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Retromancer [Hardcover]

Robert Rankin
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
Price: 14.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

17 Dec 2009

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 Café in Brentford is serving Bratwurst rather than the proper big boys' British banger. Something is Not Right.

And when the world's all wrong and it needs setting right, who're you gonna call? Hugo Rune, that's who. A man who offers the world his genius, and asks only, in return, that the world cover his expenses.

And so, with the aid of his faithful acolyte and companion Rizla, the guru's guru, also known as the hokus bloke, the Lad Himself and the Retromancer*, sets out to rewrite history the way it should be.

Together they return to war-torn London, to solve the twelve cosmic conundra based on Hugo Rune's personal tarot deck, each one leading them closer to a final terrifying confrontation. They must match their wits against beautiful spies, advanced alien technology, killer robots and death rays, do battle with an ancient god, and come face to face once more with Hugo Rune's arch-enemy, the sinister Count Otto Black, all the while finding time to drink ale, talk the toot and dine out in some of London's swankiest eateries. Without ever paying the bill.


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; First Edition; 1st printing. edition (17 Dec 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575078723
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575078727
  • Product Dimensions: 3.3 x 16.3 x 25 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 511,211 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
Apocalypso
Snuff Fiction
Web Site Story
The Fandom of the Operator
The Da-da-de-da-da Code
Necrophenia

Product Description

Review

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!

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Fantasy 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A slight return to form 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
3.0 out of 5 stars Rizla and Rune and retromancing 17 April 2011
By Paul Tapner TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mmmmm 30 Oct 2010
By Bec
Format:Hardcover
Very funny. Bizare and i love all the dialogue. I've read some of his books before. But reading a one liner joke about if the nazi's ever thought they were the bad guys from having skulls on their uniforms made me think i've heard it before. And i had on a mitchell and webb sketch in out in 2006. That kind of dissapointed me :/ But great book otherwise :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Common Reader TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars .
love it. every book i have read of rankins is an absolute blast. no one else really comes close. A
Published 7 months ago by marc barrett
3.0 out of 5 stars Has He Lost The Plot?
The master of farfetched fiction appears to have increasingly lost the plot and not in a good way. Whilst once Robert Rankin was able to produce zany comedy science fiction that... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Sam Tyler
5.0 out of 5 stars Rankin gets betterer and betterer
As always Robert Rankin gives a jolly good read. Eccentric, very English humour, puns and allusions abound for people of a similar age to Rankin.
Published 12 months ago by Mr. Martin Summers
2.0 out of 5 stars Total retread of the brightonomicon with extra stolen jokes
A book totally in keeping with the new low standards rankin has set for himself.
Not content with stealing jokes whole sale from Mitchel and webb he also rips off himself and... Read more
Published 17 months ago by dregj
5.0 out of 5 stars Jam packed
I'm not usually a great fan of the Hugo Rune stories, but I felt that this was a return to Rankin's older style of fantasy story telling & it had something of everything. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Rachael
2.0 out of 5 stars May be my last ever RR book :-(
I'm a big fan of Robert Rankin but after The Brightonomicon and The Da-da-da-de-etc Code was struggling to justify spending more of my money on him. Read more
Published on 25 July 2012 by FuManStu
5.0 out of 5 stars retroreading-return to a golden age!
to be honest, if you're only now dicovering Rankin, this isn't the best starting point. although the twists and turns of his style and direction don't waver much, the brentford... Read more
Published on 9 July 2011 by wowsers
1.0 out of 5 stars Such a dissapointment
As a huge fan of Mr Rankin's books and humour I was very disappointed in this particular novel, it seems to me that he lost his way. Hopefully his next book will not disappoint me.
Published on 4 July 2011 by K. Comber
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun, far-fetched romp
This is the first Robert Rankin book that I've read, and to be fair he uses a lot of in-jokes that people new to his novels wouldn't get had they not read his previous works. Read more
Published on 26 April 2011 by bunglenutter
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
Was disappointed with this am usually a quick reader but really struggled with this one seemed to be very few laugh out louds. Read more
Published on 24 Feb 2011 by Lizzy T Bag
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