Stainless Steel Art (23)


You Can Be the Stainless Steel Rat is an ‘interactive gamebook’ in the choose-your-own-adventure format, i.e. the reader reads a paragraph and is then presented with a choice, turning to the next numbered paragraph according to their choice.

The US edition had a nice cover by Bryn Barnard, which I posted a few weeks ago; there were no interior illustrations to that edition. The UK edition had a slightly less dramatic cover, but it did have the added bonus of interior illustrations be Dave McKean.

There were, I believe, Czech and Polish editions of the book – but I’ve never seen these editions – and I’m not aware that it has been published in any other languages. If you know of any other editions, leave a comment with the details.

When the book was first published, I reviewed it for a fanzine and said that I thought the cover looked more like the cover for a computer game than a Rat book – then a short while later Michael Carroll sent me a photocopy of an ad from a computer magazine for a game with a spookily similar cover — see if you can spot any similarities…  🙂

Art: Allan Craddock

Art: Allan Craddock

Art: Allan Craddock

Art: Allan Craddock

 The book begins with an introduction by Slippery Jim, who is protrayed in the following illustration:

Art: Dave McKean

Art: Dave McKean

The story also features a typical Harry Harrison military officer – so tough he has his stripes sewn straight onto his arm, as portrayed below, though here he looks a bit like one of the Village People I think…

Art: Dave McKean

Art: Dave McKean

Among the other images in the book is what I think is the first ever illustration of that rare – or medium-rare – beast, the porcuswine:

Art: Dave McKean

Art: Dave McKean

Unfortunately these scans have bleached out the blacks a little, so the images aren’t seen here at their best.

There’s a really nice site dedicated to Dave McKean’s artwork here. And you can see scans of the other images from the gamebook on the Dave McKean Collector site.

If you want to read the next blog post, go to 224. If you’d sooner visit McSwineys, go to 227.

2 Responses to “Stainless Steel Art (23)”

  1. HawaiianBrian Says:

    “If you want to read the next blog post, go to 224. If you’d sooner visit McSwineys, go to 227.”

    lol 😉

    • Paul Tomlinson Says:

      Were ‘choose your own adventure’ stories a 1980s thing? Do they still exist? Is there a whole generation which has missed out on this simple pleasure?

      Then there was the slightly more high-tech version – ‘text adventures’ on the computers, from the days before we had graphics, do they still exist?

      Ah, the good old days… 😉

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