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… 🙂
The book begins with an introduction by Slippery Jim, who is protrayed in the following illustration:
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…
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:
Unfortunately these scans have bleached out the blacks a little, so the images aren’t seen here at their best.
If you want to read the next blog post, go to 224. If you’d sooner visit McSwineys, go to 227.