Monday, December 12, 2011

Knees Up Mother Earth - Robert Rankin

2004; 439 pages.  Book #7 of the Brentford Trilogy (yeah, I know); Book #2 of the Witches of Chiswick trilogy.  New Author? : No.  Genre : Humor; Fiction.  Rating : 9*/10.

    Armageddon approaches!  The Dark Lord not only walks the earth; he owns a huge corporation headquartered in Brentford.  He's recruited Cthulhu and other demons, who are now ensconced in his penthouse.  All that remains is to free the Beast, who curiously enough, is imprisoned beneath the Brentford soccer field, aka Griffin Park.

    Of course, the Brentford soccer team has prior claim to the field.  But they're the Bad New Bears of English football.  How hard could it be to buy them out, disband the team, and begin the excavations?

What's To Like...
    You'd think that saving the world from the Ultimate Evil would be the main theme here, but frankly Knees up Mother Earth is primarily about the friendship between bestest buddies Jim Pooley and John Omally.  They get drafted to be the coach and manager, respectively, of the bumbling Brentford ball club.  Their assignment : to take this bunch of perennial losers and guide them to winning the FA Cup, which is the equivalent of winning the World Series in baseball.

    Of course, this being a Robert Rankin book, you also get lots of running gags, wacky humor, pints-in-a-pub scenes, and witty dialogue.  The cast of characters that Rankin dreams up are a fun bunch to hang out with, and there's even a weee bit of Time-Travel.  Oh yes, and something incredibly kewl called a Hartnel Grumpiness Hyper-Drive.  I definitely want one of those.

Kewlest New Word...
Prial : a corruption of "pair royal", and which strangely enough, means 'three persons'.

    "As you know, I am compiling a book, The Complete and Absolute History of Brentford.  You would be surprised by the many interesting facts that I have turned up regarding the borough."
    "No we wouldn't," said Jim, taking out his pack of cigarettes.  "There can be few places on Earth more interesting than Brentford."
    "You've never travelled widely, have you Jim?" asked the professor.
    "Jim gets a nosebleed if he goes on the top deck of a bus," said John.  (pg. 56)

    That creature is unthinkable," said Jim.  "And impossible, too.  This is Brentford, Professor, the real world.  This kind of stuff does not belong in the real world.  The real world is buses and babies and bedtime.  It isn't this.
    "Bedtime?" said John.
    "I couldn't think of anything else beginnign with 'b'."
    "Breasts," said John.  "Boobs, bosoms, b-"
    "Shut up, John.  This is serious."
    "I know, my friend, I know."  (pg. 218)

"He who dines with the Devil must do so with a very long fork."  (pg. 223)
    Griffin Park is real.  The Brentford soccer team is real.  Their ineptitude is real; they are a Fourth Tier team, which we'd call a "D" League.  To boot, Robert Rankin based this story on a real-world experience - he was actively involved in working to save Grififn Park from being bought up by developers and turned into a subdivision.

    Because of this, Knees Up Mother Earth has more of a plot than a number of other Rankin works.  Granted, Rankin stories don't absolutely need a storyline to be entertaining, but it's a big plus anyway when one shows up.  So we'll give this a rating of 9 Stars, and close by saying,  "Knees Up, Fellow Readers!"

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