stories features a dozen tales of the slippery intergalactic con artist, Slippery Jim DiGriz. By the author of the Deathworld and West of Eden trilogies.
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Harrison's short stories are what pulp science fiction should have been, but almost never was. These 12 tales, drawn from his 40-year career, have all the fast-moving plots, outrageous alien characters and general fun of the genre without the purple prose and pretentious pseudoscience. Some of the stories here are little more than page turners, well written and entertaining but slight. Others, like "The Streets of Ashkelon," "Roommates" (the basis for the movie Soylent Green ) and "Brave Newer World," explore serious issues in thoughtful and original ways. Harrison's concerns about overpopulation and the environment sound surprisingly timely now, considering how long ago some of these pieces were written. Refreshingly, with the exception of a few strident moments in "Brave Newer World," Harrison never becomes preachy or lets the message get in the way of a good yarn. Despite its title, the collection contains only one story about Slippery Jim DiGriz, the Stainless Steel Rat. Readers familiar with Harrison's previous DiGriz novels ( Deathworld , et al.) will find the plot twists rather predictable, but these tales are worth reading nonetheless.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Thirteen tales, including one that's previously unpublished, spanning the nearly 40-year career of this Dublin-resident American writer/editor/artist--though the theme or basis for selection (if any) isn't clear. The best of the bunch: in a humorous vein, an interstellar repairman must fix a galactic navigation beacon that alien natives have appropriated as their high temple; an injured water-breathing alien dies in a peasant village on the Adriatic coast, ironically within just a few miles of modern medical treatment and scientific expertise; and a well-dramatized, cogently argued yarn discusses the hidden dangers of eugenics. Also on the agenda: magazines that cruelly target the elderly, toys as a spur to research, military ideology, a spinoff from the Deathworld series, Stonehenge, printing, religion as a destructive force, alien contact, the story of the novel of the movie Soylent Green, and a new yarn featuring Harrison's most famous creation, the picaresque Stainless Steel Rat. Middling entertainment, with an agreeable host. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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