It’s AD 2050, a half-century after the unfortunate NHE (“Nuclear Holocaust Event”), and Earth is frankly in terrible shape. No, I’m not talking about the acid rain, devastated lands, and lack of food; although all of that is certainly true. But Earth is actually a reality show, watched by the inhabitants of the planet Phnaargos, and its ratings are the pits. There’s nothing exciting about a nuclear wasteland.
There’s only one thing to do – send someone back in time to 1958 and talk Elvis out of joining the army. That’ll change the course of history, and the audience-losing NHE can be replaced with an Armageddon event. Viewers love Armageddons.
Sounds like a plan. What could possibly go wrong?
What’s To Like...
If you’ve read any Robert Rankin at all, you know that the norm is for everything to go wrong, with nonstop, hilarious mayhem in hot pursuit. And rest assured, that’s exactly what happens here.
The main character is Rex Mundi, and he’s a likeable schmo. The supporting cast includes Elvis, Barry the time-traveling sprout, Rex’s sexy sister, Gloria, and two members of the cannibalistic Devianti, Rambo Bloodaxe and Deathblade Eric.
Underneath all the spoofiness, Robert Rankin has some insightful points to make about organized religion and corporate politics. But the excellent penning of parody prevents it from coming off as being “preachy”. So grab yourself a Buddhabeer, turn on the Buddhavision, and light up a Kharma Kool. The reality show called “The Earthers” is about to air.
Kewlest New Word...
Videlicet (adverb; Latin) : “To wit”; “That is to say”; “Namely”.
Rex Mundi crept along a plushly carpeted corridor, seeking his destiny. Rex, whose character must now be well known to the reader. His failings, few as they are, forgivable considering the circumstances. His valour tried and tested. His integrity absolute. His complexion, although scabious, leaving his good looks romantically untarnished. His underpants unchanged from page one. Rex continued to creep along. (pg. 229 )
“Oh yes, sir.” Jason’s face bobbed up and down. “Armageddon, that’s what it’s all about now, eh?”
Mungo made a thoughtful face. “Yes, well it is and it isn’t.”
“It is and it isn’t.” Morgawr tried to look enlightened. “It is Armageddon, but it’s not Armageddon. Yes I see. I know it’s not the Armageddon. Which is to say, that although it is our Armageddon, which will appear to be their Armageddon, it is not really the Armageddon. Which is what you are saying, is it not?”
“What I’m saying is that whoever’s Armageddon it turns out to be, it must have a happy ending.” (pg. 276)
“Om mani padme BOOOOOOOOOM!” (pg. 120)
Armageddon The Musical can get confusing at times, what with all the time-, planetary-, and scene-jumping. But that’s Rankin’s style, and I for one thoroughly enjoy it. Things run amok for most of the book, but it all wraps up at the end.
ATM is for readers who like Douglas Adams, Tom Holt, and Terry Pratchett. It is part of a trilogy, but it works just fine as a standalone. The sequel, They Came And Ate Us, is on my TBR shelf.
8½ Stars. Highly recommended, but I say that about every Robert Rankin book I read.