Wednesday 19 October 2011

Robert Rankin, Apocalypso

Robert Rankin Apocalypso

I came across Robert Rankin when I was about 13 years old. That means 'a long time ago'. More than a decade ago, to be precise. I wish I could tell you which book I read then, what was the story like, and many other joyous pieces of information that come handy when you're standing in front of a bookshop/library shelf deciding what to choose. Unfortunately, I can't remember a thing.

Mind you, that was more than a decade ago. I can say many glorious things about my 13-year-old self but 'the best literary critic in the world' wouldn't be one of them.

For reasons that have nothing to do with this review, I've spent a lot of time in front of the sci-fi shelf during my last library hunt. Lo and behold, there was Robert Rankin's ApocalypsoSome long-forgotten warm note chimed in my book-filled brain and soon enough there I was, installed snugly in my bed and reading away.

Robert Rankin surely is a comic writer - pretty much every single sentence has 'funny' written all over it. But the type of funny that comes as a bit of a shock, especially if you happen to read him right after anything by Terry Pratchett (like me). After the initial shock wore off, I actually started to enjoy it quite well, although I will probably never again call Rankin's prose 'the most hilarious thing ever written'. We live and learn.

There are bum jokes. There's lots and lots and lots of bum jokes, followed closely by wanking jokes and... Well, that really says it all. THAT'S the type of humour you're getting. Even if it starts with something innocent, a newspaper perhaps or a rubber duck, you can rest assured that there will be a willy somewhere by the end of the page. Apparently, British public loves that kind of jokes (can I hereby ask the British public not to burn me at the stake if the rumour proves to be false?), and although Rankin lacks the absolute genius of Monty Pythons, he's ok once you get used to him. I believe that by the end of the book my laughter outburst actually grew quite loud.

Bum jokes aside, what else you're getting with Robert Rankin's Apocalypso? Predictable, although quite pleasant, plot, following all the rules of light science fiction. Interesting, if not popular, theories about governments (which I believe are mostly true, especially those concerning drugs - read the book if you want to know more), served in light and funny sauce. Numerous alliterations, and I KNOW there are people out there who love this type of word play.

Overall you get pleasant, funny, to-be-quickly-devoured example of comic science fiction and for that alone the book deserves recommendation.

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