The Da-Da-De-Da-Da Code (GOLLANCZ S.F.) Paperback – 19 Jul 2007
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"Rankin's whimsically dense sing-song patter reads like Douglas Adams crossed with Aaron Sorkin by way of Mother Goose." "Entertainment Weekly" on "The Witches of Chiswick""
The biggest conspiracy theory book in the world, ever!See all Product description
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I think the title of this book put me off. However, the Da-da-de-da-da in the title doesn't refer to a stutterer trying to say "da Vinci", or anything so blatant. Instead it refers to a snatch of a rhythm. Think along the lines of Waltzing Matilda da da de da da and you will get what I mean.
To be honest, I could type anything here and it wouldn't really give the plot away. You could take a middle chapter out of this book and plonk it into the middle of A Dog Called Demolition, or Sprout Mask Replica (to name but a few) and I don't think you would notice the difference.
Quick summary: its in modern times, based in London, none of the Brentford mob are in it, nor Rune. Weird stuff happens. Elvis makes a brief appearance and Baz gets a mention, but nothing more (we want more Baz!)
But, yet again, in the last few pages of the book, it all gets wrapped up. At times I was quite frustrated reading this book. It was going round and round in circles and I was ready to move on with the story but it just wouldn't budge.
But, at the end, I have to say, good job done. I think I will read it again to fill in the holes, and get some of the subtler jokes I missed the first time round. It was a neat ending which left me feelng "Aw, I wanted that to go on." Can't say fairer than that.
Incidently, the hardback version comes with a CD and it is worth getting a copy for the CD alone. There is some very strange stuff on it (surprise surprise) but hearing Rankin singing the Apocalypse Blues is not to be missed. Thank God we have in Rankin an author who is as weird as his image portrays. I'm fed up with getting into an author only to hear them being interviewed or whatever and thinking "Blimey, what a dork." (Terry Pratchet fans will know what I am talking about, arf! arf!) Rankin's blues are not to be missed.
Like a cake that didn't rise properly, this has all the right ingredients, but somehow the whole conspires to be less than the sum of its parts. I think my biggest criticism is the problems with plot and continuity that Rankin self-referentially turns into jokes. Once or twice in a book, this is charming and makes you feel you're being let in on a secret joke. When it's done every chapter, it feels like lazy plotting, or a wish to avoid extensive redrafting.
Of course, no Rankin is write off and there is much here to celebrate and chortle at. But it's a pale substitute for one of the Rankin 'Golden Age' novels.
If you've never encountered his work before then this isn't probably the best place to start, as whilst you could get into it quite easily some recurring characters and themes do crop up. start instead with his novel the antipope, which is a good book to see whether or not his style is for you.
the book is about jonny hooker, a young man living in london who still has an imaginary friend despite being 27, as the friend refuses to go away. he gets a flyer saying he's won a competetion. investigating this further leads him into a tangled web of conspiraces, secret societies, celebrities, time travelling sprouts, and murder.
the usual rankin style, then.
whilst this does go over old ground to some extent, it's a return to form after two rather disappointing novels. funny, surreal, fourth wall breaking, and with lots of very interesting trivia, it's a fun read if you're a long term fan of his work up to his normal standard.
the book runs for 345 pages, and ends with a short note listing how to download music by robert rankin that acts as a soundtrack to it.
Who on earth thought that was a good idea? Not only is it a right faff to access them, but there is no way to relate them to the text as they are not numbered. If they can't be placed near the text to which they relate, then please just delete them as they are pointless.
(Un)fortunately I didn't get the CD with mine. Having followed the links at the end of the book to various sites to hear some individual tracks I can truly say I missed nothing.
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Since a much loved friend was the basis for this novel I thought it was fantastic before I even read it. I love Jon Hooker!!!
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