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4.3 out of 5 stars34
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 1 June 2012
The book of ultimate truths remains one of Rankin's greatest works and is a must read for any lover of far fetched fiction.
As the start of the Cornelius Murphy trilogy it's also a great place for new readers to Rankin to dip their toes in the water. Trust me, you'll laugh like the drain of legend.
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on 18 December 2004
Cornelius (tall boy with big hair) and Tuppe (tiny boy with an active shadow) are waiting to be swept up into an epic adventure. They've just finished school and Cornelius is carefully avoiding employment, sure that some grand, heroic quest is in store for him and he must be alert and hold himself in readiness for when it begins. Then one day Cornelius receives an offer of employment that he recognises as the one he's been waiting for and only by his own inner magic or deep intuition can he find his way to the job interview. He's given a mission that involves a journey across the country via strange roads where he and Tuppe encounter weird and grotesque people and situations. They meet a dangerous and outlandish adversary who has extraordinary powers but fortunately the boys have some peculiar powers of their own. There's another world out there, hidden behind the everyday world of our experience. Cornelius and Tuppe are determined to find it.
Robert Rankin is bursting with ideas and this story is a trip. I recommend it to those who enjoy comedy fantasy/sci-fi books.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 13 September 2012
My first Robert Rankin read - but definitely not my last, I can't believe I haven't read anything by him before now! This is the story of Cornelius, a very tall 17 year old with wild hair and his best friend Tuppe, who is so small he can shop for clothes in Mothercare and has a moving shadow. It is set in the real world - but only just - it seems to be a real world bordering on a parallel universe - things are just ever so slightly out of true in it, with garden tools that talk back to you, and a strange cross breed of a squirrel and a fish for example. The story is the tale of an epic trip made by the two to recover the lost papers of legendary author/guru Hugo Rune, in order that his book The Ultimate Book of Truths can be republished in its entirety.

It is cracking stuff with some very bizarre moments - a car radio that will only play Max Bygraves and a karaoke machine from the future, to name but two! I was giggling my head off at some of the cultural "in jokes" that are in there. In fact I knew I was going to be in for a good read as soon as I read about Hugo Runes having a cousin called Victor!

The story just flows off the page and into your brain and before you know it half the night is gone! A good light hearted tale of epic adventure with a bit of comedy, fantasy, total bizarreness and magic thrown in for good measure. Extremely good reading - if you like Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, then this would definitely be right up your street.
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on 29 August 2012
This is well-paced, often hilarious, epic action fantasy comic meta fiction. Robert Rankin is both unique and generic in equal measures: many authors write books that are similar to RR's, but few authors write books of the same flavour. I first read this one a decade or so ago, and recently repurchased and reread it on my Kindle on holiday, and was pleased to see age hadn't spoiled it at all. I could ramble on, but the essence is this: if you're here because you like comic fiction with an action twist, a little bit of fantasy and magic (in a strictly magical realism sense), lots of jokes (bad and good) and the occasional nudge and wink from the author, you really ought to read this book (and the rest!).
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on 1 June 2012
The book that opened my mind to the "real" truths out there in the big bad world. It changed my life! Well ok maybe just my humour. I found a copy in my parents attic 20 years ago, in Wales. I now live 15 mins from Brentford.... and have a thing for sprouts.

The book is just a stepping stone to the world of Mr Rankin's imagination and humour. I don't even believe its his best book, but it is certainly the starting point.

To discuss the plot, story and characters (there's a tall one and a short one) would be irrelevant. This book is more a state of mind! My favourite way to describe Rankin books would be thus; Its like Eddie Izzard, but in a book. Who is in Brentford. Drinking a pint of large. On LCD.

Anyway, if you want to know what REALLY happens inside toasters, amongst other life's mysteries, then buy this book and keep it close at all times! Its more than just a novel. its a reference book, a guide, an old charter or something.

Change your life. Buy this book. 7 out of 5 stars.
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on 4 June 2012
I'll need to catch up on some of Mr Rankins later books to see how his writing has developed.

This is certainly an entertaining read -- its just a bit too whimsical for my total love and it feels as though every idea in his head got committed to paper with this book.

Its not to the huge detriment of the book although your mind does come to a bit of a juddering halt when for example, for no discernible reason, one of the protagonists garden tools and house-hold nic nacs starts talking to him.

But its a yarn that speeds along at a fair old pace and there are many moments when I burst out laughing at a piece of whimsy that tickled me.

Well worth looking further into.
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on 6 January 2010
A typically strange and bizarre offering from Rankin, as usual based in the real world but incorporating seriously outlandish ideas and happenings. This book gives you a decent amount of background on Hugo Rune, a character that Rankin readers will be fairly familiar with, although i was slightly shocked at the lack of martial arts - it was otherwise just as expected. It was also very nice to get a very very short and probably wholly gratuitous cameo from another old favourite character down the pub.

Definitely worth a read.
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on 6 August 2001
Well, I never, really... I read this book (for some reason that I can't fathom I keep buying his books) in one night. My wife kept looking at be funny (she was wearing her clowns outfit!) as I kept giggling away. Yes... Tuppe, Cornelious and Jim... Very, very funny. Not as contrived as his other books, the humour seems effortless and runs consistnatly throughouot the book to the surprise ending. Not Pratchett, but better than Holt.
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on 24 January 2013
You will either love this book, or you will grit your teeth, pull out any hair you have left, and put this book down after the first five minutes, hate it, and never pick it up again. And that second course of action would be a pity, because there is much here to entertain and help to while away a measured hour. True, there are things left hanging in the air - the curious creature encountered early on, for example, is not encountered again (unless I've missed something), but you have to take this narrative fiction on its own terms. Puns abound, the plot is nicely circular (i.e. it ends up where it started, but with a little bit of progression), and there is something to smirk at on almost every page. The finale is almost dutifully explosive and destructive, but the last page has our two 'heroes' laughing again, so that can't be bad, can it?
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on 23 February 2013
What is the worst thing that could happen if you read this book? You'll laugh so hard you end up with a hernia, can't work, lose your job, your family disown you, you become addicted to pain killers and become a prescription med junkie. Worth it.
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