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Low in the Rankins
Necrophenia - Robert Rankin
Member Name: samueltyler
Necrophenia - Robert Rankin
Advantages: Two funny parts to the book
Disadvantages: Samey, confused, overly long
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
Price: amazon uk - £4.98
play.com - £4.99
Summary: An author seemingly past his best