Friday, October 30, 2015

Nostalgia Review:: A Stainless Steel Rat is Born, by Harry Harrison

Title: A Stainless Steel Rat is Born
Author: Harry Harrison
Series: Stainless Steel Rat, #6 (Publication Order)
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Still good?

The Stainless Steel Rat
The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge
The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World
The Stainless Steel Rat Wants You!
The Stainless Steel Rat for President

I have fond memories of realizing I could learn the origins of the Stainless Steel Rat. I have even fonder memories of meeting his mentor, The Bishop. And that's where my fond memories stop. Probably because the rest of the book is just repetitive. Up until now, I felt like Slippery Jim hadn't overstayed, but in this one... it was a bit tough.

The backstory really is fun, though.  You get to see how the Stainless Steel Rat came to be, how he managed to learn his trade as a career criminal in the future. However, at the same time, it felt like it was cobbled together for this book, rather than having been built into Jim in the first place. Which makes sense. Authors don't always need to figure out the childhood of their characters before they write a book. But maybe that's part of why I didn't like this book as much. It felt almost forced.

Or maybe it's just that it wasn't as engaging as the first book. I can't quite tell you what it was about this prequel that didn't do it for me. It might have been the length or the repetition or the very slightly different style. Maybe this is why people are suggesting now to read them in chronological order... maybe these books just don't seem as off if they're read first, rather than after the originals.

But I think I'd still suggest reading in publication order. The beginning books are quite fun, even if they have their problems, and this... was fun in parts, but not in totality.

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