Audiobook Reviews: The Stainless Steel Rat (Saves the World) (Wants You!) by Harry Harrison

7 04 2011

The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World (Book 3) by Harry Harrison

The Stainless Steel Rat Wants You! (Book 4) by Harry Harrison

Read by Phil Gigante

Brilliance Audio

Genre: Science Fiction

Quick Thoughts: Perfectly narrated, hilarious Science Fiction satires which should gain the series new fans, and invigor the old.

Grades: A-, for both.

So, it would probably be pointless for me to rant and rave again about how much I enjoy Harry Harrison’s Stainless Steel Rat series. I gave it enough praise in my review of The Stainless Steel Rat’s Revenge, as well as justly deserved praise for the excellent narration by Phil Gigante. One thing I do love about the series, is most of the books are around 5ish hours, and are nice audiobooks to keep queued up on your MP3 player of choice for when you find yourself finished a book earlier than you thought. That way you already have a quality book ready to start, but not one that requires a huge time commitment. That’s the situation I found myself in for both The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World (Book 3) and The Stainless Steel Rat Wants You! (Book 4). So, instead of making my normal lengthy reviews, which would contain overly repetitive fan boy praise, I decided to make one post reviewing both novels.

In The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World, Slippery Jim D’Griz must do battle with that most annoying of Scifi tropes, Time Travel. Not only must our Rust Proof hero take on “He” the enemy who started the Time War, but he must deal with ‘80 Punk Bikers, Napoleon,  The French, Paradoxes, Alternative Time Lines, bumbling scientists, Martians, local constabularies, and the affections of his lethal wife Angelina. All in a days work, I suppose. As with the first two novels, the pace moves at a manic speed, jumping from time line to time line, from one dire situation to the next. As always, Slippery Jim is smarmy and cocksure, and offers us rapid, sure fire jokes. Whenever he seems to be on the verge of destruction, of course, he is saved by Professor’s Copyu’s time manipulations and Angelina’s ruthlessness. This tongue and cheek play on Time Travel novels is another hit in the series.

In The Stainless Steel Rat Wants You! Slippery Jim again needs to save the world. This time his battle is against a coalition of the slimy, if you will, a mass grouping of all the slimy, multi-limbed, repulsive alien life forms who have decided to join together to wipe out the humans whom they find aesthetically unpleasant. Working undercover as a slimy alien himself, Slippery Jim offers some of the more laugh out loud moments of the series, especially when it’s discovered that the alien suit Jim is utilizing, seems to be the ultimate in sexy to the repulsive aliens. Of course, the book also undergoes some radical shifts in plot, as this series is well know for, sending Jim from a cold, ruthless planet, to alternate realities. The winning part of this novel is that Jim finds himself battling not just the alien hordes, but multiple bureaucracies that try to hamper him along his way to eventual victory.

As always, the shifts, and rocket pace of these novels are handles brilliantly by Phil Gigante. These audiobook versions are true gems for scifi fans.  Long time fans of Slippery Jim can experience his adventures again in a whole new format that will enhance their memories of this great series of books.

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