugger all. You feed them navigation instructions on tape. They take anything from 1o seconds to several minutes to search modest databases. And that's pretty much it.

Files are held in filing cabinets on paper. Our hero spends a fair time rustling his way through dusty heaps of files.

Currency is paper and coin. Our hero (a thief who turns policeman) steals money in bags and carries it to other planets hidden in his luggage.

So in short, the laws of physics are overturned at will with not even a two-word description of the engines or principles involved, and the computer revolution goes unanticipated.

The story is a rather silly one about chasing a murderous female criminal who Slippery Jim falls in love with in a deeply unconvincing 1950s movie kind of way. The plot is pretty thin and involves a bunch of face-changing and unlikely guesswork. The world/universe building are very basic and rather uninspired.

I found the book's only saving grace to be that the first person narrator, Jim, has a strong, lively voice with a measure of humour to it. Given that the sci-fi 'failings' were pretty common to most (all?) of the sci-fi around at the time I guess the strong voice accounts for the books' popularity.

Essentially this work was 'of its time' and has dated badly.

Fortunately it's a very short book, perhaps only 50,000 words or so.

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Profile Image for Stephen.
1,516 reviews11k followers
July 14, 2011

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 exciting anomaly in a BOREfically milquetoasty galaxy filled with MEH. As DiGriz himself explains early on in the novel:
My life is so different from that of the overwhelming majority of people in our society...They exist in a fat, rich union of worlds that have almost forgotten the meaning of the word crime. There are few malcontents. The few that are born...are caught early and the aberration quickly adjusted.Some don’t show their weakness until they are adults, they try their hand at a petty crime -burglary, shoplifting or such. They get away with it for a week or two...but sure as atomic decay...the police reach out and pull them in.

That is almost the full extent of crime in our organized, dandified society. Ninety-nine percent of it, let’s say. That [last] one percent is me and a handful of men scattered around the galaxy. Theoretically, we can’t exist...but we do. We are the rats in the wainscoting of society - we operate outside of their barriers and outside of their rules. 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 ferroconcrete and stainless steel there are fewer gaps between the joints and it takes a smart rat to find them. A stainless steel rat is right at home in this environment.

The worldview described above gives the actions of the Stainless Steel Rat a context that I find very compelling. He is an adventuress spirit who in an earlier time would have been a treasure seeker or a soldier of fortune. In this deeply constrained society, however, DiGriz's options for personal expression are so limited that he gave society the finger and decided that master criminal (with a heart of gold) sounded like fun. And fun he has.

This story is like a needle full of liquid happy and will take the hard edge off just about any bad day. The writing is light-hearted but smart and DiGriz's sardonic, witty narration is just awesome. The plot is clever and well thought out. As for DiGriz, he will endear himself to you faster than a sad-eyed puppy. He is truly one of the great characters of science fiction and this first adventure of the Stainless Steel Rat is carting bags of smiles and are a sure fire cure for the blues. 4.0 stars. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Profile Image for carol..
1,538 reviews7,882 followers
January 18, 2014
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’t be weeded and replaced.

But I digress. Of course I do. You know why? Because I just read a book first published in 1961, I’m drinking and listening to Three Dog Night, and I’m all hazy on what decade I’m supposed to be in.


Because I'm likely to digress even further (so off-topic!!), you can find the entire review at:




Shout-out to my friends that reviewed this, particularly Eric, whose recent review helped draw my attention to it.
Profile Image for Jamie.
1,160 reviews105 followers
May 18, 2022
3.5 stars. Great setup for what would become sci-fi grandmaster Harry Harrison's most enduring series and character, Jim diGriz, AKA the Stainless Steel Rat. Funny, clever and daring, he makes the perfect inter-galactic rogue extraordinaire in a galaxy that's been mostly purged of crime thanks to scientific advancements that enable the early detection and elimination of deviant personality traits. He stays one step ahead of the authorities, constantly moving on to his next scam on a new planet with a completely unsuspecting populace and local law enforcement.

The first half of this Stainless Steel Rat debut is great fun and packed with action and memorable quips. Yet it loses steam in the second half, becoming more introspective and even sappy as the Rat develops a love interest and they try to outwit each other. She proves at least as cunning and a lot more unscrupulous. Still, overall a great setup for a classic sci-fi series.
Profile Image for Becky.
1,339 reviews1,633 followers
October 25, 2015
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 who was pulling all the strings, I knew that this book and I were going to have issues. Perhaps I could have moved past those issues. Perhaps. It was written decades ago, and women and men had their "roles" and all.

But then toward the end, I knew there was no redemption for this book for me. Because, as forward-thinking as Harrison no doubt thought himself (or so it seems to me, knowing nothing about him at all other than having read this one book) for casting a woman as the antagonist, and making her smart, and independent, he ruined all of that when he THEN made her psychotic about her looks - and actually had the main male character say something to the effect of "I had wondered how someone so beautiful became so smart" and "she was cursed by ugliness". Because ugly women can be smart, but beautiful women who are smart are SUCH a rarity that they defy reality. And of course, no matter how insane or murderous they are, it's impossible not to fall in love with a woman like that.

I can't even right now.

If he had handled Angelina better, this might be a 4 star book for me. There was a decent amount of humor, the futuristic society was interesting, the heist details were on point (all things considered), and the main MALE character was interesting... at least until Angelina came into the picture and ruined everything. I don't hold her responsible for that, though. She was just written that way. A shame really.
Profile Image for Richard Derus.
2,896 reviews1,927 followers
May 31, 2019
Rating: 3* of five

Distastefully sexist, but 58 years old. (The book, not the reviewer.) (Although I'm regularly informed of my innate inferiority of character due to sexism.)

It was a modest amount of fun reading it because I like capers. "Slippery Jim" diGriz plans a fun caper indeed, thrice in fact, and I had no problem seeing how to modernize the capers. Still and all, I can't really think of a reason to read the book if you haven't already because there's really nothing substantive to be gained and a lot of attitude changes have rendered the central points of the plot outdated to the point of actually becoming offensive in a #MeToo world.

So you've been warned/enticed, depending on your social orientation.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,977 followers
March 10, 2021
I made it a goal to return to some of my all-time favorites of SF this year. Revisit fond memories, try to determine whether my teenage self had as good taste as my adult self.

You know. A nostalgia trip.

In this case, I'm not going for the full best of the best of the best, but the ones that had me snickering and enjoying the wild rush of being bad for the sake of FREEDOM. In this case, it's the Stainless Steel Rat.

Master thief of many, many worlds, finally caught, turned into a thief-catcher, and delightful light SF ensues.

And it's not even that surprising a plot. Femme Fatale stuff. But I still enjoyed the lot of it, from special psychological drug cocktails to full-body makeovers to hilarious commentaries of nationalism, banks, and paperwork.

What can I say? I LOVE a great heist novel. Harry Harrison just happened to make a whole fun series out of it, and it has rung a bell on my subsequent delights ever since.

It holds up. It's light and fun SF with a healthy dose of snark. Lupin for the SF age. :)
Profile Image for Juho Pohjalainen.
Author 5 books252 followers
March 23, 2020
Good action, clever spy thriller and a bunch of crime geniuses that actually come across as smart, and a sympathetic main character, all more than make up for the relatively petty shortcomings of slightly uneven plotting and shallow universe. I believe I will keep up with the series.
Profile Image for Jason Koivu.
Author 7 books1,228 followers
March 9, 2012
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 enjoyed the overly cocky main character), but those people need to pull the stick out and relax on this one.
Profile Image for Eric.
873 reviews77 followers
January 10, 2014
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 it now is. This work is a particularly good example, as I am not sure sci-fi gets Han Solo without first having Slippery Jim diGriz, a.k.a. the Stainless Steel Rat.

And Jim is the kind of brash, rapscallion anti-hero with a heart of gold that sci-fi is littered with. And we love him for it.

One early plot development that did not sit so well with me, however, was how easily Jim was turned by the Special Corps. On his first job for them, for example, he is given a luxury spacecraft that he uses to catch another criminal, and at no point does he consider stealing it himself and disregarding the mission.

Also of note was that while at first, the treatment of females in this novel left a bit to be desired, that gets turned upside down when the mastermind antagonist turns out to be a femme fatale that is so manipulative, she ensnares Jim, a master con artist in his own right, with little effort.
Profile Image for Kat  Hooper.
1,583 reviews398 followers
October 22, 2010
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 society where Jim diGriz lives, most criminal and anti-social behavior has been weeded out of the human genome. It’s hard for bad guys to hide themselves in this antiseptic society — in order to survive, you gotta be a stainless steel rat, and Slippery Jim diGriz is a really sneaky one. He’s exceptionally cunning but he’s not murderous, so when he finally gets caught, instead of fixing him, the intergalactic cops decide to recruit him. Jim’s pretty conflicted about working for the good guys, but soon he’s on his first case after he figures out that somebody evil is building a battleship.

The Stainless Steel Rat is, simply, tons of fun. It’s quick-paced, action-packed, and funny. The villains are purposely overdone in that cheesy James Bond / Batman kind of way, but Harry Harrison doesn’t skimp on Jim diGriz’s character. The Stainless Steel Rat is one of those outlaws that you just can’t help but root for, especially when he’s always amused with himself and his circumstances. For a science fiction novel written in 1961, The Stainless Steel Rat ages well, too.

I listened to Brilliance Audio’s version read by Phil Gigante who gives a lively performance. I’m sure that a lot of my chuckling was caused by Mr. Gigante’s interpretation of diGriz’s personality. In one scene, diGriz takes a drug that’s supposed to help him understand the mind of a sociopath. This was beautifully and hilariously portrayed by Mr. Gigante. Brilliance Audio will be producing several more Stainless Steel Rat novels read by Phil Gigante. I will definitely be picking those up!
Profile Image for Jim.
Author 7 books2,030 followers
November 12, 2014
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 still used & while many things are smaller (pin head grenades!) or possible (in a magical sort of space opera way) there isn't any visionary tech. Some is hilarious like the robot butler that runs on coal & steam. Pistols shoot 75 caliber bullets, but can be stopped by bullet proof underwear.

There is a lot of action & DiGriz is always ready with a snappy word, but he's a young steel rat in this one which makes him more 'real' & likable than he is in some of the later books.

This was well read by Phil Gigante. I read these books several times since I was a kid, but it's been a long while since the last reread. The story is just as good whether printed or read aloud.
Profile Image for William.
233 reviews33 followers
March 14, 2022
The Stainless Steel Rat is the first book in Harry Harrison's eponymous classic sci-fi series, if you go by publication order. Apparently it is book 4 in chronological order. No matter, because this was a great place to start.

Slippery Jim DiGriz is a professional con man, living above the law, and below the radar. Until the Special Corps recruits him, that is. After that, he's a cop.

This is great, light-hearted sci-fi that gave me the same joy I experienced reading Robert Heinlein's Have Space Suit, Will Travel. Plenty of laughs and surprises go along with a tricky, and interesting plot.

I'll be reading more of these as soon as possible. Highly recommended to everyone YA and above.
Profile Image for David.
Author 18 books336 followers
October 3, 2014
"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, and DiGriz's boss is a former arch-criminal himself. DiGriz is sent to figure out why a peaceful, backwards planet is building a battlecruiser. This leads him into conflict with the beautiful and deadly Angelina, who mostly gets away with stuff because this book was written in 1961, so even in this far-future galactic setting, everyone expects a pretty girl to be a hapless doll, not a sociopathic mastermind plotting revolutions and conquest.

DiGriz is the archetypical scoundrel who's secretly a decent guy, and his crimes are mostly bloodless ones. He reviles Angelina's bloodthirstiness, yet still falls in love with her... because she's hot? And also because she's a criminal mastermind like him.

Coal-burning robots, giant battlecruisers that exist for no particular reason, thousand-year-old galactic civilizations, and guys 'n dolls. Nothing deep here, but it's an entertaining space romp. This is a classic space opera and light-hearted sci-fi that shows its datedness a bit, but will be fun for anyone who likes the old stuff. 3.5 stars.
Profile Image for Mohammed  Abdikhader  Firdhiye .
419 reviews2 followers
July 11, 2009
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 of twisted criminal he was,just who he was.

Profile Image for Tony.
486 reviews37 followers
May 30, 2019
2nd reading.

Shame, this seemed so much better in my teens.

Still holds some magic but the majority must have escaped through a hole in the pocket of my flairs.
Profile Image for Carlex.
506 reviews90 followers
March 18, 2017
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 than perhaps those are influenced by this one). Enjoyable, with some funny moments, honestly it deserves not more than 3 1/2 Stars (half for the classic). However, my "reunion" with the master Harrison is a happy one and it will not be the last reading from the "rat" Jim diGriz missions.
Profile Image for Peter Tillman.
3,638 reviews329 followers
May 2, 2022
An SF/humor classic. Here's the short story that kicked the whole thing off, in 1957:

"When the office door opened suddenly I knew the game was up. It had been a money-maker - but it was all over. As the cop walked in I sat back in the chair and put on a happy grin. He had the same sombre expression and heavy foot that they all have - and the same lack of humour. I almost knew to the word what he was going to say before he uttered a syllable.

'James Bolivar diGriz I arrest you on the charge-'

I was waiting for the word charge, I thought it made a nice touch that way. ..."

I think this is about half of the fix-up novel that kicked off the series. I might still have a copy? 3.5 stars, by memory, rounded up. Humor Warning applies.
Profile Image for Paul.
2,308 reviews20 followers
September 28, 2020
Re-reading the original story after reading the prequel trilogy has flagged up how many continuity errors there are in the prequels! Quite amusing and I'm not going back to amend my 'reviews' now.

As for this book, well, it's exactly as good as I remembered, which is to say a lot of fun, with its Han Solo-ish protagonist (he predates Mr. Solo by several years of course) and pokes-in-the-eye to science fiction's more somber tomes. It's not deep, it's not especially intelligent and it certainly isn't high brow but it's an absolute blast. I'm glad I decided to revisit.

Now, on to the sequels...
Profile Image for F.R..
Author 30 books201 followers
April 23, 2015
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 the covers and compulsively read the blurbs probably about once a week. Alas, as a child my pocket money was forever stretched thin and so I never got to read Mr Harrison’s tales.

Until now…

And I have to say, probably the child version of me would have appreciated the experience more.
‘Star Wars’ is often seen as an update of the 1930s’ ‘Flash Gordon’/’Buck Rogers’ type serial. But then ‘Star Wars’ introduced a whole layer of myth and quasi-religion into the mix. As such I think ‘The Stainless Steel Rat’ is a truer heir; like those archetypes it has an uncomplicated hero to root for (albeit, more of the roguish type), various cardboard cut-outs posing as planets and absolutely no ambition to achieve any depth whatsoever. Not that I’m suggested that ‘Star Wars’ has a great deal of depth, but it does try. Bless it.

Slippery Jim diGriz is that rare thing in the safe futuristic word, a crook. He is a thief par excellence who has carried out successful heists right across the star system. He is at the top of his game, he is brilliant, a genius – and he knows it. Unfortunately there’s always someone smarter and eventually he is captured. This is no simple capture however, it’s a recruitment. What better way for a government agency to use his roguish skills than to catch other rogues throughout the universe. It takes a thief to catch a thief, after all. His first assignment though is truly deadly, bringing him into contact with a woman far more dangerous and devious than he ever was.

This is a fine book if you just want a distraction, if you don’t want to think about it too much. It has a strong narrator and moves along at a fair clip. Unfortunately plot-wise it’s all a bit of a mess with Harrison just piling one event on top of another until it all collapses into an abrupt ending. The planets our rat visits are basically ill painted backdrops, being little more defined than ‘peaceful planet’ or ‘primitive planet’ with nothing at all to make them seem like real places. What’s most damaging to the basic story though is that Slippery Jim falls in love with his prey with magnificent speed. For the plot to work, he really needs to have had more contact with the woman – an actual conversation, perhaps. Instead he falls in love with a notion, an idea of a woman. To be fair though, even when he does speak to her, her character doesn’t develop much further than that.

So in the end this book was a disappointment and a heartfelt one. As I just know that if I’d read it at twelve years old, it would have been one of my absolute favourites.
Profile Image for Nicky.
4,138 reviews1,009 followers
September 2, 2015
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 portrayal of the female antagonist, but it was pretty fun.

The problem with the female antagonist is mostly that her motivation revolves around being ugly originally, and that “twisted” her. Because looks are the important thing, amirite? It’s sort of easier to take because it’s in character for the narrator, but the character’s actions aren’t hopeful in that direction.

Still, as a quick read, it works okay, and the pace and shortness keep it from getting annoying. It’s not 100% my thing, but I am going to read some more.

Originally posted here.
Profile Image for Leah.
1,389 reviews210 followers
April 16, 2018
I think the fact that it's taken me a week to get through a third of this short book is a fair indication of my total lack of interest, so I'm giving up.

I read this and a couple more of the series back in my teens and remember enjoying them well enough. And I can't really say there's anything about it that's actually annoying me this time round. It's just a pulp crime caper set in space and good enough at being that. But it's not special - I don't understand why it seems to be hailed as some kind of classic these days. And I guess I've just lost my taste for this kind of chase story, where there's only one real character (so far) - the hero Slippery Jim diGriz, a kind of slick-talking, self-satisfied, wise guy.

So it gets 1-star because I'm abandoning it and therefore to give it anything else would seem ridiculous. But for someone who enjoys this kind of novel, then it will probably work quite well. Just don't expect it to be more than it is, which I think is where the problem arose for me.
Profile Image for James.
607 reviews112 followers
January 15, 2019
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 memory.

To rectify that, I ordered the sequel – The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge and waited for it to arrive. Once it arrived, of course, I realised I couldn't really remember what happened in the first book, so I read that first. A very quick read, I pretty much devoured it in a single day (although taking in a couple of slightly-longer-than-commute train journeys). And it was fun. Fun with a capital 'F'!

Slippery Jim diGriz is a rogue. Moving around the League from world to world committing crime. Sometimes a little bank robbery, sometimes some smuggling, sometimes stealing government canned fruit supplies and reselling them as his own. Each time he makes his money and moves just as the police are moving in. However, this time he's attracted some unwanted attention. The mysterious Special Corps. And they want to recruit him as an agent. After all, who better to catch a criminal than a criminal? Plus it takes him out of circulation.

A criminal he may be, but we're supposed to like him. He's more your Robin Hood type (although keeping all the money himself). He's in it for relatively victimless crimes only – stealing from governments, corporations and nobody gets hurt. So when his first assignment pits him against a criminal for whom human life has no value he's torn between his respect for their skill and intelligence, but sworn to bring down a danger to the innocent. Also, nobody makes Jim diGriz look like a fool!

Already looking forward to the rest of the series...
Profile Image for Ken Magee.
Author 16 books79 followers
January 22, 2016
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.

Profile Image for Veeral.
361 reviews133 followers
April 8, 2012
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.
Profile Image for Rosemary Standeven.
779 reviews40 followers
May 7, 2018
I absolutely love all the Stainless Steel Rat books, and have read each one many times. I cannot recommend them highly enough
Profile Image for Jonathon Von.
345 reviews31 followers
March 17, 2023
Entertaining twist on pulp space adventure stories is funny and well plotted but on the simplistic side. James diGriz is a great character, constantly scheming and conning everyone around him is elaborate ways. He’s one of the galaxy’s greatest crooks and gets conscripted to capture another rogue who turns out to be a beautiful woman with a mind as sharp as his own. Clever and fun but drags a little at times. It’s also a little sexist but Angelina is actually a pretty strong character, and for 1961 it’s more progressive than not. Loved these books as a teen and read a bunch of them and have decided to revisit and see if they hold up. So far so good!
Profile Image for Boy Blue.
446 reviews66 followers
September 15, 2022
A slim tome of easy-reading hyper competence porn. With the old "to catch a thief you need a thief" ringing in our ears, we accompany criminal mastermind turned good guy Slippery Jim through a series of hijinks as he tries to catch a criminal that might just be out of his league.

A funny sort of sci-fi. It's half futuristic, half not. I was always frustrated with the technology in Star Wars. They had this combo of interstellar travel and some strange analogue gadgets and gizmos. I was also always confused why they didn't have some of the simple tech we had (until I was reminded they're from a galaxy far away). The new Star Wars trilogy disappointed as well, despite decades having passed, the technology was no better than previous films. If you think about the millions of planets and species, the evolution in technology should be at a breakneck pace.

I'm not sure what to think about Harrison's attempt here. I can't decide whether he was too lazy to think up a new intergalactic form of money, a new set of weaponry, and imagine a galaxy without paper work and filing cabinets, or he's keeping it all there for our comfort. Unfortunately, compared to modern sci-fi this lack of futurism makes Harrison's world seem wrong. But I guess that can be forgiven because you're basically reading this book for James Bolivar DiGriz AKA Slippery Jim AKA The Stainless Steel Rat.

Slippery Jim's contemporaries include Miles Vorkosigan, Locke Lamora, Bora Horza Gobuchul and all the other criminal rogues with a heart of gold.

p.s. The string of pet names for the femme fatale towards the end are nauseating.
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987 reviews133 followers
February 26, 2020
A perfectly good work of retro science-fi pulp. The main character gave me Star-Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy vibes. I just think it was pretty forgettable for me. I think people who really love this series do so because they read it as a kid/teen in the 60s or 70s. Reading it for the first time as a grown woman living in 2020 didn't do it for me.
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