Audiobook Review: The Stainless Steel Rat for President by Harry Harrison

28 06 2011

The Stainless Steel Rat for President by Harry Harrison

Read by Phil Gigante

Brilliance Audio

Genre: Science Fiction

Quick Thoughts: A slower paced Stainless Steel Rat novel, yet still full of fun and humor. Another winner for the franchise.

Grade: B+

So, I have nearly reached the halfway point of the Stainless Steel Rat series. My latest listen, The Stainless Steel Rat for President, is the fifth of eleven total novels in the series. So far, the ride has been a blast. I have reviewed the audiobook versions of three of the first four, and they have all been glowing reviews. What I have grown to love about this series is it’s over the top nature, and the sense of comic timing shared between the author and the narrator. Most of the novels of the series are pretty short, around five to seven hours, and the fit nicely between two serious, humorless or dire novels. They are a perfect break up in my reading allowing for a quick entertaining ride full of laughs and hi-jinks. In fact, I just finished listening to the latest Thomas Covenant novel, which was even more depressing that the previous eight, and a blast of the Rat was just what I needed.

In The Stainless Steel Rat for President, Slippery Jim, with the help of his brilliant but deadly wife, and his twin sons, are off on another cosmic adventure. This time, they are attempting to overthrow an evil dictator by the most nefarious of means, a democratic election. I have to admit, this was probably my least favorite of the Stainless Steel Rat novels so far, which means I laughed out loud perhaps ten times during the novel, as opposed to my usual twenty. I think this was a slower tale, as compared to the supersonic paces of the previous novels, so the humor was still there, but it came at you in a slower pace. Slippery Jim spends more time out thinking his opponents, as opposed to out acting, and Angelina, while still a presence, didn’t have as big of a role.  Yet, for all that, it’s still a Stainless Steel Rat novel, and that’s an awesome thing. This series offers enjoyment in its purest form, without pretension and I for one am looking forward to that pure enjoyment in the next six novels as well.

Again, Phil Gigante was the narrator, and again he was the embodiment of our slippery friend. Gigante puts his all into the reading of this series, and it shows. In this edition of the series, he handles the various accents of the mostly Hispanic planet of Paridiso Aqui with ease, a standout being the pomposity he gives to Paradiso’s evil dictator. I should also add that he gives Angelina such a sultry sexy voice that I have a few awkward moments when I remember it’s actually a dude reading her lines. Yet, again the pure genius of Gigante’s reading is Slippery Jim’s inner monologue, which is where most of the true belly laughs come from. So, while a slower paced novel, The Stainless Steel Rat for President is still another winner in this excellent franchise.


Note: A Special thanks to the good people of Brilliance Audio for providing me with a Review Copy of this title.



One response

28 06 2011
Colleen Rose

Once again, a brilliant review! Phil is my favorite narrator, and as you mention, I listen to his books every other or so and especially Slippery Jim or Hap & Leonard for a lighter touch between my fav dark, creepy, novels such as Level 26. I have listened to all of SSR novels that are available and agree this one was a departure from most of the more action packed adventures. Two thumbs up for Harrison & Gigante, an awsome blend for very entertaining listening! It’s no surprise they and Slippery Jim won the Audies this year!!

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