Robert Rankin – The Suburban book of the Dead – Armageddon III: The Remake

Yes, it’s another entry in the Great Robert Rankin Re-read-athon already. But for reasons of needing a (relative) sanity break and having some other things I need to read, it’ll be the last for a little while[1].

First published in 1992, this takes the Armageddon Trilogy to its end – yes a trilogy with only three books in it, which seems a bit odd, but there you go.

It’s 2061 in Paradise, and our hero Rex Mundi is digging a hole for reasons that I won’t go into. When he digs up a statue of Elvis Presley, he’s a little surprised. He’s even more surprised when it’s stolen by a couple of collectors in a Volvo. His surprise level reaches even greater heights, when, having stowed away in the unexpectedly large rear of the Volvo, he finds himself in Presley City, where not wearing blue suede shoes is a serious offence, and indeed, Elvis is the one true deity.

While Rex is being surprised, we switch to first person narration for a word from Lazlo Woodbine (some call me Laz), down at heel private eye in the 1950s mould, despite being from a different century altogether.

And we have the happy return of Barry the Time Sprout.

And the less happy return of some other, less pleasant to know characters.

Can Rex, Lax and Barry prevent the destruction of the city? Will the other Rex get his way? Will you get confused as the action shifts without warning from one place to another? Will there be a final roof-top confrontation? And will everything be tied up and explained properly at the end?

The answers to at least some of these questions may be found in this book. Along with the usual quota of running gags, characters arguing about needing a better part in it, and more twists than a very twisty thing.

All very, very silly, and loads of fun.

[1] Exact duration dependent on this and that