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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent humour. Brilliant characters.
Robert Rankin - brilliant as always. Follow the two drunken heros Pooley and Omally as they fight evil in the town of Brentford where the most important thing for everybody is to make easy money and cheat even your best friend into buying you beer.
The characters are the best part of the whole Brentford series. They all have strong personalities, and you get to...
Published on 28 Jun. 2000 by Simon Joensen

versus
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story ruined by poor spelling and typesetting
The story is reasonably entertaining if a little slow to get going.

Unfortunately the kindle edition of this book was really let down by the significant number of spelling mistakes - many of which look like OCR issues rather than outright bad spelling. For example (this is just a few):
- "torn" instead of "tom" (2008)
- "earless road" -- no idea...
Published on 10 Jun. 2012 by Andrew Savory


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent humour. Brilliant characters., 28 Jun. 2000
By 
Simon Joensen "Soulbender" (Copenhagen, Denmark) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Robert Rankin - brilliant as always. Follow the two drunken heros Pooley and Omally as they fight evil in the town of Brentford where the most important thing for everybody is to make easy money and cheat even your best friend into buying you beer.
The characters are the best part of the whole Brentford series. They all have strong personalities, and you get to know them well which makes it even funnier to read about their reactions in certain situations.
Also, Rankin changes between the subtle, the explicit, the beautiful and the outright vulgar. You never know what he throws at you next.
This one is a definite must read for everybody who appreciates humour and recognizes the subtle differences in the choice of words.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BIG AUDIO ANTIPOPE, 10 Feb. 2008
By 
Dr. Richard W. Gray "richy1965" (Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Antipope (Audio CD)
I hadn't realised just how good a writer Robert Rankin was until I heard this wonderful dramatisation back in 2003. The Audio Antipope is an eight-CD set, running to a little under ten hours, bravely complete and unabridged. Full cast list included after the review here...

I had previously read and loved some of the later Brentford novels, of course, but nothing in fact from the seminal pair of volumes that started it all. I specifically link 'The Antipope' and 'The Brentford Triangle' in this way, of course, for two startlingly good reasons. First, about one-third of the 'Antipope' ms had to be culled before Pan would publish it, and much of this material found its way into the sequel. Second, this abundence of preparation, combined with Robert taking the opportunity to write around-the-clock (as opposed to several months part-time) meant that the sequel was practically finished in about three weeks. And I now know what he means when he says that, once they are let loose, Messrs. Pooley and Omally and their contemporaries usually 'write themselves'. There is little sense here of pain in the composition, only (quite rightly) pain in the experiences of the characters themselves, as they are carried along only semi-voluntarily in a flood of unnatural events that at first glance belong in Brentford like a herd of rhino belong in the English National Ballet. Stranger things have surely never happened.

Pooley and Omally are a delightful pair of cowardly, malingering dipsomaniacs loosely based on the author himself and an old schoolfriend of his. I pass no judgement on the matter. The characters around them all have something of the night, even if the night in question is just a typical one at Brentford's Flying Swan public house once the blinds and bolts are down, for they are all of the author's real-life acquaintance, athough Norman's shop is in truth not so Norman's as it was twenty-odd years ago, and I use the term 'real-life' purely for the sake of brevity. Precis? The lads team up with the aged and kindly local enigma that is Professor Slocombe to fight the ancient evil that befalls their Borough. They drink, are intrigued, drink, make enquiries, drink, get into trouble, drink, get distracted, drink, fight, run away, drink some more and fight some more and finally meet the end of the novel where they pop off for a quick drink in readiness for the next one.

As Director and Co-Producer, not to mention uncredited cast member, extra and (most importantly) Editor, the remarkable Phil Viner has achieved here something that makes your typical audio book sound like canal mud drying. The casting is strong and performances thoroughly professional, right down to some wonderful little cameos by friends old and new. Greenhalgh, Crowe and Gooderson are believable as Pooley, Omally and Slocombe, while Murchie and Campbell make a suitably deranged Neville and Archroy when required, and special credit has to go to Harry Myers for bringing the title character to life without stifling his theatricality.

Under Viner's direction, the author himself has been thoroughly whipped into shape as a starring narrator. Robert's son William's music is a revelation, matching the moods of many scenes and building atmosphere beyond the reach of most radio productions. And Robert's then-partner Sally performs perfectly alongside Robinson, as brewery salesgirls Sandra and Mandy, among others (if you haven't heard of Lucy Robinson yet, buy a bloody television). This is marvellous late-night listening, that would be Radio 4's 'Book at Bedtime' for an entire month if the BBC management weren't still a load of talentless inbreds.

-------
DETAIL:

Starring
Andy Greenhalgh as Jim Pooley
Ben Crowe as John Omally
Robert Rankin as The Narrator
With
Nick Murchie as Neville
Colin Campbell as Archroy
David Gooderson as Professor Slocombe
Harry Myers as [Pope Alexander VI]
Sally Hurst as Sandra
Lucy Robinson (Pride & Prejudice, Emma, lots of telly) as Mandy

Directed by award-winner Phil Viner.
Produced by Jools Viner and Phil Viner.

"All other parts are played by members of the cast", although Norman was clearly one of those played by the Producer-Director himself.
Original music composed and performed by William Rankin.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Persistently amusing., 23 Oct. 1998
By A Customer
This is one of my favorite books. It's the first of the Brentford series. I find the whole series to be comfortable, likable and highly amusing. It helps to have a taste for the surreal. I found the characters to be very likable. They have the care free attitudes of the characters from Steinbeck's Tortilla Flat or Cannery Row, but they are intelligent and educated. They are not the type one would expect to be called upon to save the world. Essentially Brentford is the world. Should any character temporarily wander out of Brentford, Brentford would still be the reference point. The pub is the core essence of this world. Nothing is really serious unless it effects the pub. To this little world comes every silly notion that ever landed on the front page of the most bizarre tabloids. The Antipope is the place to start. It's one of the best, and will introduce you to the Brentford perspective. I found after reading a few pages, I wanted to take a break and wait for the smile on my face to ease up a little before I dared to proceed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story ruined by poor spelling and typesetting, 10 Jun. 2012
By 
Andrew Savory (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Antipope (The Brentford Trilogy Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
The story is reasonably entertaining if a little slow to get going.

Unfortunately the kindle edition of this book was really let down by the significant number of spelling mistakes - many of which look like OCR issues rather than outright bad spelling. For example (this is just a few):
- "torn" instead of "tom" (2008)
- "earless road" -- no idea! (2086)
- ".he" instead of "the" (2182)
- "ro" insteaf of "to" (2460)
- "him'?" instead of "him?" (2474)
- "n\an" instead of "man" (2847)
- "I\have" instead of "I have" (2848)
- "VFs" instead of "VIs" (3677)

There's also a number of places where
newlines
inexplicably occur midway through a sentence.

The table of contents is also broken - many of the chapter headings take you to the table of contents itself.

If you want to enjoy the story and not be distracted by poor presentation, then avoid this Kindle edition at all costs.

UPDATE 2012-07-02: The author has issued a new version of this book, and so I have amended my review from 1 to 3 stars. It would have been preferable not to encounter these errors, but I'm delighted to see the author proactively dealing with the problem and I shall now read the rest of the trilogy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars uncountable, 9 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: The Antipope (The Brentford Trilogy Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Of all the illustrious Rankin's works, none has jostled its way into my heart more than the brentford trillogy. Sprouts of Wrath was the first one I read (the fourth in the trillogy!) and from meeting Poole and O'Mally therein, I was hooked, had to go back to the first and follow the likely lads through all their adventures. Unlike his contemporaries, Rankin doesn't fall back onto tired characters to move the plot from a difficult situation with no likely escape (ie: having CMOT Dibbler turn up with a set of keys to open the cell), but uses a genius which lies in his nth dimensional mind to twist plots and reader through 720 degrees of inspired and incredible routes. Nothing is ever what it seems, and as is well known by those who know it well, because it is a tradition old charter or somesuch, what things seem is open to interpretation: and Rankin's interpretations of this world we live/ have lived / will live in are a merry-go-round of fun.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Making Normal Weird, 3 Jan. 2005
The first book in the -arguably - five book series.
We follow the lives of a range of Brentonians over a period of time that their way of life is under threat from a power crazed lunatic. Between them they have a range of bizarre adventures, mostly just outside the law and all completely hilarious, in their quest to destroy this threat.
Throughout this book I got the sense that every character (save from the reincarnation of an evil power craved pope and his weird squat henchmen) was a normal person, with normal character traits. But the way in which Rankin manifests those traits in the story and the magic they create makes the characters much more than normal - eccentric, weird and lovable!
I think you have to concentrate at times to keep up with which character is who and what the hell they have been doing, but thats part of the fun! Ive started the second one!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reprobates of the world UNITE!, 4 Feb. 2008
By 
A.K.Farrar "AKF" (Timisoara, Romania) - See all my reviews
You have nothing to loose but your shillings!

Came across this looking for an alternative to El Prat - and not disappointed.

A bit of a mix between fantasy and horror - twinges of King in there: And the sort of tramp you'd expect to find in waiting for Godot.

Not a belly laugh but certainly amusing - especially when you get to my age and start identifying with some of the more reprobate characters! Omally and his friend, Pooley, lead the sort of drunken existence that is the dream of many respectable males but which is impossible to sustain without serious damage to ones health and family.

Be warned though: Pre-decimalisation money (and I loved it).
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Antipope it's an audio experience!, 1 Feb. 2009
By 
I. N. Bateman "Dedicated Reader" (Warwickshire, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Antipope (Audio CD)
I've only recently started sampling the works of Robert Rankin, so I only had a vague idea of what to expect. What I got was one of the most surreal and engaging audio experiences ever! The Antipope is a story that defies explanation, but I'll try. John O'Malley and Jim Pooley are unemployed, beer-drinking best friends, living in Brentford an avoiding steady jobs, or the urge to save the world. But when darkness arrives in the form of the title character, they and an eclectic (possibly insane) collection of other Brentford locals are all that stands between the world and certain doom!

Featuring much drinking of beer, the fighting styles of Count Dante, an interesting Cowboy themed evening at the local pub and killer birds.

This audio CD is part audiobook, as it's narrated by the man himself, Robert Rankin. And part audio play, as each character is performed by different people, thus giving this cd collection a unique and compelling nature that will hold your attention right till the end, I guarantee it. So if your never tried Rankin before, or want to see what it's like to hear his story instead of reading it. Give this a try, it won't disappoint.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A curious blend of a book that will appeal to many, but didn't quite work for me, 12 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: The Antipope (The Brentford Trilogy Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I can understand why people like this book, but it was not my cup of tea. Nevertheless, the very good parts in it were enough to keep me engaged to the end. It was the "Brentford" bit that drew me in the first place, having been born and bred up the road in Ealing and remaining a Brentford FC supporter, so the territory remains familiar. The key characters are amusing enough and well written, so there are plenty of chuckles as their antics emerge in considerable detail, but I never found myself laughing out loud. It was the fantasy stuff that was hard work for me, and that's more about my taste than a criticism of the author, because I know a lot of people like it, but the supernatural just leaves me cold. So, if a crazy romp with some odd-ball characters doing battle with the supernatural sounds like your thing, you'll undoubtedly enjoy it. But be warned, it's a curious blend, so be sure it's to your taste, it wasn't really to mine.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beer, adventure and more beer!, 7 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: The Antipope (The Brentford Trilogy Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
The untimely death of Douglas Adams means that there is, in my opinion, a shortage of top quality humorous science fiction/fantasy novels. Robert Rankin is one of them, though.

Like a lot of Rankin's books, The Antipope centres around Brentford and the exploits of Jim Pooley and John Omally as they fight the forces of evil in a way that involves much humour and numerous pints of beer. I genuinely laughed out loud during parts of this book.

The characters and the way they interact are what make these books. It's an area in which Rankin excels and even his "lesser" books are worth a read for that alone. This is one of his best though.

Highly recommended!
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