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Retromancer Hardcover – 17 Dec 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; First Edition edition (17 Dec 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575078723
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575078727
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 586,387 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Rankin describes himself as a teller of tall tales. The Morning Star describes him as 'The Master of Silliness', and his publisher describes him as The Master of Far Fetched Fiction. He is the author of more than thirty novels, of which he has sold millions of copies, and he is published - and making people laugh - around the world.

Despite his remarkable publishing success, Robert has never taken himself too seriously. He loves going on tour, signing books for readers, and his appearances at signings and conventions are legendary, often including a stand-up routine, a song (accompanied by his 'air-ukulele'), and an always-entertaining question-and-answer session. Robert Rankin is a great entertainer, whether in person or through his novels, with wit, humour and an incredible personal warmth.

But that's not all! In addition to being a talented writer, comedian and musician, he's also an incredible artist . . . so incredible, that he creates his own stunning book covers.

Reading his books can and will inspire you, scare you, thrill you and, above all, entertain you. His novels are an outlet for the soul, and food for the imagination.

The Brentford Trilogy:

The Antipope
The Brentford Triangle
East of Ealing
The Sprouts of Wrath
The Brentford Chainstore Massacre
Sex and Drugs and Sausage Rolls
Knees Up Mother Earth
The Brightonomicon

The Armageddon Trilogy:

Armageddon: The Musical
They Came and Ate Us
The Suburban Book of the Dead

Cornelius Murphy Novels:

The Book of Ultimate Truths
Raiders of the Lost Car Park
The Most Amazing Man Who Ever Lived

The Trilogy That Dare Not Speak Its Name:

Sprout Mask Replica
The Dance of the Voodoo Handbag
Waiting for Godalming

The Witches Trilogy:

The Witches of Chiswick
Knees Up Mother Earth
The Brightonomicon

Eddie Bear Novels:

The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse
The Toyminator

Standalone Novels:

The Greatest Show Off Earth
The Garden of Unearthly Delights
A Dog Called Demolition
Nostradamus Ate My Hamster
Snuff Fiction
Web Site Story
The Fandom of the Operator
The Da-da-de-da-da Code

Product Description


Once again, you're in for a Robert Rankin rollercoaster ride. (TOTAL SCI FI)

Retromancer does at least tell a ripping yarn. (SFX)

"It's easy to see why Rankin has a huge cult following. Drawing on a rich vein of English humour that encompasses Python, Adams and Stanshall, his comedy-fantasies are filled with pop culture references, music hall wordplay and ironic quips galore." (Jonathan Wright BBC FOCUS)

Simultaneously funny, silly, clever, linguistically deft and sometimes very childish. A fine slab of silliness. (BOOK GEEKS)

When an author is enjoying himself this much you can't help but go along for the ride and what a ride it is! I couldn't stop laughing the whole way through. (GRAEME'S FANTASY BOOK REVIEW)

"Spies, robots and death rays make an appearance, with a lashing of vibrant humour. If you have a vivid imagination, you'll love this." (SCARLET)

"If you like this sort of silliness, you'll like this because, well, this is that sort of silliness. There really is no point asking Rankin to grow up. It's way too late." (WHARF)

"Rankin's traditionally in-your-face humour is fully in evidence in Retromancer, gearing it up to 11 and rarely, if ever, letting go of the reader's attention. We loved it and we suspect that you might too." (SCI FI NOW)

Book Description

When the world's all wrong and it needs setting right, who're you gonna call? Hugo Rune, of course: a man who offers the world his genius, and asks only, in return, that the world cover his expenses!

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sockymon on 7 Aug 2010
Format: Paperback
It's a long time since I've done a lot of recreational reading and I'd made a mid-year's resolution to get back into the habit. When I last read a Discworld book there were only four of them... but after reading the back of the jacket, I guessed that this would be something along similar lines. I fancied a book that was lighthearted and humorous and Retromancer certainly hit the spot for me. I liked the many time travel and continuity related gags, plus the characters were larger than life and likable too. I'd probably have prefered a more well-rounded villain, but you can't have everything (Can you...?) Silly, but not stupid - this book is full of laugh out loud moments and would certainly encourage me to pick up something else by Mr. Rankin.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Common Reader TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 22 Feb 2010
Format: Hardcover
I don't usually read fantasy humour (Terry Pratchett etc), but this is rather good.

Let me set the scene by quoting from the cover description:

"There is big and evil magic abroad upon the face of the Earth. History has been changed. The Germans have won WWII. America is a nuclear wasteland. And worst of all, the breakfast menu at The Wife's Legs Cafe in Brentford is serving Bratwurst rather than the proper big boys' British banger".

But don't be put off by the essential silliness of the subject matter. Rankin gives the impression of enjoying himself immensely with his constant word-plays and digressions. The book is full of ironic quips, cultural references and verbal trickery which stop you in your tracks to read them again.

The book is set in the London Borough of Brentford, not the most glamorous of London's suburbs, and yet it is a place somehow transformed for the reader by frequent glimpses of another Brentford where titanic forces battle for the fate of the world. Brentford has become a sort of portal, as in the old Celtic belief, that there are places in the world where you can slip through into the another land which runs parallel to ours and is the origin of so many events which happen to us on this side of eternity.

Rankin's hero Hugo and his assistant Rizla find themselves in a 1944 Brentford, a war-weary place where a grey urban landscape where years of food-rationing and shortages. Into this drabness, Rune and Rizla have a dozen of so encounters with foes real and not so real in an attempt to undo the events which led to a 21st century German republic of Britain.

It would be pointless to describe how they do this and what the outcome is.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. T. Philipson on 14 Sep 2010
Format: Hardcover
After the disappointment of his last two offerings, namely "Necrophenia" and "The Da-Da-De-Da-Da Code", this was something of a return to form. The reappearance of Hugo Rune and his acolyte Rizla was welcome (although the ambiguity surrounding his status as either hero or villain is left unresolved yet again here - check out "The Most Amazing Man Who Ever Lived" for a malevolent Hugo), and the ensemble cast of characters was similarly comforting. The writing was also less jarring than in the previous books mentioned above, which mean that the book was more of a page turner. However, within these strengths lie weaknesses. The familiarity was a tad too familiar at times, and the plot, as others have indicated, was not too far divorced from that of "The Brightonomicon". The danger (if that is the right word) of using this `12 case' plot device is that the book is somewhat formulaic throughout, with little sense of a strong narrative imperative running throughout the text. If ever there was a case of the sum parts not quite matching up to the whole then this was it, which is a shame as Rankin can do the `case' plotline very well, as in "The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies". Despite these `issues', this was still an enjoyable romp, and although not one of his best, certainly indicates that Rankin may have pulled himself out of the rut he has been in of late.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paul Tapner TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 17 April 2011
Format: Hardcover
Just in case you don't know what Robert Rankin's work is like: he writes what is described as 'far fetched fiction'. He's also been likened to Spike Milligan, so that should give you a better idea what to expect. Stories usually set in Brentford with bizarre things happening, narratives that address the reader and break the fourth wall and have humorous and interesting footnotes. And running gags. And characters referencing them.

Perhaps an acquired taste, but very funny at his best.

Retromancer runs for just over three hundred and forty pages and is divded into over sixty relatively short chapters. It also contains illustrations from the writer.

It returns to Rizla, a Brentford resident, plus man of mystery and many talents Hugo Rune. Both featured in earlier novel The Brightonomicon (Brentford Trilogy) but this has enough exposition so that those who haven't read that can quite easily get up to speed.

Here, Rizla has returned home and has to get a job. But he suddenly finds that Nazis have taken over. Because they won World War Two. Finding himself reunited with Rune and back in the nineteen forties, the two must solve twelve cases in order to correct the damage that has been done to history.

Thus this uses the same format that the Brightonomicon did, in having twelve relatively self contained sections that all add to a great whole. Sort of.

The book does have one great joke on page one, and some reasonable set up in order to get the plot going. But the Brightonomicon was good rather than great so it's a bit disappointing to find this is pretty much more of the same. However the third case is pretty good.
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