The Stainless Steel Rat Joins the Circus, by Harry Harrison

the-stainless-steel-rat-joins-the-circus-by-harry-harrison coverGenre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Published: 1999
Reviewer Rating: three stars
Book Review by Aaron M. Renn

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Since the last two Rat books basically sucked, I was all prepared to kick myself for buying this one in hardcover. But lucky for me, Harrison seemed to be back in form on this installment, with a readable if not spectacular Rat tale.

The self-styled richest man in the universe hires Slippery Jim to investigate a series of bank robberies at institutions said rich man owns. The Rat discovers that the only thing in common between all of the robberies was that a circus was in town at the same time, always featuring Puissanto–the strongest man in the universe. So Jim signs on with the circus along side Puissanto as a magic act, and ends up on the corrupt planet of Fetorr. Absurd adventures ensue.

I don’t know about you, but I read the Rat for the humor, of which there is enough in this book to make it worth reading. However, I thought it contained a bit too much straight ahead action-adventure and was a bit too long for a Rat book. But this one is still light years ahead of Goes to Hell and Sings the Blues. Rat fans might be able to justify this in hardcover, but most folks will want to wait for the paperback.

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