I first read his Stainless Steel Rat books in a small town in the bible belt, whre my stepfather was a minister. His were the first books I ever encountered that openly made the case for athiesm. It was so different form everything else I'd run into-of course I had head of it, but to come right out and openly advocate it in the books (and a bit after the story proper, IIRC) was definitely a bit of a first. Tonight, I'm heading out to a sushi joint with the other members of my Skeptic/Freethinkers' singles group, and I'll raise a toast to Slippery Jim. For me, he was step one on a long, long journey, and I am grateful.