The Witches of Chiswick
Have you ever wondered how Victorians dreamed up all that fantastic futuristic fiction? Did it ever occur to you that it might just have been based upon fact? That THE WAR OF THE WORLDS was a true account of real events? That Captain Nemo' s Nautilus even no ...more
I don't know that I'll read more Robert Rankin, but I felt this book deserved four stars for the many times that it made me laugh out loud.
On paper this sounds like something I would love - comedy, conspiracy, magic, and a fantastic steam punk version of the past. What a combo! And maybe that's the problem; the author is trying to cram too many fabulous things in to one little book.
The story contains loads of rapid fire dialogue. So rapid, in fact, that it becomes difficult to determine who is saying what without revisiting the whole conversation and carefully noting each interjection. This is made more cumbersome by the layout, wh...more
I really did.
But damn, did Rankin ever make it difficult.
It's not the self-referential humour or the constant breaking of the fourth wall - I love Jasper Fforde, after all. It's not the continual typos, pulling me out of the novel. It's not the fact that a large portion of the book is clearly aimed squarely at people who've read every last book in Rankin's oeuvre, and damn the masses.
Nope, it's simply the fact that it has a crappy plot, and revels annoyingly in that f ...more
Young Will Starling is living a normal, if boring, life in the 23rd century. He works at the former Tate Museum, proofing the scans of artwork that it onced housed. It's a dull and thankless job, but not for Will. He loves art and culture, something that has died out in his time. He particularly enjoys the art of the 19th century. Will is complacent with his lot in li ...more
It was covered in little icons, in the shape of bats and pumpkins, cauldrons and black cats, and broomsticks. Below each of these were little titles: My incantations. Mu book of shadows. My favourite curses. My wart charms. And so on and so forth, and not very funny at all.
'Cool,' said Tim. 'What shall we go for?'
'If I might make a suggestion,' said Gammon. 'Select My World Domination Proposal.'
'Good choice that,' said Tim and he moved the silver star-shaped mouse.
Not pa ...more
This particular tale involves bad guys (or gals, as they are witches) mucking about with history to hide the real Victorian era from us. You know, the time when computers were commonplace, when Tesla towers gave us electricity, when handsome cabs flew and so forth. Or then there's the view of "curren ...more
There are, however, some reasons why you might not like this book.
1. You hate puns. Or preposterous things. Or both. (I happen to enjoy both very much, as long as they confine themselves to the realm of fiction.)
2. You are a huge fan of Rothko. Or Schwarzenegger. Or both. (Frankly, I would not mind if I never saw a work from the bodies of work of either of these fellows again. Yes, that includes Hercules in New York. Sorry, ...more
Yes, time travel was there. But as for whimsy ... no. The author obviously thought he was being funny and quirky, and just to make sure the reader knew he was being funny and quirky he made the various characters comment on that fact. His writing style was so overdrawn and unnatural it took me two weeks t ...more
Rankin's writing reminded me of Terry Pratchett and Jasper Fforde mashed together, these are both authors I really wanted to like but can only drum up some warm enthusiasm for. And it was the same with Rankin, I thought I would ...more
I certainly like my humor goofy, but this got downright silly, with verbal slap-stick and absurd scenarios. I really felt that large sections of the book did nothing to advance the story, and by the end I am not sure I was even following exactly what was going on ...more
(Don't recall the plot, but it's Rankin so it's bound to be good. Intrigued to know why I thought this one was SO good, though.)
Will Starling lives in a London suburb with his parents in the 23rd century. Everyone except him is fat, and his is teased mercilessly for being slim. He lives in a 300 story high rise and it's a dystopia now, with acid rain, non-existent technology, synthetic foods ...more
When he is hunted by a clockwork killer robot from 1899, he finds himself trapped in a centuries-old conspi ...more
Basically, the plot revolves around Will, who is way too interested in the 19th century for his own good. He lives in the 22nd century, in a world that doesn't seem to fit him at all. As a resu ...more
Rankin’s formula is a winning one – misfit ...more
Although I was expecting a good amount of humour, the amount of over the top wackiness was dismaying. The fourth wall is constantly broken and poorly executed pop culture references are aplenty. The author all but confesses the low amount of effort put into the work at one point in the novel and it is quite easy to believe.
Comparisons to Terry Pratchett come naturally as it seems that some of ...more
My only problem with this book is the ending. It really seemed to me that after such a wonderfully-written book, Rankin gave up about 10 pages before the end, and left way too many questions in my mind (most of which I won't spoil for you now) and wrote what I felt was a cop-out ending (which, ...more
(from Web Site Story)
Robert Rankin describes himself as a teller of tall ...more