I read a futuristic sci-fi book in the 1980's (maybe the 70's), about an overweight orphan who lived in slums, known as "the rat" (not the stainless steel rat), who was conscripted into space military service (in chapter 1). He was trained and became a powerful warrior and teamed up with others, and towards the end may have overthrown the governing beings.

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    – Edlothiad
    Mar 18, 2017 at 13:02

1 Answer 1


Except for the part about a space military, you could be describing Sugarat of A. A. Attanasio's Nebula award nominated novel Radix, published in 1981.

In chapter one, you see Sugarat in action, a vigilante seeking vengeance in the night by killing the gang members terrorizing the city. When captured, Sugarat turns out to be Sumner Kagan, an overweight adolescent living with his mother. He is forced into the military, the Massebôth, who, among other responsibilities, are tasked with keeping earth free of voors and distorts.

Sumner eventually escapes from the army, meets voors and distorts and others, eventually finding himself a weapon aimed at the heart of the future earth's power structure.

This is the first novel of the Radix tetrology; Radix, In Other Worlds, Arc of the Dream, and finally The Last Legends of Earth.

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  • Holey mackerel! Exactly!! I've been trying to recall this book for years. Well done, Thank you!!!
    – Dave
    Mar 18, 2017 at 13:53
  • 1
    The series is loosely connected. Books 2 & 3 are skippable, Radix and The Last Legends of Earth are among the best sf I've read. Mar 18, 2017 at 13:58
  • @Dave, since you are new to the site, if this answer is correct, please mark it as such by clicking on the gray check mark to the left of the answer. Mar 18, 2017 at 14:18
  • I agree about Radix, my favorite (in my memory) after Asimov's Robots, Empire and Foundation. I will read the other two (just for completeness) in anticipation of LLoE. Any suggestions on how to obtain?
    – Dave
    Mar 18, 2017 at 14:23
  • 1
    @Dave - Try this. Mar 18, 2017 at 14:41

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