Retromancer – Robert Rankin

I haven’t read much Robert Rankin in years, but I found this in a Cancer Research shop and thought I’d give it a go. It’s as good as some of his not-quite best.

If that sounds like damning it with faint praise, it shouldn’t, because I was and am a big fan of some of his early stuff – the Armageddon books, the Brentford Trilogy (in five books) and whatever he called the ones with Cornelius and his little mate. Except the one where they went off to different planets. I never got that, and after that I felt like he’d lost his way a bit.

This one, though. This one stars Hugo Rune as the titular Retromancer, saving the world from the Nazis by going back in time to Blitz-era Brentford and eating lots of free meals. He also foils the baddie via a string of slightly outlandish adventures, including something to do with a giant Zeppelin over New York. We also discover that at least one incarnation of Rizla, his young helpmeet, is none other than teenaged Jim Pooley. Which actually doesn’t make any sense, or seemingly matter at all.

And, in fact, all the details are irrelevant. There’s a lot of fun, a big dollop of meta-humour, a running gag or two and what else can you ask for? On the basis of this one, I will be looking up more of Mr Rankin’s books in proper bookshops.

See also:

Changing History by Stephen Fry – another slightly comedic take on thwarting Adolf.

The Antipope – where the Brentford Trilogy originally begins. In Brentford.



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