Audiobook Review: The Stainless Steel Rat’s Revenge by Harry Harrison

29 03 2011

The Stainless Steel Rat’s Revenge by Harry Harrison

Read by Phil Gigante

Brilliance Audio

Genre: Science Fiction

Quick Thoughts: The Stainless Steel Rat’s Revenge is science fiction action comedy at its finest made even better by the excellent performance of the narrator.

Grade: A

As a reviewer one of the things I hate most to do is review a “classic.” I mean, there are reason these books are classics. People who are much more important that a simple reader/listener who just happens to own a computer and is savvy enough to start a free blog where he can write his opinions on audiobooks, have deemed said book to be worthy of acclaim. So, who am I to disagree? Yet, conversely, on rare occurrences, those self declared experts on distinguished letters may be so blunted that what they deem as a brilliant classic, may just be, if I can use my customary eloquence, an over hyped turd. So maybe us simple minded blogger types serve as an everyman’s counterpoint to those elitists declaring what is and what isn’t a classic. Well, all of this reasoning and counter reasoning is truly moot, because The Stainless Steel Rat series is that rare combination of deserved classic, yet brilliantly accessible yarn pleasing even to us who enjoy Homer Simpson potty humor and pulpy fiction.

The Stainless Steel Rat’s Revenge is the second book in the series about “Slippery Jim” James Bolivar D’Griz, aka The Stainless Steel Rat. Slippery Jim is a futuristic conman, thief, master of disguise and all around anti-social fellow, who occasionally, when not busy robbing banks or other institutions, works for the Special Corps fighting evil and what have you. D’Griz can be called an anti-hero, I guess, because his crimes really do serve the public good by providing entertainment for the masses, as well as training for the police forces he must contend with. And that is the beauty of Slippery Jim, he is as talented in self justification as he is at breaking and entering. As the main POV character, his actions are filtered through his delusions of grandeur and public service. The jokes and witticisms come a mile a minute, and rarely do they miss. The Stainless Steel Rat’s Revenge moves as fast, and is as unapologetically over the top as an episode of 24, yet, one with a well times sense of humor. Despite the fact that this novel was written in 1970, it does not feel dated in the least bit. The Stainless Steel Rat’s Revenge is science fiction action comedy at its finest and a much needed break from the overly serious offerings that sometimes clutter genre fiction.

The Stainless Steel Rat series is perfect in audio form. Phil Gigante blows me away with his reading of the novels. He reads Slippery Jim with just the right amount of pretentious glee. He seems to take pleasure in the vast amounts of strange names, accents and personalities that he must bring to life. You can tell when a narrator is enjoying himself and there is no doubt Gigante is having himself a hell of a good time. If I have any complaints it’s that the jokes come so fast and furious, often times I found myself rewinding the audiobook to pick them up. The first novel in the series was justly nominated for an Audie, and there is no let down in book 2. The Stainless Steel Rat’s revenge is fast, furious fun, and a delight for the listener.

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