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The Fandom of the Operator [Kindle Edition]

Robert Rankin
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Book Description

It was originally known as Project Orpheus. A genuine top secret World War Two operation to communicate with the dead. It proved to be highly successful and helped the Allies win the war. But in the 1950s something went terribly wrong. That’s when the aliens from another world took over the communication system and another war entirely began.
For Gary Charlton Cheese, it all began when he was ten years old. At that time his hobbies included, sneaking into the restricted section of the local library, reading the Lazlo Woodbine novels of P. P. Penrose and attempting to raise the dead. Gary was not the kind of boy who was ever going to make his mother proud.
Gary now has a job at the local telephone exchange. Bulbsman. It isn’t much of a job, it only involves him sitting in a tiny booth all day, waiting for a bulb to light up, so he can switch it off again. But it is a job for life and it does have a pension. There’s some pretty strange stuff going on upstairs at the exchange, though. Something to do with this old project that the powers that be have got on the go again. A project now called FLATLINE. Something to do with making telephone calls to the dead.
It is all going to end very badly indeed, especially for Gary Charlton Cheese.
This is undoubtedly one of Robert Rankin’s darker novels and while it features gruesome murder, black magic, unfaithful zombie lovers, feuding aliens and double-dealing tricksters, its rollercoaster plot lacks not for “gallows humour”. Mr Rankin, however, wishes to make it absolutely clear that the views expressed by the fictional narrator, notorious psychotic necromancer Gary Charlton Cheese, are not his own. Mr Rankin has never raised the dead, nor murdered people on the grounds that they were ugly. Nor has he ever worked for the GPO as a bulbsman, although he did come close, back in the nineteen-seventies.
Eat your heart out, Philip K Dick.
Robert Rankin is uniquely off-the-wall, unparalleled in his eccentricity: there's no other comic fantasy author like him. Thank heavens for that. -- David Langford

Product Description

Amazon Review

Another deranged performance from Robert Rankin: The Fandom of the Operator mixes surreal silliness, ghastly old jokes and a vein of apocalyptic bleakness, as in his previous novel Web Site Story.

Young hero or anti-hero Gary Cheese grows up in a warped 1950s Brentford with two main interests: death, and the Lazlo Woodbine private-eye novels (see Waiting for Godalming) by PP Penrose. When this revered author dies, it's only logical that Gary and his bestest friend Dave should plan to crash the wake and reanimate him with voodoo. Black comedy follows, with highly uncomic results.

Years later, Gary at 22 has a dead-end telecomms job of stupefying tedium. He waits for a light to come on, and turns it off. That's all. This work is implausibly connected to the FLATLINE project--phone contact with the afterlife. The dead can reveal bizarre and terrible secrets, but meanwhile there's a lot Gary hasn't been telling us about his own history. Just how many people has he killed? Or was it actually him?

The mixture includes a barman who senses customers' True Names ("If it isn't the Honourable Valdec Firesword, Archduke of Alpha Centuri"),unlikely celebrity parties, car chases, copious and disgusting zombie sex, alien mind control, yet another secret base under Mornington Crescent tubestation, an ever-growing body count, and so many onion-layers of conspiracy and secret masters as to produce an effect of cosmic, transcendent pointlessness. Eat your heart out, Philip K Dick.

Robert Rankin is uniquely off-the-wall, unparalleled in his eccentricity: there's no other comic fantasy author like him. Thank heavens for that. --David Langford


'The Fandom of The Operator - a divine whodunit with more twists than a sixties dance floor' Maxim.' 'One of the rare guys who can always make me laugh.' Terry Pratchett. 'To call Rankin irreverent doesn't begin to describe just how good he is at playing with the rules' Mirror. 'Rankin does for England what Spike Milligan does for Ireland. There can be no higher praise." Mail on Sunday. 'Everybody should at least read one Rankin in their life' Daily Express. 'He becomes funnier the more you read him' Independent.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 673 KB
  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0385602561
  • Publisher: Far Fetched Books (21 Jun. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #149,810 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dead Good! 28 Sept. 2006
By Jane Aland VINE VOICE
Robert Rankin's 23rd (gulp!) novel contains all of his usual insane inventiveness, here in the form of re-animated zombies, chat-lines that let you speak to the dead, alien mind-possession and the secret behind how people get those really cushy jobs. Unlike some of Rankin's more unhinged offerings however the weirdness is limited to the content rather than the form, with the author settling down to tell the whole story in 1st person narrative in a very linear fashion, which gives this much more of a cohesive novelistic feel than some of his more fractured works. The humour may be a touch blacker than usual as Rankin also offers up some deliciously dark twists along the way, but there are still plenty of great laughs to be had, though Rankin avoids his usual reliance on running gags for once. While long-time fans will spot numerous Rankin references - particularly concerning fictional detective Lazlo Woodbine - this novel works very well as a self-contained story, and while the sensible thing for any new reader to do would be to start at the beginning with `'The Antipope' and read the lot in order, anyone who just wants a quick sample of a later Rankin novel without feeling hopelessly lost would find this a great stand-alone read. Good humour, mad ideas, plenty of twists and a satisfying ending = a class novel.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Darker humour than your average Rankin 8 Feb. 2002
By A Customer
This is certainly a new direction for Rankin. The characters and comedy are much blacker than usual. The plot is as clever as ever, though more surreal than his normal (surreal) efforts.
On the down-side, the characters suffer from their normal lack of substance and depth. Also, the characters have few, if any, redeeming features, though to be fair they get what they deserve by the of the book.
Overall, a very enjoyable read, if you are prepared to accept something slightly different from the master of far-fetched fiction...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Weird yet Clever 13 Sept. 2002
By Janice
This is the first book of Rankin of I have read. At first reading it, seeing it was in first person, I wasnt sure if I would enjoy it much, but much to my surprise, by the end of the day I was half way through. It is a great read. You aren't exactly sure what to expect next, and once your quite near the end, the "murders" start to unravel, and ties up the loose ends from earlier.
The dark humour in it gives it a good twist, and the contents of the plot is ranging from silly, to dark to humourous.
All in all, I would say there is something in there for everyone. A detective book, thriller/murder, sci-fi/fantasy or comedy.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His best book since The Poor Mouth 8 Nov. 2001
Rankin is back on top form. This is the least self-referential, most dry, most sinister, most coherent and above all funniest novel since the departure from the beloved trilogies.
This is by far the closest thing to Flann O'Brien that Rankin has ever done. I don't know if he's broken his own rule about not reading fiction, but it seems he has fone right back to the source here. It maintains the tighrope walk betweem nighmarish surrealism, plot integrity and light comedy using the same devices that the venerable irishman used. Thing is; he's doing it better now.
What else to say? It's his best book for years, its got a new style, it's got Laz, its got sprouts, its in brentford. Buy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars bulbtastic! 14 Feb. 2007
This is my favourite Rankin book.

The idea of a guy getting a job where he presses a button whenever a bulb lights up and not knowing why had me in stitches!

As the other reviewers have said, this is dark in both subject matter and humour. But it is a great novel and we get to see a character from childhood to adulthood which is nice.

This book manages to bring together many plotlines and tie them all up together in a neat corpse-shaped package.

Rankin is on top form with this one!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great! 7 Feb. 2010
This was the book that got me back into reading Rankin. Until I was 15 or so, I read every Rankin book I could get my hands on. Then I sort of drifted away and spent years thinking that Rankin could hold no surprises for me. Then i picked up 'Fandom of the Operator' and realised how wrong I was. Rankin is endlessly inventive, and this book shows it. It is deeper and darker than the Rankin books I remember reading when I was younger. He still writes in a surreal way, but now his style has a new edge. For the first time, I would use the word 'intellectual' to refer to a Rankin book - this is a very clever satire about the facelessness of corporations and the futility of many jobs. The book entertained me and made me think. I just started reading 'Retromancer' and, again, I'm pleasantly surprised. Rankin was always a good writer but, sometime in the past 10 or 15 years, he has turned into a great writer. I have a new-found respect for this writer because he clearly wasn't happy to simply stick to a tried-and-tested formula. He has explored new ideas and new ways of writing and his books are better for it. Now, excuse me, I must get back to 'Retromancer'...
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1.0 out of 5 stars Not for me ! 17 Nov. 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've read several of Robert Rankin's books now. I've found them moderately readable, but only moderately, never a great read, and to me Mr Rankin is not as clever or funny as he thinks he is, certainly nowhere near the talents of Terry Prachett, Tom Holt or Jasper Fforde.

I've read many, many thousands of books over nearly seven decades and, apart from a number of philosophy books (how come these supposedly clear thinkers write so totally incomprehensibly ?) and a very, very few fiction books, I've never had to give up on reading a book to the end. The Fandom of The Operator has now joined that very short list. I got as far as page 68, struggling over several reading sessions before finally throwing in the towel.
Mr Rankin seems to have tried writing this book in a different style, and it's a really bad style - calling it turgid would be a kindness (an undeserved kindness at that). I won't be buying any more of this author's books, life is too short !
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Always been a fan of Robert Rankin's work, now able to replace my paperbacks with e-books
Published 4 months ago by Alan
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Vaguely amusing but a bit overworked.
Published 9 months ago by ChaCha
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant as toot talking point
Another very innovative story from Mr Rankin, had me thinking the whole way through
Published 9 months ago by Miss H E Peckham
4.0 out of 5 stars He's just making it up as he goes along...
By the author of The Sprouts of Wrath. Gary Cheese and his bestest friend Dave and his undead wife Sandra find themselves in an adventure featuring aliens, zombies, necromancy,... Read more
Published 10 months ago by jacw2000
3.0 out of 5 stars Meh
Not one of Rankin's best, in my opinion. Nevertheless, funny, odd, and at times moving, it belongs in any RR fan's library.
Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
If you are a fan of Robert Rankin then you will definitely enjoy this book. Clever and funny as always
Published 11 months ago by Mrmagoo2020
4.0 out of 5 stars Silly
I want to read others that he has written. With that many twists and such a strange ending, it defines thinking outside of the box!
Published 13 months ago by C McKee
4.0 out of 5 stars Fandom
Another crazy story from Robert Rankin. A story containing mind control, a secret ministry, the undead and a couple of unlikely heroes or are they. Well worth the read.
Published 13 months ago by ron
3.0 out of 5 stars Read Better
The write up made it more interesting than it was for me. Was pleased when it ended. However others may enjoyed.
Published 14 months ago by Ladyfazer
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding and Hilarious
This is my first venture into Robert Rankin's warped world and I am left in awe at his storytelling ability. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
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