Title: The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World
Author: Harry Harrison
Series: The Stainless Steel Rat, #3 (Publication Order)
After frustration with other time travel books (think Blackout/All Clear) I'm reminded that time travel stories can be fun. Granted, The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World is pointing out how ridiculous time travel stories can be half the time... so maybe it's not the best example.
Time travel is being used as a weapon, and the Special Corps are being wiped out. It's up to Slippery Jim to save the day (and of course, save Angelina). However, he quickly finds out that time travel is complicated and after he goes back to one spot (on the fabled Earth, of course) he has to go to another spot because that spot was a trap and they knew because time travel.
Things go on like this for a bit, but eventually our intrepid hero ain't getting out of this one. Of course, it helps that he has a wife as skilled at crime as she is beautiful. Angelina shows up to save her husband (with their twin six-year-olds). Naturally, it takes some work, but they eventually get it done.
The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World had never been one of my favorite Stainless Steel Rat books, and looking back, I think I can sort of see why. Right now, it's a refresher after reading too many time travel stories, but when I read it as a kid, I either wasn't fed up with them (likely) or wasn't reading as many of them (also likely).
I certainly had a good enough handle of scifi at that point to understand a lot of the parody, but I don't think most of it hit home. Especially for this book.
I still think this is definitely one of the weaker books in the series, but still absolutely worth every moment. (It's short, so that probably helps.)
So, like I've stated before, pretty much all of these books are out of print. You can get compilation versions: The Adventures of the Stainless Steel Rat and A Stainless Steel Rat Trio, which are the first three books and the first prequel books respectively. However. There are four books that are not covered in these two compilations, not counting The Stainless Steel Rat Returns, which isn't out of print yet, I don't think, or the CYOA book.
So do check your libraries and used book stores. They do pop up, and they've lovely.