Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Retromancer” as Want to Read:
Retromancer
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Retromancer

(Brentford #9)

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  593 ratings  ·  48 reviews
There is big and evil magic upon the face of the Earth, and history has consequently been changed. The Germans have won World War II; America is a nuclear wasteland; and worst of all the breakfast menu at The Wife's Legs Café in Brentford is serving bratwurst rather than the proper British sausage. When the world is all wrong and it needs setting right, the only hope left ...more
Hardcover, 348 pages
Published January 1st 2010 by Gollancz (first published January 1st 2009)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Retromancer, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Retromancer

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  593 ratings  ·  48 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Jacob
Dec 10, 2009 rated it it was ok
All is not right in young Jim Pooley's home of Brentford, what with all those jackbooted Nazis marching around the village, German appliances everywhere, and the cafe serving bratwurst--bratwurst!--for breakfast instead of the proper English. Clearly history has changed--for the worst--since Jim's last adventure (helpfully chronicled, for the curious reader, in The Brightonomicon), and somehow the Nazis won World War II. It's up to Jim, with the aid of his teacher Hugo Rune (adventurer, genius, ...more
Jonathan
Nov 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: steampunk-read
If it's escapism and fun you are looking for, then this is definitely a book worth adding to your collection. Whenever you start to read any of Robert Rankin's novels you know you’re in for an insane, yet highly funny experience. He seamlessly combines his own quirky imagination with wild adventure.
The way Rankin plays with the conventions of both language and storytelling is a wonder to behold. Clever one liners, self-deprecating humour, and running jokes are the order of the day. He compares
...more
Lisa
Jun 19, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: Brian Stanton
Shelves: 2011, own, comedy, sci-fi
After his previous adventures with Hugo Rune (detailed in other books, which I haven't read, though that isn't necessary to get into this one), his acolytle Rizla wakes one morning to find that history has taken a wrong turn - the Germans won World War II and all Rizla can now get for brekkie is bratwurst. Therefore, he and his mentor set out for the past to try and put things right.

What follows is an absurd and punny comic tale, which amuses and irritates in equal measure; to put right the past
...more
Juste
Oct 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
Retromancer was my first Rankin for a number of years and either my tastes have changed or this book simply isn't as good as the others I've read previously...... or perhaps both.

Having read quite a lot of Irvine Welsh and depressing teen fiction recently I thought a light and breezy Rankin would lift my mood. Although amusing in places, Retromancer turned into a bit of a chore to finish.

A teenage Jim Pooley aka Rizla awakes one day to discover that the Germans won WW2 and his beloved Brentford
...more
Brian Clegg
Dec 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robert Rankin is an acquired taste - but one I acquired many years ago. In fact I remember being really irritated once because I accidentally picked up a book by a new author, close on the shelves, with very similar covers, some upstart called Terry Pratchett.

Rankin write totally bonkers humorous fantasy, and has broadly gone through three phases. He started off with a cracking three books - the Brentford trilogy which were superb. After that he wandered around a bit with books that often had wo
...more
John Montagne
Aug 02, 2011 rated it did not like it
I liked this novel in the very beginning - but it quickly spiraled down. The quick descent started with the introduction of the pompous hero who is pompous because its suppose to be funny. Other self-absorbed hero characters can pull this off, not so here. I quickly became bored with it and found him annoying, his self-assurance always panned out for him - which makes for an infallible character whom I can't empathize with. The main(?) character - a young English lad, I liked, a pragmatic fella. ...more
Tim Hicks
Jan 16, 2011 rated it it was ok
Rankin is trying to create his own niche in fiction, and I suppose he has succeeded. But this book makes me think of the generic British character who laughs uproariously at his own jokes and punches you on the shoulder while shouting, "Geddit? Geddit? HAHAHARHAR!"

I never cared for Adams's Infinite Improbability Drive, and Rankin takes it a step beyond, not only pulling things out of thin air but also repeatedly pointing out that a continuity gap has just occurred. Even Doctor Who does better t
...more
Basicallyrun
Feb 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: turing-related
Oh, I should've liked this book so much more than I did. Alternative history! The Second World War! Unexpected Alan Turing! (And really, I should do a tally at the end of the year to see just how many books I've read featuring him.) It was fun, I'll give it that, and I honestly did like Rizla, the narrator, but I honestly never understood why anyone was doing anything. I have this feeling Rankin was trying to lampshade the way fantasy heroes do things for no apparent reason - or because of Fate- ...more
Victoria Roe
Jul 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Improved a lot as I got further into the story and managed to get used to/tune out some of the more annoying use of pointless flowery language (I know that's the point, it just grated). I really enjoyed the odd throwaway line and 4th wall breaking callback but I'm not sure I'll necessary rush to read any more by him. Reliably informed this is not the best through so never say never, and it was a quick and easy read.
Rose
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Was really funny! I didn't realise it followed on from another story (I wish books would make this kind of thing more clear), and would like to go back and read the other one. It didn't affect the story much as it didn't follow a previous book story-wise, but I feel as if reading them in order would have introduced me to the characters better.
Isabel (kittiwake)
'You have a plan, do you not?' I said.
'Naturally. Twelve cases and we win the war.'
'Twelve cases, I see.' And I did. Well, sort of.
It is always twelve cases, as I have told you before. It is always to do with time and it always involves the solving of twelve Cosmic Conundra. It is what I do and what I am.'
'And I will be proud to aid you' I said.


The teenage Jim Pooley is surprised when his aunt serves him bratwurst for breakfast one morning rather than bangers. When he ventures out into the stree
...more
Nathan Dehoff
This follow-up to The Brightonomicon has the young Jim Pooley once again teaming up with Hugo Rune to go back in time and prevent the Nazis from winning World War II with the aid of Rune's arch-nemesis Count Otto Black. Rune and Black are linked because the latter removed his name from the Book of Life so he could never die, and Rune's name was on the opposite side of the page, making him immortal as well. Of course, it's never entirely clear how much of what Rune says is actually true. He claim ...more
Justine
May 14, 2014 rated it did not like it
I tried to make myself read it, I guess because at the time I was focused on wanting to read x number of books. After struggling so long, I reminded myself that I didn't actually HAVE to read this book and that I should actually be attempting to read things that I like/that are useful to me. Maybe I failed because I haven't read anything by Robert Rankin (it is obvious that there are recurring characters in the book) and this wasn't the best book to start with; more likely, I guess it was the wr ...more
Steve Rippington
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'm a Rankin noob, so I wasn't sure what to expect from this. Unfortunately I chose the second book in a series to start with, although ultimately, I don't think it mattered.



From start to finish, Rankin writes with humour and pace. His characters are at once bizarre, funny, and likeable. I found the main body of the book formulaic: there are twelve cases for the main characters to solve, and each seems to start with a piss-up and some nosh in the local pub. I say formulaic, but in no way is that
...more
Andrea (mrsaubergine)
I've been reading Robert Rankin religiously since 1992, but four years ago I lost my far-fetched mojo and gave up for a while. This book has been sitting by my bed all this time, and I regret not having picked it up sooner. I really enjoyed it, and found I had missed all Rankin's running gags (80s music references, beers named after type fonts, traditions and old charters and such).

Here, the teenage Jim Pooley wakes up in 1960s Brentford to find the Germans won WW2 and he has to eat bratwurst f
...more
TheIron Paw
Dec 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: just-for-fun, fantasy
As I wrote before: Rankin is utterly mad. However, portions of this novel may be construed as possibly having a semblance of logic (perhaps, maybe). A good yarn based on his Bentford series (which I have never read, so this seemed out of place to me) that is a series of quests as our protagonist strives to save the world while beating up cabbies and never paying for typeface font beer. This allowed me to take breaks from the novel to read simpler stuff like quantum mechanics.

While reading this,
...more
John Defrog
A sequel to Rankin’s The Brightonomicon, in which young Rizla (whose identity was revealed in the previous book) is reunited with Hugo Rune (The Most Amazing Man Who Ever Lived) to solve another dozen cases. At stake this time is the future – the Nazis have won WW2 by dropping an atomic bomb on America, and Rune and Rizla must travel back in time and change history back the way it was. As much as I like Rankin, I had trouble getting into this, mainly because it felt like he was basically stretch ...more
Hal
Aug 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Plot and characters are largely an excuse for some 400 pages of whimsical and playful experiments with language and all sorts of running gags. It fits right into the Rankin universe, complete with magic, fantasy, the loathing of paid work, Fangio the fatboy barman and references to famed detective Lazlo Woodbine. The structure of the book is built around 12 cases to solve for first-person hero "Rizla" and his larger-than-life gregarious mentor, Hugo Rune. The twists are standard and often far-fe ...more
Blair
Mar 04, 2011 rated it liked it
At times it felt like walking into a movie in the last ten minutes and not having a clue as to what had taken place in the first three-quarters. Robert Rankin must have suffered some debilitating nerve and muscle damage after the amount of winks and nods he inserted in "Retromancer". On the plus side, Rankin can sure spin a yarn. Gaping holes in the plot and narrative notwithstanding it was humourous, fast-paced, and intelligent. It has piqued my curiousity about the other books in the series. I ...more
Matt
Aug 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoy Robert Rankins quirky style of writing and this book was no exception.

He used the format of 12 cases in a previous book so he has stuck to a format that was tried and true for him and that was the only reason why I did not rank this book 5 stars.

The base characters have been developed in previous books, but this book can be a stand-alone book and no previous reading of the other books is needed.

Samantha
Jun 19, 2011 rated it did not like it
I love movie comedies but it is rare that I like a funny book and I have read several in the past including Robert Rankin and each time they just miss my funny bone. I think the only recent one that comes to mind is Mystery Man by Colin Bateman which I enjoyed. So you ask why did I read this then well yet again it was the book club choice. I just found it silly and I love screwball comedies but I just can't read them. This is a fail for me and I'm sorry because I wanted to like it.
Jr
Jun 23, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This romp through time travel, magic, and science fiction tropes is a good laugh. It also seems to be at least part two in an ongoing storyline. This I didn't realize. But it's not so hard to pick up what was happening. Think Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett but a little more eccentric and you're on the right track. If you enjoy those authors you might like this one. I may yet read something else by Robert Rankin. It was decidedly silly and fun and occasionally very very strange.
Daphne (Illumicrate)
I wanted to enjoy this book more. It was an easy read with short chapters, but sometimes it gets lost in its own craziness. I'm not too fond of any of the characters, although I have to admit I laughed considerably through some sections of the book and the plot, while convuluted, was enough to keep me interested. My favourite pun? The fact that ales were named after typefaces.
Fraser Cook
Nov 21, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Occasionally witty but mostly annoying. Not as clever as it thinks it is and mostly pointless. Too much self referential winking at the story without actually bothering to make a story. And having characters pointing out the gaps during the story doesn't make it the less poor. Lazy isn't necessarily funny.
Geske
May 14, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was a little taken aback at the style of this book. Is this "stream of consciousness" writing? The story was sound enough, and I liked the bit about King Arthur returning as a robot, and I'd like to smoke a Wild Woodbine, but I think I ought to have read the series from the beginning to fully appreciate the style and characters. I'll hang on to it to read again in a few years, definitely.
Martin
Sep 11, 2013 added it
Shelves: sf
I didn't finish this. Only because I was distracted by something more urgent, but I doubt I'll go back to it. The narrator's highly affected voice was pretty irritating. I don't know if that's common to all Rankin novels, but reading "And would not you know it? Or would not you not" half a dozen times in the first 30 pages wears a bit thin.
Bex
May 12, 2011 rated it liked it
Average Rankin based upon the adventures of Hugo Rune and Rizla. To be honest, I'm not a big fan of these shorts stories (much like Brightonomicon), but nevertheless it does have it's charms (and running gags)!
Tim Heywood
Oct 15, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: library-borrowed
While I didn't find it as uproariously funny as some other Rankin novels, this is still a good laugh. I'm starting to recognise some of his regular characters and locations; this familiarity adds to the enjoyment.
Raquel
Aug 04, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: steampunk
Although it was mostly what I expected, I guess the 'far-fetched fiction' genre isn't for me. I did like the mentions to the TARDIS, Lord of the Rings, and others, and the book made me smile on some occasions. If you like stuff like Terry Pratchet's work, you'll probably like it.
Gail Morris
Aug 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
I wanted to hate some of the things in the book, but I just kept reading and laughing out loud... Robert Rankin does that to me! I'm not sure if he is the love child of Terry Pratchett & Dr. Who, but once I start reading I can't stop. Can't wait to see if the library has some more of his works.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Blonde Bombshell
  • Purgatory
  • The Kingdom Beyond the Waves (Jackelian, #2)
  • Triumff: Her Majesty's Hero
  • Not Less Than Gods
  • Morlock Night
  • Love Songs For the Shy and Cynical
  • Dead of Veridon (The Burn Cycle #2)
  • Lightbreaker (Codex of Souls, #1)
  • Resurrectionist (Matthew Hawkwood, #2)
  • Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded (Steampunk, #2)
  • Flaming Zeppelins: The Adventures of Ned the Seal
  • The Domino Men (Domino Men, #2)
  • Colony
See similar books…
705 followers
"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
...more

Other books in the series

Brentford (10 books)
  • The Antipope
  • The Brentford Triangle
  • East of Ealing
  • The Sprouts of Wrath
  • The Brentford Chain-Store Massacre
  • Sex and Drugs and Sausage Rolls
  • Knees Up Mother Earth (Brentford Trilogy)
  • The Brightonomicon (Brentford, #8)
  • The Lord of the Ring Roads
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“This is not the way things are done in Boy’s Own Adventure books. I recall no mentions of homosexual gang-rape and cannibalism” 9 likes
“Need to get to Ruislip by sparrow-fart though', said the squadron leader. 'Think you can do that? Can I come along for the ride?” 6 likes
More quotes…