Stainless Steel Rat Joins The CircusWritten by Harry Harrison
The Stainless Steel Rat, Slipper Jim DiGriz, has put aside his former profession of armed robbery. He now has a much more suitable pastime for his old age: insider trading on the stock market! The family has likewise gone legit. One son has become a computer salesman, the other a bank manager!
Slippery Jim himself is no longer the galaxy's top criminal. Someone else is robbing a series of banks across the galaxy - and Jim is hired to track down the culprit.
Jim finds himself on a planet which appears to encompass Harrison's view of the Industrial Revolution; the proles are exploited by a tiny number of super-rich industrialists. Oddly enough, there is no real work for the working class; all the work is done by robots! The author harps on about the oppressed workers, but the only working-class character is Igor - a slow-witted thug.
In typical Socialist fashion, the good guys include a tax-inspector and a trade-union organiser. Although Harrison has tried to make the story seem a product of the Internet era, all he has done is show himself to be a product of a by-gone era!
The plot takes a sharp twist half way through, when Jim discovers who the villain is but is now faced with an even bigger challenge. Jim cannot even deduce where the hostage is being held, although the answer is plainly obvious.
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