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Rankin, Robert

Entry updated 11 September 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(1949-    ) UK author who began writing his highly idiosyncratic sf novels with the Brentford sequence beginning with The Antipope (1981), The Brentford Triangle (1983) and East of Ealing (1984), these three assembled as The Brentford Trilogy (omni 1988); the final volume in the sequence, Retromancer (2009), is a spoof Hitler Wins Alternate History tale, set in New York and London and featuring its protagonist's ultimately successful attempts to create a better world (ours). In the first volume, two layabouts and their friends challenge Forces from the Beyond ranging from an undead sorcerer to an alien invasion fleet. In later volumes the series satirizes Clichés taken in equal measure from horror, sf and fantasy, setting them off against the thoroughly down-to-earth London suburb of Brentford, the best of these novels perhaps being The Witches of Chiswick (2003), whose title parodies John Updike's The Witches of Eastwick (1984) and which features an appearance by Nikola Tesla. In the end humanity is (apparently) destroyed. Rankin's Armageddon series – Armageddon: The Musical (1990), They Came and Ate Us: Armageddon II: The B-Movie (1991) and The Suburban Book of the Dead: Armageddon III: The Remake (1992) – features a time-travelling Elvis Presley and is based on the premise that the whole of human history has been stage-managed for transmission as an extraterrestrial soap opera. Further (and similar) works include the Ultimate Truths tales, comprising The Book of Ultimate Truths (1993) and Raiders of the Lost Car Park (1994); and The Greatest Show Off Earth (1994). A more recent series, the Japanese Devil Fish Girl sequence – comprising The Japanese Devil Fish Girl and Other Unnatural Attractions (2010), The Mechanical Messiah and Other Marvels of the Modern Age (2011) and The Educated Ape and Other Wonders of the Worlds (2012) – carries Rankin's familiar characters and venues into Steampunk country. [NT]

see also: Cosmology; Humour.

Robert Fleming Rankin

born London: 27 July 1949





Ultimate Truths

Pooley and Omally

The Trilogy That Dare Not Speak Its Name Trilogy

  • Sprout Mask Replica (London: Doubleday UK, 1997) [The Trilogy That Dare Not Speak Its Name Trilogy: hb/Ian Murray]
  • The Dance of the Voodoo Handbag (London: Doubleday UK, 1998) [The Trilogy That Dare Not Speak Its Name Trilogy: hb/John Alexander and Robert Rankin]
  • Waiting for Godalming (London: Doubleday UK/Transworld, 2000) [The Trilogy That Dare Not Speak Its Name Trilogy: hb/John Alexander and Robert Rankin]

Eddie Bear

Japanese Devil Fish Girl

The Final Brentford Trilogy

individual titles

graphic novels

  • Empires Vol. One (Auckland, New Zealand: Beyond Reality Media, 2011) [graph: illus/hb/Robert Rankin]
  • Alice on Mars (Auckland, New Zealand: Beyond Reality Media, 2013) [graph: illus/hb/Robert Rankin]
  • The Divine Commodore (Auckland, New Zealand: Beyond Reality Media, 2014) [graph: illus/hb/Robert Rankin]
    • The Kiwi Chronicles (Auckland, New Zealand: Beyond Reality Media, 2014) [graph: vt of the above: illus/pb/Robert Rankin]



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