Sunday, November 28, 2010

Necrophenia - Robert Rankin

2008; 393 pages. New Author? : No. Genre : Fiction; Humor. Overall Raitng : 8½*/10.
Tyler and his high school chums want to be rock-&-roll stars. But they are penniless and are thus reduced to using school-owned ukuleles. The enigmatic Mr. Ishmael will supply them with proper instruments, but that comes at a price - a contract, signed in blood. Could Mr. Ishmael possibly have an ulterior motive? Ya think?
What's To Like...
The storyline gallops along nicely. There are 75 chapters, which averages out to about 5 pages per chapter, and each one ends with a twist or a teaser.
Style-wise, this reminds me of a cross between DiscWorld and HHGTTG. It is both witty and surreal. The fate of the world hangs in the balance and zombies walk the streets. A slew of luminaries make cameo appearances - Mama Cass, Aleister Crowley, the ultimate ukuleleist George Formby, and super-sleuth Lazlo Woodbine, just to name a few. The Rolling Stones and Elvis are also present, and in much more than cameos. There is "talking the toot", dialoguing with the Zeitgeist, and learning the real details about Elvis's death.
Kewl New Words...
Fundament : the buttocks; the posterior (which makes a 'fundamentalist' a...). Pouffe : a thick cushion used as a seat. Debouched : something (usually water) flowing out from a narrow opening. Knees-Up : a party; a celebration (British). Remit (noun) : an area of authority or responsibility. Plimsoll : (British) a rubber-soled cloth shoe (similar to a sneaker).
"Taylor," he said to me as he ushered me into the visitors' chair, which stood, with three inches cut from its legs, before his desk.
"Tyler," I corrected him.
"Tyler," said the headmaster. "Yes, that's as good of an occupation as any for a lad such as yourself."
"My name is Tyler, sir," said I.
"Then how apt," said he. "And good luck with it, too." (pgs. 48-49)
The snow dropped like dandruff from the Holy Head of God.
In my business, which is one of private detection, you see these cosmic similes all the time. You have to keep in touch with your spiritual side, never forgetting that every next step could be your last and a watched boil never pops. (pg. 192)
"Just wait until I tell the guys at the tennis club."
"Tennis club?" I said. "You?"
"I'll have you know that I do own a tennis club," said Fangio.
"Own a tennis club?"
"Certainly. It's a thing about yay-long." Fangio mimed the yayness. "Made of wood, with criss-crossed strings at the fat end."
"That's a tennis racquet," I said.
"Not the way I use it," said Fangio. (pg. 237)
You can't squeeze salt from a billiard ball, no matter how long you soak it. (pg. 196)
This is a typical Robert Rankin novel - fun to read, an event-filled, twisty storyline, and a bunch of likeable characters to hang out with. But Rankin's real forte has always been his witty writing.
Necrophenia is both thought-provoking and tongue-in-cheek. If you like Douglas Adams, Tom Robbins, and Terry Pratchett, you will probably enjoy Robert Rankin as well. 8½ Stars.

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