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Necrophenia - Robert Rankin

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Genre: Sci-Fi / Fantasy / Author: Robert Rankin / Paperback / 400 Pages / Book is published 2009-07-27 by Gollancz

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    2 Reviews
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      02.07.2010 19:28
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      Great book, be thankful your still alive.

      Necrophenia comes from the mind of author Robert Rankin who is the self proclaimed grandfather of "far fetched fiction" - of which this book is no exception.
      Re-writing history as we know it - particularly in the music scene of the sixties and seventies and stretching it far beyond what you could ever have imagined.
      A group of lads with a high school band with second hand school instruments are trying to make it big, so when they are offered a record contract - brand new instruments and promised to be touring the world - of course they say yes.
      Unfortunately for them there is far more to this deal than they ever thought was possible; what with the undead trying to take over the world and make it into a necrosphere, finding out that Elvis' is a sextuplet and there was that business with the cross dressing zombies around the time the contract was signed.
      Dabbling into the world of religion and magic makes for a bit of controversy.

      This far fetched writing style of Rankin's is what really attracts me to his books - they are out there, but then it is all explained how these things come to be. History is re-written but with great references to icons of the time such a Elvis who makes an appearance (well several actually), The Rolling Stones, Wimpy (and how it came from the US to the UK) and of course the drug scene of the 60's and 70's.
      The characters develop greatly with the villains being ever mysterious.
      Rankin always leaves you wanting to know what happens in the next chapter, but no in an over-done cliff hanger way. The chapters are fairly short (2-7 pages hardback) which for me makes for a more comfortable read, as I have more convenient stopping places.
      I particularly like how the story spans several decades with the story developing at different paces, whilst the ever impending doom of earth becoming a dead planet hangs over the heads of the human race.
      As always the banter between the characters is great and really adds to each character and builds on the story.
      Overall, I would say one of Rankin's best books.
      You will find that many of Rankin's characters cross over from book to book, and although in some cases this can get a bit "samey", those characters are classic to Rankin and retain their original loveable (or unloveable) personalities.

      I would recommend this to anyone who loves particularly fantasy, sci-fi and humour fiction - but it really does have elements in it for anyone who loves a great story.
      If you have never read any of Robert Rankin's books, you may find his writing style a little different than what you are used to but I would encourage people to stay with it as you will soon be sucked in by it.

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      21.10.2009 12:05
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      An author seemingly past his best

      Fanboyism is a dangerous art, but one you must give yourself fully to. A Fanboy is a person (usually a males hence the boy part) who is obsessed with a certain thing and will defend it no matter what. The art form is most prevalent in games consoles were a Playstation fan will dislike someone just because they prefer the Xbox or vice versa. It also crosses other mediums with comics and films being popular sparring grounds. For me it is books that make me a fanboy and in particular my favourite authors. People like Terry Pratchett, Don Winslow and others will get my full support and purchase in Hardback. However, being a fanboy sometimes leaves you on the wrong side of an argument. Your unflinching loyalty may be nice, but is it right? Can an author who produced some of the best books of the late 90s no longer deserve your praise in the 00s?

      When at school young man Tyler joins a band; he could never imagine the trouble that it would get him into. Perhaps they should not have signed their names in blood onto the contract offered to them by the most strangest of men? Tyler's life will see him battling the forces of hell as they try and create a being of pure evil that will wipe out all living things on the Earth. Can Tyler stop the evil, does he care and will he ever get to become the world's greatest detective?

      I am a huge Robert Rankin fan, but even my patience with the author is starting to waver. At his best Rankin is a sublime writer of the absurd, able to create outlandish stories in a beguiling style, yet still have some interesting concepts and intelligent writing. However, over the years he has created a rut for himself so large that it's turned into a literacy equivalent of the Grand Canyon. I dread any of his books being set in Brentford now as I know what to expect; the exact same book as the last 5 times. Young man meets strange man, some sort of evil devil thing appears, young man walks aimlessly around and saves/does not save the world whilst meeting lady in straw hat/Lazlo Woodbine and perhaps Hugo Rune. 'Necrophenia' is a book so reminiscent of others by the author that I feel it could be off cuts stuck together.

      For a while I did not mind Rankin going over the same territory because he did it so well. The likes of 'Apocalypso' and 'Snuff Fiction' are amongst my favourite books of all time and both cover the typical Rankin elements. However, they both had strong central stories and a brilliant finale. 'Necrophenia' has neither of these and reads more like a stream of consciousness as the author writes directly from brain to page with no thought of narrative structure or character development. The book is over 400 pages and is I am afraid to say - dull. Nothing happens that has not been in previous Rankin books.

      There are a couple of sections that do stand out as classic Rankin. The visit to Woodstock and the discovery of a hidden Golden City were the people worship George Formby are great fun. However, these are side elements to the story and work because Rankin gives them some extra care that is unseen in the rest of the book. Recent departures from the Brentford scene has produced two excellent books in the 'Toy Town' universe that are still typical Rankin, but have the life and energy that the Brentford books had over 10 years ago. This for me proves that there is still hope for Rankin to get back to his best, but that perhaps he needs to think about writing some books in a different universe than is preferred parish. The reuse of old jokes and the same characters no longer holds the charm that they once did and Rankin has taken the joke way past its sell by date. I hope for the sake of all of his fans even more passionate than myself that he is able to turn around this run of poor form and get back to his best. For me he is no longer a novelist I will buy day 1 in hardback, but a paperback writer; perhaps in the future not even this...

      Author: Robert Rankin
      Year: 2008
      Price: amazon uk - £4.98
      play.com - £4.99

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