22 March 2012
31. The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse
Very different. Very fun. Made me laugh a lot and was still interested enough to keep wondering what would happen next.
I am not sure how to categorize this book. Science Fiction using nursery rhymes and toys? It is odd. Then again, why does it need a category at all. Let it be outside the main stream.
The story is about a guy named Jack who sets out to the big city to seek his fortune. When he gets to the city he finds that it is a Toy City...yes, actually populated by living breathing toys. He also finds that there is a serial killer on the loose who is killing all the old rich and famous nursery rhyme characters (Humpty Dumpty, Mother Goose, Little Boy Blue, etc.)
Jack falls in with Eddie Bear, who is a private detective who works with the recently "disappeared" Bill Winkie. Jack and Eddie embark on an adventure to solve the crimes and catch the killer. Along the way there is much debauchery, car chases, gratuitous sex and violence, heavy drinking, bad behavior and much more.
There is also some really interesting use of language and "linguistic trickery" used by the author that makes it even more fun to read. This is a crime novel in a fantasy world and written in a nursery rhymey happy-happy joy-joy way at times. I really enjoyed it.
As I was reading I tagged a bunch of areas with post-it-notes to use in this blog. That is the only way I can explain what I mean by the author's writing style was fun. Robert Rankin is a strange fellow.
FYI...that stupid Read Like a Professor book did make me see things differently. That bastard! Like Jack falling into a hole, and then falling some more...and then things got weird. Much like Alice.
I found one of the most interesting character flaws in all of fiction to be an idiosyncrasy of Eddie. Eddie was unable to use corroborative nouns. It was hilarious at times and was used over and over in the book. So much in fact that Jack even picked up on speaking that way toward the end of the book. It became "normal". "But I can't do corroborative nouns. None of us are perfect, are we? I can get started. As big as, as foul as, as obscene as. But I can't get any further. But that's life for you again. As unfair as.... Listen, wouldn't you rather go to a bar and have a drink?"
I read the following paragraphs many times. There is a lot of truth to it and much more than just from the perspective of a silly novel. I loved this... "We really can only truly know what we personally experience. And when we experience something entirely new, something that we have never experienced before, it can come as something of a shock. And it can be hard at first to fully comprehend.
Jack, for instance, had never before heard a really big, expensive silkwood apartment door being smashed from its hinges. And so the sounds of its smashing were alien to his ears.
The frabious grametting of the lock against its keep was positively malagrous in its percundity. The greebing and snattering was starkly blark.
And as for the spondabulous carapany that the broken door made as it struck the vestibule floor...
....the word phnargacious is hardly sufficient.
Rapantaderely phnargacious would be more accurate.
And as for what happened after this, it is probably all for the best that Jack neither heard nor saw any of it."
Rankin even used a form of somnambulist..."For those who are unacquainted with the career of Little boy Blue subsequent to his period of employment as a somnambulant shepherd...."
Beautiful quote..."And, as every successful dictator knows, it's far easier to convince a thousand people en masse of a bad idea, than it is to convince a single individual. It's a herd thing."
Rankin would use this little ditty repeatedly when he wanted the reader to understand something. "Now it is a fact, well known to those who know it well...." followed by what he wanted the reader to know. That cracked me up every time.
Every once in a while the writing would just go off on a wild ride for no apparent reason. Like this..."It was a suspicious affair, with man sized chairs and tables. These were all of pink plastic and pale pitch-pine. The walls were pleasantly painted with pastel portraits or portly personages, pigging out on prodigious portions of pie - which, considering the alliterative nature of the breakfast served by the toymaker, may or may not have been some kind of culinary running gag."
Humor abounds..."You're not supposed to be drunk when you get involved with matters such as this: Big Matters, Matters of an Apocalyptic Nature. You're supposed to be coldly sober. And you just can't be coldly sober when you're drunk. But then, if you really did find yourself involved in Matters of an Apocalyptic Nature, you'd need a few stiff ones under your belt before you got going with saving the world."
More humor..."'Some other pretext then. We'll engage him in casual conversation and subtly draw him into a theoretical discussion. Then you could put your theory to him in a hypothetical manner, which will not imply any implicit knowledge on our part as to his potential status as a deity.'
"Say all that again", said Eddie
"Don't be absurd,' said Jack, 'I don't know how I managed it the first time. Somebody help me."
One last example... "We all know who is doing this to us. We dare not wait for the inevitable to occur. We have to take steps. Do something about it.'
'I don't agree.' said Mary Mary.
'Well, you wouldn't, would you dear? You being so contrary and everything."