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Armageddon: The Musical

(Armageddon #1)

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  3,361 ratings  ·  72 reviews
From the point of view of 2050, you're history

Theological warfare. Elvis on an epic time-travel journey - the Presliad. Buddhavision - a network bigger than God (and more powerful, too). Nasty nuclear leftovers. Naughty sex habits. Dalai Dan (the 153rd reincarnation of the Lama of that ilk) and Barry, the talkative Time Sprout. Even with all this excitement, you wouldn't t
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 25th 1991 by Corgi (first published 1990)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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 ·  3,361 ratings  ·  72 reviews

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Sep 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
This is the first novel in the Armageddon Series by “far-fetched fiction” writer Robert Rankin.

Rankin is the author of one of my favorite books, The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse. I find his writing style to be similar to Terry Pratchett, another author I really enjoy. I thought I’d have a good chance of enjoying this novel when I chose it at random but it didn’t live up to my expectations.

The overall plot seemed to ramble. Having several worlds, dimensions and time-planes involved
Si Jones
Aug 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is the first Rankin book I read, back in the early 90's, and I've lost count of how many times I've re-read it since.
Apr 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
As always Robert Rankins alternate universe is one full of surprises. I am a fan of time sprouts and enjoyed the time travel in this story. I particularly enjoyed Rankins comic take on a post apocolyptic Earth and his views on realty TV and the ideas of a master plan I found to be as agreeable as they were hilarious. The unwitting hero Rex is a well written if put upon character and who doesnt love a bit of Elvis. My favourite parts of the story did focus around some of the "supporting cast" of ...more
Feb 15, 2014 rated it did not like it
There are people who would love Rankin's zany take on the apocalypse. For me it's way too freewheeling and manic for me to enjoy it. It's as if The Hitchhiker's Guide was rewritten by someone on speed, smooshing all sorts of ideas in an almost incomprehensible mish-mosh. We've got Elvis, we've got a talking sprout, a future incarnation of the Dalai Lama, Jesus and his twin sister Christine, television, and post nuclear mad max shenanigans. I can't say that this book has no redeeming features, no ...more
This is my first book by Robert Rankin and I came to it knowing almost nothing. It is indeed written in a style reminiscent of Douglas Adams' work - absurdist SF with caustic one liners and waaaaaay too much shit happening all the time. It's all about the fast paced, seemingly LSD and mushroom fueled story line, with weird characters doing odd things and a world built out of vulgarity and contradictions. I am 100% into that kind of stuff, if it's done right. I'm aware that not many readers can s ...more
Sep 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Rankin has been compared to Pratchett and Adams.. this is unfair. Rankin is Rankin in the same way as Pratchett is Pratchett, they shouldn't be compared because although both are brilliant they are brilliant in quite astoundingly different ways. All of Rankin's books have a different feel to them, and if you didn't know, you could swear that some were written by different authors.. but despite that there are always those rankin touches.. the Running Gag.. oh how we love the running gag.. not jus ...more
Feb 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a strange mix of Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, The Truman Show and Redshirts. And when I say strange I mean strange, but in a really good and fun way.
People who can't laugh at Christianity or L. Ron Hubbard should probably steer clear though.
Nen Simmons
Dec 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Earth is being manipulated by aliens who are using it as a reality TV show. Trouble is, ratings have now slumped for the post-apocalyptic world were everything is controlled by 3 main religions, so they decide to send a time-travelling sprout back to 1958 to contact Elvis Presley and alter the course of history. The fact that this plot seems perfectly plausible is testament to Robert Rankin's excellent rating and alarming imagination. Also has the usual running gags ( Ian Paisley etc) and the cu ...more
Aletha Tavares
Jun 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humour
its the future 2050- the characters of dalai lama, elvis priestly who the former thinks will kill him, is being brought back to earth to up the ratings of the soap opera the Earthers by the planet phnaargos, who feel that all that has been happening on earth is war , killings, blood violence & sex and need to inject the viewing with something different- but this goes awry thanks to the GOD wo is also side stepped by his sister.
this si cosmic fun in all its galaxious humour
Gillian Taylor
Feb 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt my favourite trilogy of all time.
Rankin has been often compared to Pratchet, but in my opinion he outshines him by far.
This book has elements from reality and a vast imagination inside of Rankin's mind that will make you take a look into your very soul and examine it.
Barry the sprout is an inspiration to us all.
Joey Woolfardis
[Short and quick review from memory before I re-read and re-review at a later date:

I mean, really. XD Just the title is bringing joy to me. I think this is the Rankin book that really made me love him quite severely.]
Doreen Dalesandro
Dec 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Genre: sci-fi humor
Rating: 3.75
I listened to this book.

One word describes this book: whacky! It is lots of fun!

Robert Rankin does a great job narrating his book!
Oct 29, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have enjoyed nearly everything I have read by Robert Rankin, especially his Brentford books. However, I really struggled with this one. The characters are two dimensional and very hard to keep track of. The plot is really convoluted and confusing and the narrative bounces all over the place. As a fan of Rankin, I went into this expecting a load of nonsense. But usually the nonsense is funnier and when things get truly chaotic, the chaos is more short-lived. I kept expecting the insanity to bui ...more
Jan 27, 2018 rated it liked it
The universe started with a sound like a duck call, then a whistle, then an enormous wind-break.

This was my first Robert Rankin book, and I thoroughly enjoyed the surreal ride. Unable to pass up an author recommended by Sir Terry Pratchett (and interminably by my Goodreads Recommendations feed), I picked out the one that sounded the most epic to me. Post-nuclear Apocalypse. Armageddon. Aliens making reality TV out of human evolution.
Although the premise is fairly similar to Terry Pratchett a
Apr 25, 2009 rated it liked it
Read one book by this author already and enjoyed it so much I wanted to read another. My sister bought it for me for Christmas 2009. While I finished it, I didn't find it the "rip-roaring comedy" hailed by the critics on the cover. It was confusing at times but interesting enough to keep me reading. However, it's part of a trilogy, and I don't see myself rushing out to pick up the next volume any time soon.
Keith Davis
Nov 29, 2009 rated it it was ok
Armageddon the Musical never seems to be quite as funny as it is trying to be. You get the impression that the author is trying very hard to be Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett but not quite getting there. All the ingredients are there, but it is like a cake that fails to rise and you are left wondering if a step got missed somewhere in the recipe.
Aug 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A time-traveling sprout named Barry, that lives in Elvis Presley's head. What more do I need to say?
This is just not doing it for me. On its way to the ditched stack.
Mike Abney
Entertaining, but probably not worth your time.


The book is, frankly, a bit sexist. There is one female character (of maybe 3) with any authority however she is made out to be stuck-up, man-hating, and—in the end—incompetent. The next closest is essentially a fantasy love interest about whom I cannot say much more without spoilers. All other females mentioned in the book are there for the physical pleasure of the males.

The book does some fun things with time travel, but the formatting, at l
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Fantasy in the furthest reaches of the word. This book contains many complex plots/subplots. Characters that needed considerably more explanations than were given might have helped the story to flow a little better.(for me personally) But would have meant a much longer read.
I would like to think I have a good imagination and quick wit. But..through this cramped and chaotic story I became confused much easier than I should.
I love Terry Pratchett ..and was wholesomely recommended this book as bei
George Morrison
Jun 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Rankin's fantasy is chaotic, irreverent, and occasionally witty. I enjoyed it and recommend it for a light summer read.

Set fifty years in the future, Armageddon provides a wry take on the dystopian futures that have become de rigueur in modern sci-fi, positing a world where we all sit around drinking Buddha-beer and watching TV (mandatory). How the world gets in that state is revealed in a layered approach throughout the novel and was well done.

The characterizations are deliberately flat (and se
Aug 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Don’t ask me what this book is about... but it is funny. We got a time traveling Elvis, a completely evil but all powerful Dalai Lama, multiple layers of interplanetary reality TV, a send-up of media-controlled dumb masses, plant-based tehnology... it is all a mad dash, confusing, but readable, and fun.

Rankin is often compared to Pratchett, and there are similarities in the humor, the crazy plots tgat bend in on itself, and casual playing with scientific concepts. But while Pratchett’s character
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was my introduction to Robert Rankin, and it almost broke my brain. It remains one of the most unhinged things I've ever read. This is Terry Pratchet, but without the worthiness. On speed, acid and magic mushrooms.

Overall I probably prefer the less frenetic, more grounded humour of Rankin's Ealing books, but as an exercise in stark raving bonkers, I doubt this has an equal. That said, it's difficult to compare it with Rankin's other books in the same vein, because by the time I read them my
Carolyn Tragasz
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sean Keefe
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
I love Rankin, but I found this one to be a real stinker. I flunk the jokes flat, the plot inconsequential, and the whole thing devoid of his usual genius. Took me almost a week to get through, and I normally polish his books off in a couple of days. Ah well, with such a great catalogue as Rankin's, there's gotta be the odd one that doesn't match the heights of his other stuff. Onwards to better.
Apr 25, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve read quite a lot of Rankin books, not in order, obviously, and I always enjoy them. I struggled a little with this one, the plot moved just a little too much for me and I found it challenging to follow. I don’t know if that’s because I read it during lockdown when I found it difficult to concentrate or if this one is a little overly confusing! Still good to dip into Rankin’s chaotic mind, you need a good sense of humour to get through these days!
Randomly found at a used bookstore. As if the cover wasn't enough of a clue, this is a completely absurd wackadoodle book. Dystopian in a way reminiscent of Terry Gilliam. More than once I found myself wondering what Rankin was on when he came up with this stuff. Consider yourself properly warned. But for all of that - enjoyable.
Robert J.
Jan 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Robert Rankin is one of my favorite authors. He has this, strange, self referential lunacy that is at once slightly annoying and incredibly intriguing. You'll finish reading unsure what exactly you liked about it, but eager to read the next one.
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Irreverent and Unexpected

The craziest post-apocalyptic tale of the apocalypse ever. Elvis, aliens, and cannibals, oh my! Not for the easily offended, but definitely for fans of Douglas Adams and Terru Pratchett. Can't wait to read the next one.
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
In a bid to read outside of my comfort zone this year I gave this a go. I'm sure, to the right person, it's hilarious but I honestly have no idea what the hell was going on at most points!
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"When Robert Rankin embarked upon his writing career in the late 1970s, his ambition was to create an entirely new literary genre, which he named Far-Fetched Fiction. He reasoned that by doing this he could avoid competing with any other living author in any known genre and would be given his own special section in WH Smith."
(from Web Site Story)

Robert Rankin describes himself as a teller of tall

Other books in the series

Armageddon (3 books)
  • They Came and Ate Us: Armageddon II: The B-Movie
  • The Suburban Book Of The Dead: Armageddon III: The Remake

News & Interviews

Karen M. McManus, the bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying, Two Can Keep a Secret, and One of Us Is Next, doesn’t shy away from secrets and...
60 likes · 1 comments
“- It's a small matter, but one which I think shouldn't be overlooked.
- Oh Yes? And that is?
- That is the simple matter that time travel is an impossibility, you craven buffoon!
- Not with the latest miracle of modern horticulture...Gentlemen, please allow me to introduce you to THE TIME SPROUT !
'Pleased to be here' said the vegetable in question.”
“H. G. Wells once said that every word of which a man is ignorant represents an idea of which he is ignorant.” 2 likes
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