The Stainless Steel Rat

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The Stainless Steel Rat refers to a fictional character and the series of novels involving the character. They were written by science fiction author Harry Harrison.

The Stainless Steel Rat, James Bolivar (or "Slippery Jim") DiGriz, is a futuristic con man, thief and all-round rascal. He is a master of disguise, an excellent bank robber, a brilliant breaker and enterer, and (perhaps most usefully) a skilled liar. It goes without saying that he is endlessly charming. A master of self-rationalization, the Rat frequently states his belief that he is doing society a favor by committing crimes.

There have been ten books in the Stainless Steel Rat series.


Book synopses

The Stainless Steel Rat (1961
At the beginning of the first novel, the Stainless Steel Rat is out-conned into working for the government. In the Space Corps, the elite law-enforcement and spy agency, he joins the ranks of an organization that is entirely constituted of ex-criminals like himself. In the novel, he has several adventures and meets his love interest, Angelina, who is even more sociopathic than he is.
The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge (1970
The Stainless Steel Rat gets married, saves the universe from a marauding military civilization, and becomes father of twins.
The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World (1972
The Stainless Steel Rat travels to Earth, 1984, and then to Napoleonic France, to stop a madman from destroying the timeline.
The Stainless Steel Rat Wants You! (1978
After freeing his family from various forms of incarceration, the Stainless Steel Rat saves the all-human galaxy from invading aliens.
The Stainless Steel Rat for President (1982
The Stainless Steel Rat and Angelina enjoy a belated honeymoon on a planet run by a dictator who rigs elections to get into office, so they set the Rat up as a candidate instead.
A Stainless Steel Rat Is Born (1985
A novel chronicling the beginning of the Stainless Steel Rat's career. He intentionally gets caught trying to rob a bank so that he will go to jail where he can learn from the masters of crime, only to realize (too late) that the true masters would never get caught.
The Stainless Steel Rat Gets Drafted (1987
The Stainless Steel Rat, early in his career, hunts the man who killed his mentor, but in the process must save a defenseless planet from an imminent attack.
The Stainless Steel Rat Sings the Blues (1994
The Stainless Steel Rat (in the same earlier timeline as Is Born and Gets Drafted) goes to a prison colony planet to retrieve an alien artifact, which he must find in thirty days or the slow-acting poison he was administered will take its effect.
The Stainless Steel Rat Goes to Hell (1996
In the later timeline (to which the stories have henceforth returned), the Stainless Steel Rat searches for his wife, who has apparently been abducted by a con man who preys on religious believers, swindling them out of their money and then enslaving them in coal mines.
The Stainless Steel Rat Joins the Circus (1999
The Stainless Steel Rat is hired by a businessman to investigate thefts; the clues lead the Rat to suspect a roaming circus, which he infiltrates.

Chronological order

The book series is written only in a semichronological order; it breaks the continuity during part of the series to focus on the Rat's early career, then returns to "modern-day". Here, then, is a list of the books in the order they take place, rather than the order they were written.

  1. A Stainless Steel Rat Is Born
  2. The Stainless Steel Rat Gets Drafted
  3. The Stainless Steel Rat Sings the Blues
  4. The Stainless Steel Rat
  5. The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge
  6. The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World
  7. The Stainless Steel Rat Wants You
  8. The Stainless Steel Rat for President
  9. The Stainless Steel Rat Goes to Hell
  10. The Stainless Steel Rat Joins the Circus

Interactive book

Harrison also produced a parody of the Choose Your Own Adventure books, You Can Be The Stainless Steel Rat (ISBN 0441949789):

The reader's decisions will determine whether he or she can find Prof. Geisteskrank on the planet Skraldespand and bring him back before he activates a lethal new weapon.

Despite the above description, the player cannot fail, regardless of his choices (even though it is possible to get caught in a loop at one point, this can be escaped).

External links

Other uses

The Stainless Steel Rat is also the arch villain on the Internet-based Lord Mike Saga.


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