James Bolivar diGriz goes by many aliases, including "Slippery Jim" and "The Stainless Steel Rat". He is a futuristic con man, thief and all-round rascal. He is charming and quick-witted, a master of disguise and martial arts, an accomplished bank robber, an expert on breaking and entering, and (perhaps most usefully) a skilled liar. A master of self-rationalization, the Rat frequently justifies his crimes by arguing that he is providing society with entertainment; and besides which, he only steals from institutions which have insurance coverage. He displays a strong morality, albeit in a much more restricted sense than is traditional. (For example, he will happily steal, but deplores killing.)
The character was introduced in Harrison's short story, The Stainless Steel Rat, which was first published in 1957 in Astounding magazine. The story introduces the Rat, who has just carried out a successful larceny operation, and subsequently details a complex bank robbery which the Rat pulls off with ease. However, he is outfoxed by the mysterious "Special Corps" — a crime-fighting organisation staffed with former criminals — and recruited by them in order to fight crime. Harrison used the story, with minor modifications, as the introduction to the series' first full-length novel, also called The Stainless Steel Rat. Like other characters created by Harrison, the Rat is a speaker of Esperanto and advocates atheism.
Early Life Edit
Early Life will cover all of diGriz's exploits before The Stainless Steel Rat
A Stainless Steel Rat Is Born Edit
Disliked by his parents and peers, young diGriz became an outcast. He was frequently bullied at school (for his egotistical display of his own intelligence), until he had a physical education teacher from a local university teach him unarmed combat. After this, he was revered by the younger children at the school.
Given a small allowance, diGriz began shoplifting. His first operation was the book trap, which used a spring-controlled bottom of a fake book to shoplift candy. He then used the stolen candy to humiliate one of the most hated pupils at his school - Bedford Smillingham.
After completing this, he improved his shoplifting device, the Get-Stuffed Stuffer Mark II, now using a vacuum pump to pump candy bars into his baggy plus-fours.
At age fifteen, he was kicked out of the house when his father found out that his son had more money than he did. All of this was made by selling the Get-Stuffeds at a marked-down price to the local children.
Around the time that he was shoplifting, diGriz began to consider being a criminal as a career, so he decided to study being a locksmith. Completing a three-year course in three months, diGriz was forced to wait for another two years and nine months until he could graduate. diGriz skipped classes, appearing only during important assesments, which he would immediately ace. Instead of going to classes, he began robbing vending machines and parking meters. He studied forgery, martial arts, electrics, and computers.
After completing the course, on his seventeenth birthday, he held up a teller and robbed the First Bank of Bit O' Heaven, and was then captured on purpose. Dragged before his former neighbor, Judge Nixon, diGriz is disrespectful and rude, destroying a reporter's computer and nearly breaking out of the courtroom. Judge Nixon tried to give diGriz a very lenient sentence, but after being insulted by the defendant, sentenced diGriz to hard labor in the city jail until a ship a arrived from the League and he would be sent away for criminal therapy. This was just what he wanted, wishing to meet other criminals and learn from them, after which he would escape with a lockpick hidden in the sole of his shoe.