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The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse
Robert Rankin
Gollancz, 342 pages

The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse
Robert Rankin
Robert Rankin (1949- ), who describes himself as a Teller of Tall Tales, embarked upon his writing career in the late 70s, his ambition was to create an entirely new literary genre, which he named Far-Fetched Fiction. By doing this, he aimed to avoid competing with any other living author in any known genre and would be given his own special section in bookshops. However, they weren't keen on giving him his own set of shelves and his work is to be found in the Science Fiction section. While sometimes compared to Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams, Robert Rankin's unique prose style and extraordinary imagination distinguish him clearly from them, and have brought him considerable success. He is the author of The Brentford Trilogy (six books), The Armageddon Trilogy (three books), A Dog called Demolition, The Dance of the Voodoo Handbag, Snuff Fiction, Web Site Story and many other wondrous books, including his latest: The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse (2002). He has had a total of thirty-nine (39) jobs, including illustrator, off-licence manager, market-stall trader, rock singer and garden gnome salesman. Robert Rankin lives in Brighton, UK with his wife and family.

Robert Rankin Website
ISFDB Bibliography
Other reviews of The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse: 1, 2, 3.

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Georges T. Dodds

Imagine Who Framed Roger Rabbit in Toy City rather than Toon Town, where the characters are wind-up toys or Mother Goose characters, and you'll have some idea of where The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse is headed. Chock full of puns, double-entendres, quirky in-jokes, lampooned clichés and loopy characters, ...Bunnies... is a book you find either outrageously funny or, as some see it, forgettable puerile humour. While I do tend to towards the former, I can easily see how someone might reach the opposite viewpoint. A parallel to this dichotomy are the massive webwork-novels of American "mystery" writer Harry Stephen Keeler -- either you find the author's idiosyncratic universe and plot construction brilliant or you're left pulling your hair out wondering what sort of idiot published such a thing. As with Keeler, Rankin can neither be pigeon-holed to a particular genre, nor can his plots be figured out on the basis of logic alone.

I must confess to being an aficionado of the more understated humour of Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) or my personal favourite Buster Keaton, than of the more in-your-face British comedy of Benny Hill or Monty Python. In terms of literature, I must confess to never having gotten past the first chapter of the first book of Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Trilogy. Nonetheless, ...Bunnies... does manage to not bog the story down in word play or pub humour, and to inject some amusing Dashiell Hammett-esque elements, the murdered partner of a detective firm being one. I guess what I'm saying is that there's sufficient plot to carry the humour, and things and events remain consistent within the bizarre world the author has created.

...Bunnies... tells of the boy Jack's trip to the big city, Toy City to be exact. There he meets Eddie, a sawdust-filled teddy bear who can't complete similes and whose partner in a detective agency, Bill Winkie (see if you can figure out his full name) has disappeared. Old money stalwarts of the community are also getting offed: Humpty Dumpty hard-boiled in his swimming pool, Little Boy Blue transfixed with his shepherd's crook. Jack and Eddie go off in search of the killer, in so doing getting entangled with Chief Inspector Bellis, a prostitute named Jill, Tinto the barman (and his evil twin), and of course a Maguffin, amongst many others. The collapse of the entire Toy City society is at stake, and one very nasty villain is behind it all... saying more would spoil the fun.

Mr. Rankin appears to have a very active fan base in Great Britain and Europe, but is a lesser known commodity in North America. Certainly, compared to his contemporaries, he does seem to turn the amplifier up to 11 in terms of humour and zaniness. ...Bunnies... will likely appeal to the humourous fantasy/SF fan and even as comic relief for the hardboiled detective fan, but it can hardly be termed subtle. Nonetheless, with Christmas and New Year's gone, you really should treat yourself to some Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse for Easter.

Copyright © 2003 by Georges T. Dodds

Georges Dodds is a research scientist in vegetable crop physiology, who for close to 25 years has read and collected close to 2000 titles of predominantly pre-1950 science-fiction and fantasy, both in English and French. He writes columns on early imaginative literature for WARP, the newsletter/fanzine of the Montreal Science Fiction and Fantasy Association and maintains a site reflecting his tastes in imaginative literature.

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