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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Fantasy
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...
Published on 7 Aug 2010 by Sockymon

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rizla and Rune and retromancing
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...
Published on 17 April 2011 by Paul Tapner


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Fantasy, 7 Aug 2010
This review is from: Retromancer (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
By 
Mr. T. Philipson (Oxford, Oxon United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Retromancer (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 (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Retromancer (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. But there are precious few laugh out loud moments for a long time.

Around the halfway point it does rather start to get going though and things carry on in a blur of clever invention and plotting. So it will raise a few smiles. But it still doesn't raise many laughs.

For someone who has kept up with Robert Rankin's novels, it's just a bit over familiar. A slightly above average read, but not his best work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mmmmm, 30 Oct 2010
This review is from: Retromancer (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever and funny - a great read unlike anything else, 22 Feb 2010
By 
A Common Reader "Committed to reading" (Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Retromancer (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. This book is fun, and the experience of reading it is what matters, not the profundity or otherwise of the story. I've enjoyed reading it. Rankin has reminded me that reading should sometimes be a simple pleasure which doesn't have to tax the brain all that much.
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5.0 out of 5 stars ., 2 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Retromancer (Paperback)
love it. every book i have read of rankins is an absolute blast. no one else really comes close. A
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3.0 out of 5 stars Has He Lost The Plot?, 20 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Retromancer (Paperback)
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 made sense, his more recent novels appear to be more about things happening to people for no logical reason. `Retromancer' falls into this camp and tells the story of Hugo Rune and Rizla as they are sent back in time to World War 2 to prevent a nuclear bomb being dropped on New York. Their adventures will take them to the high seas, but also plenty of pubs.

Back in the days of `Snuff Fiction' and `Apocalypso', Rankin was able to produce a silly plot that also made sense, but in recent years this has eluded him. `Retromancer' has some great moments, but they feel like that - moments. The book is split into 12 cases, each of which the master of Dim Mac and his acolyte must solve. All these missions do is segment the book into almost separate sessions, there is little reason for one to be joined to the other. In fact, you could swap many of the chapters around between Rankin's later 00s books and make a story that is coherent as the one here.

The lack of direction is one thing, but it does not stop the book from being entertaining. Rankin is a very intelligent writer and his style takes a bit of getting used to, but when you do it is great fun. The same in jokes are present that please the fans and having not read one of his novels in a few years it was nice to see them back again. However, as much as fans will glean some pleasure from this book, new readers will run a mile. Has Rankin started to lose his golden touch? `Retromancer' and his previous couple of outings would suggest so, but he is still a decent read.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Total retread of the brightonomicon with extra stolen jokes, 6 April 2013
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This review is from: Retromancer (Paperback)
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 decides to copy his own book, Brightonomicon. I think he should be ashamed for writing such garbage, especially when he's capable of so much more.
No more rankin books for me, i fear.
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2.0 out of 5 stars May be my last ever RR book :-(, 25 July 2012
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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. When I discovered Retromancer was essentially a sequel to Brightonomicon I stayed away for ages but now finally gave in. I was thoroughly disappointed and it makes me think I need to spend my money elsewhere, as this book just seemed pieced together quickly to get something out of the door. It's a shame as he is a brilliant author and most of the other books are amazing but I just felt that Retromonacer was like that album a band makes due to contractual obligations, with no real passion and care about how it comes across. Maybe it's me, maybe it's RR, but either way I think I will have to start waiting the long time for my local library to get his future books in.
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5.0 out of 5 stars retroreading-return to a golden age!, 9 July 2011
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This review is from: Retromancer (Paperback)
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 trilogy is still the most accessable. if you'ree familiar with his form of escapism madness, this won't let you down. The far-fetched fiction story telling harks back to the golden age of fantasy not bogged down by current trends of realism and solid continuity bring to mind the Michael Palin 'Ripping Yarns', with an abandon for the rules of logic, common sense or fundemental rationality. The literary world is a far better place with the inclusion of Rankin and if you're not familiar with his back catalogue, be prepared to be taken to places that only the written word can take you and in considerable preposterous style!
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Retromancer
Retromancer by Robert Rankin (Paperback - 8 July 2010)
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