'Ahead, where once had been only bombsite land, the Lateinos and Romiith building rose above Brentford. Within its cruel and jagged shadow, magnolias wilted in their window boxes and synthetic Gold Top became doorstep cheese...'
Something sinister is happening east of Ealing. The prophecies of The Book of Revelation are being fulfilled.
Lateinos & Romiith, a vast financial network, is changing all the rules with a plan to bar-code every living punter and dispense with old-fashioned money. A diabolical scheme, which would not only end civilisation as we know it, but seriously interfere with drinking habits at the Flying Swan.
Can Armageddon, Apocalypse and other inconveniences of the modern age be stopped by the humble likes of Pooley and Omally, even with the help of Professor Slocombe and the time-warped Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street...?
He had walked the earth as Nostradamus, Uther Pendragon, Count Cagliostro and Rodrigo Borgia. He could open a tin of sardines with his teeth, strike a Swan Vesta on his chin, rope steers, drive a steam locomotive and hum all the works of Gilbert & Sullivan without becoming confused or breaking down in tears. He died, penniless, at a Hastings boarding house, in his ninetieth year.
His name was Hugo Artemis Solon Saturnicus Reginald Arthur Rune, and he was never bored. Hailed as the 'guru's guru', Rune penned more than eight million words of genius including his greatest work, The Book of Ultimate Truths. But vital chapters of The Book were suppressed, chapters which could have changed the whole course of human history. Now, seventeen-year-old Cornelius Murphy, together with his best friend Tuppe, sets out on an epic quest. Their mission - recover the missing chapters. Re-publish The Book of Ultimate Truths. And save the world.
DANNY: PORTRAIT OF A SURREAL KILLER
Danny's not sad and lonely any more because Danny's got 'the voices'. Well, one voice. It's the voice of his dog. Not that it's a real dog, Danny's mother would never let him have a real dog, so Danny made up one for himself. And a fine big dog it is too, with a waggy tail and a nice cold nose. Danny was going to call it Princey, but the dog told him its name was Demolition. So that's what Danny calls it.
And the dog's told him other things too. Like how to adjust the bar-code reader in the shop where Danny works so that he can read the lines on people's palms and Danny can see what they're thinking. And which small ads in the comic books to send off to, so Danny can become irresistible to women, bend others to his will, gain vital inches and fear no man living.
No, Danny's not sad and lonely any more. Danny's barking mad.
Robert Rankin has been described variously as 'Funnier than Aleister Crowley, more dangerous than P.G. Wodehouse' (Cardinal Cox, EP Magazine), 'The drinking man's H.G. Wells' (Midweek) and 'An irregular genius' (David Profumo, The Daily Telegraph). His 13th novel is a nightmare journey to hell and back (with only a brief stop at a Happy Eater to use the toilet). Where Natural Born Killers and Silence of the Lambs merely dipped their toes in terror's icy water, Rankin boldly takes his lurex sock off and really puts his foot in it.
They wrote it off as a scare story. The Millennium Bug, the non-event of the twentieth century. But they were wrong, because the Bug was real. Is real. It's a computer virus and it's about to make the deadly species cross-over, from machine to mankind. The Black Death was spread by rats. But this plague will be spread by a mouse. The computer mouse. And do you know how many different kinds of computer viruses there are? And just what they do? And just what they might do to you if you become infected? No? Then read this book and learn the terrible truth.
Or perhaps you'd rather take a holiday in Brentfordland®? Formerly known as Brentford, this Thamesside Shangri La is now London's first ever suburban theme park and holiday village. A world of excitement, relaxation and fabulous fun, waiting just for you. To find out more, log on to the Brentfordland® web site. Just give your computer mouse a wiggle.
What harm can it do?
We read him for his exuberant salmagundi of old jokes, myths, urban and otherwise, catchphrases, liberatingly crazy ideas, running gags, recurring characters and locations, unreliable authobiographical anecdotes, and not forgetting the now legendary 'load of old toot'. He becomes funnier the more you read him' Mat Coward, Independent on The Dance of the Voodoo Handbag
Society's plug is about to be pulled, big time. At the stroke of midnight on 31 December 1999, computer systems all over the world will crash and plunge us into chaos. But so what if it's the downfall of civilization? These things happen. We'll just have to take it on the chin. Or at least up the nose. Because rejoice and give thanks, snuff is making a comeback. And who do we thank for this? Who is the man who brings joy to the nostrils of the nation? The tender blender with the blinder grinder? The master blaster with the louder powder? The geezer with the sneezer that's a real crowd pleaser? Mr Doveston, that's who, and this is his story. So forget about impending doom and enter the glamorous world of snuff-snorting. Oh, and don't forget to bring a hanky. Things could get a little messy later.
Robert Rankin's novel gleefully chronicles the collapse of civilisation, as the world slides into chaos with a smile on its face and a finger up its nose. Prophetic vision of an imminent dystopia? Or just the rabid ranting of a snuff-crazed technophobe?
'To call Rankin irreverent doesn't begin to describe just how good he is at playing with the rules' MIRROR
Gary Cheese is twenty-two years of age and works for British Telecom as an operator. Gary's hobbies include watching TV, walking his dog Princey, going down the pub with his mates, and attempting to re-animate the dead. He hasn't been having too much success with the latter so far. But Gary's heard a rumour. According to this bloke he met down the pub, there exists certain telecommunications technology that can actually let you speak to the dead. Apparently it's been in operation for years. FLATLINE, it's called, a chatline to the dead. They ran all these ads on the TV a few years ago to prepare the public for it. Those ones about having a one-to-one with famous dead people. But it seems something went very wrong: the dead had certain things to say to the living that the powers that be couldn't allow to be heard. Or something. Apparently. Gary's determined to find out the truth. Gary's a bit of a fan boy and Gary really wants to speak to all of his dead heroes. And Gary will have the time of his life when he talks to the dead.
The Jehovahs have always been a tight-knit family and one of the biggest names in universal property development. The driving force behind them is the old boy, God, although in recent millennia he has ceased to play an active role and has become something of a recluse.
Now tragedy has struck the House of Jehovah. God has died in mysterious circumstances, leaving his beloved planet earth to his youngest son, Colin, which seems deeply suspicious, as everyone felt certain that the meek were supposed to inherit it. Colin is all for flogging off the planet to the highest bidder, and this looks like being the Jehovahs' arch rivals, the Lucifer Consortium. If they get their talons on old Mother Earth, they're likely to adopt a much more hands-on style of management. The people of Earth could well find themselves in deep trouble and they're going to need friends in very high places to get them out of it.
It's Dallas meets Deuteronomy in a Divine Comedy to out-Apocalypse them all. And if you thought Robert Rankin had blown his chances of tea with the Pope when he published Armageddon: The Musical, just wait till you read this one.
He becomes funnier the more you read him.' Independent
It has always been John Omally's secret ambition to become a rock star. In his youth he mastered air guitar and wardrobe-mirror posing, but he lacked that certain something. Talent. But at last an opportunity has arisen for John to get into 'The Industry'. A band called Gandhi's Hairdryer are looking for a manager, so all John has to do is persuade them that he is the new Brian Epstein. It should be a piece of cake. But - and there's always a but - there is something rather odd about this band. Something other-worldly. It might be the lead singer, whose voice has the power to heal. Might she be an angel, perhaps? Or could she be the Devil in disguise? Because, after all, the Devil does have all the best tunes. And this is Brentford.
In this, his final offering of the twentieth century, Robert Rankin returns to the town of his birth, the friends of his youth and one of the loves of his life: Rock Music.
'Everybody should read at least one Robert Rankin in their life.' Daily Express
His great-great grandfather died at the Battle of Little Big Horn. He wasn't with Custer though. He was holding a sprout-bake and tent meeting in the field next door and went over to complain about the noise. His great-grandfather (also a sprout farmer and man of the cloth) always wore weighted shoes while in the pulpit, to avoid any embarrassing levitations during moments of extreme rapture. His grandfather (lay precher, large sideburns, taste for sprouts) spoke only in rhyming couplets (to please the ghost of his dead wife) and owned a pig called Belshazzar that dined exclusively upon the aforementioned vegetables and did strange things on the back parlour wall. His father (an elder in the Sacred Order of the Golden Sprout) practised body-modification in an attempt to win a bet with his brother (a monk) that he could shin up the inside of a drainpipe.
And there was him. And he was weird. Can this be Robert Rankin's autobiography? He swears that it isn't, but as a self-confessed teller of tall tales, whoever is going to believe him?
DO HOLOGRAMS DREAM OF ELECTRIC CINEMA? He wanted Hollywood. He got Brentford. He wanted Spielberg. He got Fudgepacker. He got who?
Fudgepacker. Ernest Fudgepacker. Directed all those weird B-movies back in the Fifties. Whatever happened to him? He retired. Opened Fudgepacker's Emporium, a prop house catering to the more bizarre needs of the film industry. Amazing place. There you could hire anything from shrunken heads to a pickled homunculus. Trouble is, they just don't make that kind of movie any more. Ernie's going bust. In fact, if he can't come up with some big bucks pretty damn quick, he's going to lose the business. It will take a miracle to save him now.
Young Master Robert believes in miracles. He has a dream. He wants to star in movies alongside The Greats. The Golden Greats. The dead Golden Greats. He's a boy boffin with computers and he's invented this system that could put the stars of yesteryear right back up there on the screen. Next to him. He's written a script and he's got piles of money (his dad owns the brewery), but Hollywood isn't keen. And Mr Spielberg didn't ring back. The lad needs a director and Ernie needs the dosh, and Ernie only lives up the road. Could this be the perfect partnership?
Well, it could be...but then this is Brentford and when you make movies in this neck of the woods, you can be sure of a BIG surprise. And when Brentford takes on Hollywood, then Hollywood had better pack up and head for the hills.
The much-longed-for final part of the stupendous ARMAGEDDON trilogy.
And so it came to pass that on 27 July 2061 in the land of Eden, the money-free Utopia, Rex Mundi did toil mightily in his back garden. And he did excavate a cesspit like unto the one which his wife Christeen - the daughter of God and the twin sister of Christ - had been giving him GBH of the earholes regarding the need for therewith.
And verily in the midst of his labours did Rex's spade strike a buried object of not inconsiderable size.
And lo. It were a marble statue of Elvis Presley.
Oh yes siree!
For Elvis looms large here, much to Rex's discomfort, which is further increased when he discovers that the walls of Jericho fell to the strains of 'It's Now or Never' and that David slew the dwarf Goliath wearing blue suede shoes. When Rex is confronted with The Singular Case of the Purloined Presliana, and the Luminous Order of the Sacred Sprout, he realises things are getting out of control...
'Omally groaned. "It is the end of mankind as we know it. I should never have got up so early today" and all over Brentford electrical appliances were beginning to fail...'
Could it be that Pooley and Omally, whilst engaged on a round of allotment golf, mistook laser-operated gravitational landing beams for the malignant work of Brentford Council?
Does the Captain Laser Alien Attack machine in the bar of the Swan possess more sinister force than its magnetic appeal for youths with green hair?
Is Brentford the first base in an alien onslaught on planet Earth?
From the point of view of 2050, you're history
Theological warfare. Elvis on an epic time-travel journey - the Presliad. Buddhavision - a network bigger than God (and more powerful, too). Nasty nuclear leftovers. Naughty sex habits. Dalai Dan (the 153rd reincarnation of the Lama of that ilk) and Barry, the talkative Time Sprout. Even with all this excitement, you wouldn't think a backwater planet like Earth makes much of a splash in the galatic pond.
But the soap opera called The Earthers is making big video bucks in the intergalactic ratings race. And alien TV execs know exactly what the old earth drama needs to make the off-world audience sit up and stare: a spectacular Armageddon-type finale. With a cast of millions - including you! DON'T TOUCH THAT DIAL - IT'S GONNA BE A HELLUVA SHOW!
Robert Rankin is the author of Web Site Story, Waiting for Godalming, Sex and Drugs and Sausage Rolls, Snuff Fiction, Apocalypso, The Dance of the Voodoo Handbag, Sprout Mask Replica, Nostradamus Ate My Hamster, A Dog Called Demolition, The Garden of Unearthly Delights, The Most Amazing Man Who Ever Lived, The Greatest Show Off Earth, Raiders of the Lost Car Park, The Book of Ultimate Truths, the Armageddon quartet (three books), and the Brentford trilogy (five books) which are all published by Corgi Books. Robert Rankin's latest novel, The Fandom of the Operator, is now available as a Doubleday hardback. For more information on Robert Rankin and his books, see his website at www.lostcarpark.com/sproutlore