Each of us has only this one brief experience with the bright light of consciousness in that endless dark night of eternity and must make the most of it.
The Stainless Steel Rat
The Count kicked the clanking contraption and pointed at a gage on it's side. "Look at that, down to eighty pounds pressure. Next thing you know, it'll fall on its face and set the place afire. Stoke, you idiot, stoke!" Belching a plume of black smoke, the robot turned toward the hearth and opened the firegrate. . . . "Not in here, outside, dammit!"
Jim DiGriz is, in large part, a continuation of earlier French and English eighteenth and nineteenth-century fictional and real-life characters who played both sides of the law. Examples include then famous colorful robber Eugene Francoise Vidocq (1775-1857), a model for Sherlock Holmes and Edgar Allan Poe's August Dupin. Reportedly, Vidocq built the actual French Surete using ex-criminals as early French detectives. . . .
According to Harrison bibliographer Paul Tomlinson, Harrison was also a reader of the John Buchan novels that shaped the films of Alfred Hitchcock and the Bond books. Harrison was also directly influenced by Leslie Charteris's Simon Templar books and short stories. . . .
While some reviewers have also seen comparisons between the Rat stories and the realm of 007, in Tomlinson's view, James Bond probably didn't have much to do with the "Stainless Steel Rat". . . .
Harrison: “Bond was nowhere near my mind when I wrote RAT. The direct opposite; Bond on the side of the law. The Rat a picaresque character, the villain as hero.”
-- Wesley Britton , Espionage Around the Galaxy: The Spy-Fi of Harry Harrison
I'd been a fan of Harry's since reading the first Stainless Steel Rat story in an ancient copy of Astounding Science Fiction I'd found as a boy. I'd loved his books and stories. I had them all.
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