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on 11 July 2001
First up, this isn't the book to start reading Rankin with. It's got so many references to earlier books, that wouldn't be doing it justice. This should have been his final novel; it draws together many of the earlier plotlines, and pretty much all the expected running gags, into a (slightly warped) whole. Yet at the same time, it manages to throw in enough short stories and new ideas to make the book stand on its own as one of his best. Yes, there are poems (unfortunately), but they're much better than in the Garden of Unearthly Delights. There's even a pretty good one about a devil-possessed matchbox. This and the Voodoo Handbag are the capstone of the sprout-powered great pyramid of Brentford. Or the chromium-plated mouthpiece of the megaphone of destiny. Of course.
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VINE VOICEon 9 January 2005
Robert Rankin's 15th novel shares the same stylistic feel as A Dog Called Demolition, with its central plot intersected by a number of (occasionally related) tall tales and bad poetry. If anything though it's even madder than that quite insane book, and is quite possibly the looniest bit of nonsense that Rankin has written thus far.
The story proper is presented as Rankin's fictional autobiography, with the author blessed (or cursed) with the ability to control Chaos Theory, so that by making small actions he can make great changes to the world. Running parallel to this is the even more bonkers story of a sporran infested by a race of sentient sprouts attempting to take over humanity. While this is a stand alone novel its general level of insanity coupled with a number of recurring characters (Pooley and Omally and most of the rest of the 'Brentford' regulars, Barry the Sprout from the Armageddon Trilogy, and Sir John Rimmer, Dr Harney and Danbury Collins the psychic youth from The Garden of Unearthly Delights to name a few) makes this less suitable for the Rankin novice, who may mistake this as a pile of gibberish.
For confirmed addicts though, this is gloriously deranged stuff. Some good concepts and tall stories coupled with some great comedy moments, it's Rankin at his most undisciplined and free flowing, but madness of this level is tantamount to genius.
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on 22 April 2003
These two words about sum up this great work by one of my personal favourite authors: amusingly scary. Full to the brim with parodies, humour and twisty storylines, Sprout Mask Replica is a brilliant book for Rankin veterans and new-comers alike.
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on 26 December 2000
This is the story of a teenager who finds that he has the power to change the price of beef in New Zealand by rotating his chair, because he is the magical, mythical, metaphorical butterfly of Chaos Theory. But what is this? Rankin's autobiography? He claims it's not, but who, having read any of his other books, is going to believe that?
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on 28 January 2013
Robert Rankin....need I say more? Well, yes, I probably do, although "need" might be over-egging the minister!
It is brilliant. Not so much a story, as a brief insight into the workings of a madman's brain. If you were to try crossing Spike Milligan and Douglas Adams, you'd be wasting your time, as both were male, and sadly no longer with us, but at least you would have some idea of the way Raygun puts ideas together. If you like your humour structured and sensible, try another of Robert Rankin's books. This is funny, but different. Different to just about any other book that I have read, yet it is so Rankin.
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on 1 March 2013
I'm terribly glad I read this book properly instead of yielding to my usual habit of skim-reading - it contains so many little one-liners that made me chuckle out loud. Reading 'Sprout Mask Replica' is akin to listening to your favourite (and in my case, imaginary) eccentric uncle tell you stories packed with naughty jokes and outrageous fibs, with an engaging twinkle in his eye.

Great fun, and full of sprouty goodness.
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on 4 April 2015
There are books that develop so gradually that it's hard to spot the developing story; then there are books that have forgotten there's supposed to be a story at all. This is one of the latter! It's always possible that by somewhere after the halfway mark some hint of a narrative thread might emerge, but I'm afraid I lost patience long before that point.
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on 3 December 2013
Another fine book by the Master of British Humour.

If one ever wants to sample British Humour at it's barking Mad Best, then This Author (Robert Rankin) is the one for you!

Yet another superb masterpiece of the Running gag, irreverence, and pure genius. Well done Robert Rankin,
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Captain Beefheart & Frank Zappa (wherever they are in the Cosmos now) would be enthralled by this book. I found it kept me laughing and also inspired me with it's insights into the obscure way which human species behave and which is parodied so well in this novel.
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on 20 January 2013
I am stil reading this book and I absolutely love it! Roberts childhood memories coincide a lot with mine so it was nostalgic as well as funny. Robert's humour is very pure and natural and his imagination matches the genre he invented of 'far fetched books'
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