Robert Rankin – The Chickens of Atlantis and Other Foul and Filthy Fiends

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh. Yes, it’s that time of year again, when we are blessed by the appearance of the latest work from the Bard of Brentford, Mr Robert Rankin.

His alternative version of the late 19th century, as seen last year in The Educated Ape and Other Wonders of the Worlds, is once again the main setting, but this time there’s a difference. The book is presented as the memoir of Darwin, the Educated Ape (though he’s actually a monkey[1]), which have been slightly edited by Robert Rankin[2]. Darwin recounts his further adventures with Cameron Bell (world’s greatest detective, etc), and this time there’s a lot of trouble with, err, time. The chickens of the title are rather large, which gave me some amusement when I was in London last weekend and saw one of them in Trafalgar Square.

Indeed, this time there’s a really serious arch-villain to deal with – Arthur Knapton, who’s determined to be the sole ruler of all time and space, and who keeps turning up in different time periods. I’ll omit the details, as I’d hate to spoil the fun, but I have to mention one scene.

Darwin and Cameron Bell have travelled to London in the year 1940, expecting to find a glorious technological golden age, but instead finding themselves in World War II. Time has been changed, and they need to find out what happened. But before they can move on, they’re arrested by the Home Guard. Yes, of course it’s that Home Guard mob. You know:

Much silliness follows, as you might expect. Much champagne is drunk, and many adventures are had, and even more are mentioned.

It’s all wrapped up at the end, so this could be the last in this particular series, but with Robert Rankin, you never know…

[1] Librarian comments on a banana, oook.
[2] He adds occasional footnotes commenting on how preposterous the story is