The Year of the Angry Rabbit
|Genre||Science fiction novel|
The Year of the Angry Rabbit is a science fiction novel by Australian author Russell Braddon, in which giant mutant rabbits run amok in Australia while the Prime Minister uses a new superweapon to dominate the planet.
The pulp narrative was played for laughs, and designed as an indictment of war, nationalism and capitalism. The novel was also notable as being part of a small revival of Australian science fiction in the 1960s. Its comic-horror tone was well received and it was filmed as Night of the Lepus - a straight-faced monster movie that dropped the humor of the book.
Kevin Sean Aloysius "Ella" Fitzgerald: Prime Minister of Australia, and the novel's protagonist. An archetypal scheming politician.
Major General Sir Alan Jacks: Notoriously incompetent Minister of Defence whose predictions are always wrong, except for one temporary lapse of brilliance when he suggests using Supermyx as a world-dominating weapon.
Sir Alfred Hill G.C.B.: Wealthy landowner, habitual blackmailer, and the story's catalyst. After discovering oil on his property he used his wealth to dominate two boroughs (pocket boroughs), which won Fitzgerald the last election by a two-seat majority. When rabbits begin spawning on his property, Alfred threatens to use the same trick to lose Fitzgerald the next election if he can't find a way to get rid of the rabbits.
Professor Welch: Leader of the team that is tasked to develop Supermyxomatosis, in the hope of annihilating the rabbit plague on Sir Alfred's ranch.
Les Dorfmann: Welch's second-in-command, who becomes a hunted fugitive, and later becomes Fitzgerald's last hope at defeating the deadly rabbits.
Dr Miller: Assistant to professor Golovin, who helps Dorfmann escape the authorities, and later marries him.
Flo Hill, AKA "Ladyill": Wife of Sir Alfred, who Fitzgerald was once infatuated with.
Major Gary Cooper Hill: Son of Ladyill and Sir Alfred. Military man in the Australian army. Unlike the Minister of Defence, Gary is a highly competent and very effective leader.
From the hardcover jacket:
"It looks as though Australia will be overrun by rabbits. Millions of them, immune now to the myxomatosis that decimated them in the nineteen hundred fifties and sixties, are teeming over the land. With an election imminent, Prime Minister Kevin Fitzgerald, known to his cronies as Ella, is forced to act. It is obviously an emergency. The rabbits must be wiped out. Scientists assemble; experiments begin.
"The results are shattering. Australia suddenly becomes the most feared nation on earth: America and Russia hurriedly surrender to her their nuclear devices, as do the other powers; Fitzgerald becomes virtual dictator of the rest of the world.
"The Commonwealth Government establishes peace on earth except for limited wars which are fought under strict supervision, according to rules laid down in Canberra. Only two nations are allowed to fight at one time, for example.
"On the crest of this incredible wave of prosperity a tiny news flash is overlooked. It says: RABBIT AS BIG AS ALSATIAN SHOT BY SUNDAY-SCHOOL TEACHER THREE MILES NORTH OF MUDGEE...."
Quotes from reviews in the UK press included:
- "Jolly horror" - The Spectator
- "Bitter fun" - The Sunday Times
- "A scary tale" - Vogue
- "A very different sort of humour … intercontinental, sadistic" - The Sunday Telegraph