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Robert Rankin

Gollancz (2009)

ISBN: 978-0-575-08497-1

Reviewed by by Ross Murray

Retromancer is my first dip into the literature of Robert Rankin but it’s definitely not his! Rankin has been a prolific author since his first publication The Antpope (1981). As the self-proclaimed leading exponent of “far-fetched fiction”, Retromancer is Rankin’s thirtieth novel.

Set in 1967, the story is narrated by the teenage Rizla (aka Jimmy Pooley) who appears in all the books of Rankin’s Brentford Trilogy (of which there are nine including Retromancer).

Not all is as it seems for Rizla since returning from his escapades as chronicled in The Brightonomicon. While he’s been away, things in Britain have taken a decidedly German turn for the worse. German bratwurst sausages are being served for breakfast and there’s only German beer on tap in all the local pubs. Rizla however is determined to pursue his life of all things English, which leads to his arrest as a spy and subsequent imminent torture. Luckily he’s saved in the nick of time by Hugo Rune.

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