Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Rankin, Robert

(1949-    ) UK writer who first came to notice with the Brentford sequence of humorous fantasies: The Antipope (1981), The Brentford Triangle (1982) and East of Ealing (1984), assembled as The Brentford Trilogy (omni 1988), plus The Sprouts of Wrath (1988). These are an eclectic mix of far-out notions and clichés freely drawn from sf, horror and fantasy, and amusingly grounded in the all-too-mundane London suburb of Brentford. RR's career suffered a mid-1980s hiatus, but was relaunched in the wake of the immense success of Terry Pratchett's comic fantasies – not that his work resembles Pratchett's very closely: RR is altogether wilder, more prepared to entertain ideas from the occult and from fringe beliefs of every kind, and at the same time more parochially "British" (with a touch of the Irish). The Armageddon trilogy – Armageddon: The Musical (1990), They Came and Ate Us: Armageddon II, The B-Movie (1991) and The Suburban Book of the Dead: Armageddon III, The Remake (1992) – features the Apocalypse and a time-travelling Elvis Presley (1935-1977) (>>> Icons). The Cornelius Murphy trilogy – The Book of Ultimate Truths (1993), Raiders of the Lost Car Park (1994) and The Greatest Show Off Earth (1994) – plays with notions that resemble those of Charles Fort (1874-1932). Much more of the same is to be found in The Most Amazing Man who Ever Lived (1995), The Garden of Unearthly Delights (1995) and A Dog Called Demolition (1996), the last of which is blurbed, characteristically, as "a nightmare journey to hell and back, with only a brief stop at a Happy Eater to use the toilet". [DP]

Robert Fleming Rankin

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This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.