Title: The Stainless Steel Rat Gets Drafted
Author: Harry Harrison
Series: Stainless Steel Rat, #7 (Publication Order)
I hardly remembered this one. But yes!
This time, I actually felt like I got some of the charm of The Stainless Steel Rat, rather than being left with a book that only somewhat approximated the character. Maybe the problem is that these are prequels, and he's just not "himself" yet. Regardless, this time I actually enjoyed the book.
Perhaps one thing that makes this book different is that it directly follows the plot from A Stainless Steel Rat is Born. Jim is still busy wanting to get revenge for The Bishop's death, and that means tracking down Captain Garth and finishing the job.
This one definitely feels "skiffier" to me; things feel more ridiculous, but not simply to be ridiculous. As one might guess, in his search for revenge, the Stainless Steel Rat ends up getting drafted into an awful military. But the military bits are so over the top. You can only drink so much out of your water bottle because after the proscribed amount of time, it turns into a condom. That you're told you'll never get to use.
But then we get to the meatier part of the agenda and we find out a planet that's being invaded practices "Individual Mutualism" and has no army of any kind. Which of course, DiGriz can't just let get smashed by the nasty water-bottle-condom-supplying military. It's so black and white it's almost ridiculous. No, it's so black and white it is ridiculous.
Still, though, it's a fun right. Maybe if I were someone super pro-military or super pro-capitalism, I might be a little more frustrated with this book. But I'm not.
He also makes me want to learn Esperanto. Because I don't have enough hobbies.