Overclocked On Caffeine v.1.1 2009-08-10 13:37:00

Robert Rankin – Raiders of the Lost Car Park

350 pages

What is this I don’t even

Writing a review is, despite what some of you might think, bloody hard work. Yes, it’s mostly ‘this is why X sucks/does not suck’ when you get down to it, but it’s also about making sense of what you’ve seen/read/played in your own head. Hard enough at the best of times, and that’s when the thing actually makes sense to begin with. Take Raiders of the Lost Car Park, for example. It’s the second in the Corenlius Murphy trilogy, but don’t let that put you off, it’s not like it’ll make the book any easier to understand. In the last book, he discovered that mankind is actually being secretly oppressed by the Hidden King of the World, that the world itself is a hell of a lot bigger than any of us have been lead to believe, and that his father is actually the legendary Hugo Rune, a guru of Absolute Wisdom, a ladies man enough to put Errol Flynn to shame, and the arch nemesis of Bud Abbot. Involved in this adventure were a clan of mad Scotsmen, an electric blue Cadillac Eldorado, his loyal circus midget friend, Tuppe, and a train named after a Greek god that went ‘Yabba Dabba Doo’ instead of more conventional train sounds.

Cant say you weren’t warned.

Your enjoyment factor for this book will directly proportional to your tolerance for the absurd. It’s fair to say that if you have no time for pointless asides, running jokes or meandering stories that may or may not have anything to do with the plot, you’re going to hate it. The plot, such as it is, is little more than a framework to hang said jokes and stories on. It involves a quest to open the Forbidden Zones, where the hidden wealth of the world is kept, with a reinvented ocarina, Prince Charles, Santa Claus and a gigantic rock concert held in Brentford.

Again: you can’t say you weren’t warned.

Like I said, it’s hard to state definitively whether this is a good book or not. I mean, I enjoyed it, it’s a good quick read, the funny bits are actually funny and there’s a fair number of references that brought a knowing smile to my face. But this is definitely not a book everyone will enjoy. The reliance on asides and running gags in lieu of actual plot borders on the self-indulgent at times, and there’s a definite feeling of ‘repetition = funniness, right?’ more often than I’d like. This is easily the most love it/hate it thing I’ve encountered in quite some time. Definitely give it a try, especially if you want something different, just…

…oh bollocks, it’s become a running joke, hasn’t it.

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