Retromancer by Robert Rankin (book review)

February 2, 2013 | By | Reply More

(pub: Gollancz. 366 page enlarged paperback. Price: £12.99. ISBN: 978-0-575-08497-1

pub: Gollancz. 341 page hardback. Price: £14.99. ISBN: 978-0-575-07872-7)

check out websites: www.orionbooks.co.uk and www.thegoldenspout.com

The world has changed. I’m not talking about flying cars and meals in a pill though, in the new reality of ‘Retromancer’, Germany won the Second World War and Great Britain is an occupied nation. Instead of the full English, people are having bratwurst for brekkie and people are encouraged to report even their family members for the slightest transgression.

Retromancer

The only person who seems to realise that everything has changed is young Jimmy Pooley Rizla. His previous adventures with the guru’s guru Hugo Rune has meant that he’s immune to changes in the timeline and it’s up to him to put things right.

A loose sequel to ‘The Brightonomicon’ and the ninth book of ‘The Brentford Trilogy’, there is very little time for new readers of Robert Rankin to catch up. A small amount of exposition is given at the start of the novel about how Rune and Rizla know each other, before they set off to solve another 12 fantastic mysteries in order to reset the timeline.

I’ve never been sure if I actually enjoy Rankin’s books or not. I know they’re the type of books I should like but quite often I don’t. The dialogue is snappy and Rizla is a character you can get behind but there are times where it seems to be written for the author’s own amusement rather than anyone else’s. That and I really fail to be charmed by Hugo Rune. I get that his character is supposed to be a man about town but he really grates with me. Also, don’t get me started on footnotes in a fiction novel, I understand a world is being created but if it can’t be woven into the main body naturally, leave it out completely.

These issues aside, Rankin can never be accused of having a lack of imagination. He takes the tried-and-tested trope of an alternative history and makes it his own. That plus his ability to tread the line between irreverent and ridiculous is second to none.

There’s a simple test to determine if you’d like ‘Retromancer’ or not, if you like Rankin’s other books, you will but if you don’t, you won’t. Simples eh?

Aidan Fortune

February 2013

(pub: Gollancz. 366 page enlarged paperback. Price: £12.99. ISBN: 978-0-575-08497-1

pub: Gollancz. 341 page hardback. Price: £14.99. ISBN: 978-0-575-07872-7)

check out websites: www.orionbooks.co.uk and www.thegoldenspout.com

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Category: Books, Steampunk

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About the Author ()

Once called a "fountain of useless pop culture knowledge", Aidan is an unashamed geek, grateful that he is allowed share his opinions on a global scale. A journalist by trade, Aidan is a massive fan of comics and recently set up a comics group in Brighton in order to engage more with like-minded people. His home is subject to a constant battle of vintage paraphernalia and science fiction & fantasy toys.

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