Assembled here are fourteen of Harrison's best, spanning time and space from the England of old to empires millennia from now. Among the stories included are "The Golden Years of the Stainless Steel Rat," in which the cops have finally caught up with an aging Slippery Jim DiGriz; "Roommates," the original basis for the movie Soylent Green; and twelve more galaxy-spanning classics!
From the bestselling West of Eden trilogy to Bill, The Galactic Hero and its sequels, from the Deathworld series to the Stainless Steel Rat books, Harry Harrison's career is a series of landmarks. Stainless Steel Visions is another: his first major collection of short fiction.
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.