Robert Rankin – They Came and Ate Us – Armageddon II: The B-Movie

Moving along with the Great Robert Rankin Re-read-athon, we come to the second in the Armageddon Trilogy. This was first published by Bloomsbury in 1991, and my trade paperback is well, yes, an actual first edition. If my memory is accurate (and be fair, it’s been a while, I’ve been asleep since then, etc, etc), I got it from a strange thing called a “book club”, which was how we used to buy books by something called “mail order” in those pre-Amazonian days. The club in question did softcover versions of books otherwise available only in more expensive hardbacks. This one must have appealed it me at the time when I saw its description in the quaintly printed monthly (or thereabouts) newsletter thingy. Either that, or it was the monthly (or thereabouts) selection which they’d send to you if you didn’t get around to telling them not to. I suspect the former rather than the latter, but I could be wrong (it’s happened at least once before, I think it was on a Tuesday). But I, as is so often the case, digress. Though it wouldn’t be Losing it without a digression or six, would it?

So, this follows on, more or less, give or take, from Armageddon: The Musical. Following the quite literal deus ex machina ending of that one, the revived earth is a paradise. Our hero Rex Mundi is married to Christeen (twin sister of Jesus christ, edited out of the Bible, best not to ask) and living in profound happiness, so that’s not going to last, is it?

Meanwhile (err, no, not really, but once you start messing around with time travel, the grammar goes to pot, as Douglas Adams pointed out), in 1977, Elvis Presley has faked his death and headed off with Barry the Time Sprout.

And then there’s some fun with Jack Doveston, working on a project to digitise all the more interesting books, who accidentally manages to summon Rex Mundi through time.

And some nicely demonic entities.

And hackers.

And more nonsense than you could shake a shaky thing at.

And chapter headings relating more nonsense about Hugo Rune than anyone would wish to know.

And something approximating to the truth about the Nuclear Holocaust Event of 1999 that led to the mangled future world of the first book.

And a guest appearance from Pooley and Omally, heroes of the Brentford Trilogy!

And more characters complaining about not getting better parts!

Indeed, it’s pretty much at this point that Robert settles down (well, more doesn’t settle down, really) into the deranged self-referential style that we all know and love. Great and very silly fun, which made my journey to Birmingham much more enjoyable.