I read Harry Harrison heavily in my younger years. The Deathworld Trilogy, Make Room! Make Room!, and the Stainless Steel Rat books. Slippery Jim Di Griz’s adventures were a particular favorite. I’d never read STAR SMASHERS OF THE GALAXY RANGERS though, or even knew about it. This edition popped up on my Amazon recommendations one day and I saved it until I felt the time was right.
Glad that I did.
Jerry House in a comment on the Monday Mailbox post that included it said it was wickedly funny. He wasn’t kidding.
This one takes every science fictional trope, and I mean all of them, and twists them together into a hilarious romp through the universe. The two male characters, Jerry and Chuck, are experts in everything, yet only college students. Their IQs are off the board. They are handsome and great athletes. The girl in the group, beautiful Sally, was the usually dim bulb portrayed in the old SF, in constant need of rescuing and forever making stupid blunders that got the pals in trouble. A mysterious character, Old John, who was more than he seemed.
It all started as a practical joke when cheddar cheese is placed in the middle of one of the boy’s experiments and suddenly a new type of matter, dubbed Cheddite, enabled them to invent a new drive. They place it in the Pleasantville Eagle, the school’s plane, a 747(the boys are also fitted with a jet pilot license), for testing. Intending to only jump a short distance, a fraction of a volt finds them going instantly much further.
Like approaching Saturn and it’s moon, Titan!
From that point, they encounter aliens, make friends, and enemies(the Lortonoi), jumping further in pursuit of the stolen projector(they were able to make a second from the leavings of a cheddar cheese sandwich eaten by Sally, then forced to regurgitate. In combination with Sally’s stomach acid, it’s more powerful than the original.
There’s an ultimate weapon involved, the most powerful I’ve ever heard of, a slave planet Chuck gets sent to and in need of rescue, the forming of the Galaxy Rangers(modeled after the Texas Rangers), filled with a host of different beings. Their aim is to wipe out the loathsome Lortonoi.
Very funny book, it kept me chuckling every time Harrison dragged another hoary old concept in.
Yet he completely floored me in the epilogue. Twice.
If you haven’t read this one, and I’m probably way late to the party here, you should.