Robert Rankin

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Robert Rankin
Rankin in 2004
Rankin in 2004
Born (1949-07-27) 27 July 1949 (age 73)
Parsons Green, London, England
GenreFantasy, fiction

Robert Fleming Rankin (born 27 July 1949) is a prolific British author of comedic fantasy novels. Born in Parsons Green, London, he started writing in the late 1970s, and first entered the bestsellers lists with Snuff Fiction in 1999, by which time his previous eighteen books had sold around one million copies.[1][2] His books are a mix of science fiction, fantasy, the occult, urban legends, running gags, metafiction, steampunk and outrageous characters. According to the (largely fictional) biography printed in some Corgi editions of his books, Rankin refers to his style as 'Far Fetched Fiction' in the hope that bookshops will let him have a section to himself. Many of Rankin's books are bestsellers.

Most of Rankin's books are set in Brentford, a suburb of London where the author grew up, and which, in his novels, is usually infested with alien conspiracies and ancient evil.

In addition to his novels, Rankin held a position as the Writer in Residence of Brentford's Watermans Arts Centre during the 1980s,[3] and organised a regular poetry event there which he claims was the largest in Britain.[4] He also has performed on stage with bands.

Rankin's fan club, The Order of the Golden Sprout (named after Rankin's fixation with the vegetable), maintain a website and arrange events, many around Brentford.[5] In 2009 he was created the first Fellow of The Victorian Steampunk Society in recognition of his contribution to the genre.[6] He lives in Brighton with his wife, Dr. Rachel Hayward-Rankin.

During 2012, Rankin published his first 23 novels (up to and including Fandom of the Operator) on Kindle through his own publishing enterprise, Far Fetched Books, with new cover artwork, making them available to a wider audience, despite many of them being out of print.


Anthologies containing stories by Robert Rankin

  • The Mammoth Book of Comic Fantasy (1998) [7]

Short stories

  • The Boscombe Walters Story (1996) [7]

Illustrated works

  • The Bumper Book of Ficts Neil Gardner, illustrated by Robert Rankin (2010)
  • EMPIRES written and illustrated by Robert Rankin (2011)
  • ALICE ON MARS written and illustrated by Robert Rankin (2013)
  • THE DIVINE COMMODORE (or 'THE KIWI CHRONICLES') written and illustrated by Robert Rankin (2014)
  • ’’THE BOOK WITH NO WORDS’’ ‘written’ and illustrated by Robert Rankin (2021)


  • British Fantasy Society Best Novel nominee (1997) for The Brentford Chainstore Massacre
  • SFX Best Novel Award Winner (2003) for The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse
  • British Fantasy Society Best Novel nominee (2006) for The Brightonomicon
  • Coventry Inspiration Book Awards (2007) Lost Worlds: for The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse
  • The Hub Best Comedy (Audio) Award for "The Brightonomicon - Audio Series"[8]
  • Fellow of The Victorian Steampunk Society (2009)[6]

Other media[edit]

In 2008, The Brightonomicon was adapted into a 13-part full-cast audio drama by Hokus Bloke Productions and BBC Audiobooks starring David Warner, Andy Serkis, Jason Isaacs, Ben Miller, Rupert Degas, Mark Wing-Davey, Martin Jarvis and Sarah Douglas. Initially released as a 7-CD boxset and as a digital download, the series has now been re-edited for radio transmission, and Robert's first ever radio series aired on BBC7 from 23 August to 15 November 2008. Rankin has also had his novel The Antipope dramatised for audio, and has also read unabridged versions of many of his novels as audiobooks. He recorded eleven of his titles for Audible. His free, full colour webcomic called Robert Rankin's Empires for Beyond Reality Media in New Zealand, can be viewed online, and illustrated work Alice on Mars will also be released via the same website.

Art and illustration[edit]

Rankin studied at Ealing School of Art, where he was a contemporary of Freddie Mercury and Alan Lee. He worked for Playboy magazine and illustrated a book about The Beatles before his portfolio was stolen and he abandoned the idea of working as a professional illustrator.[9] However he created many of the sculptures which feature on his book covers, many of which were on display at The Collection, a gallery in Lincoln during September 2010.[10] Some of these works were previously exhibited in Waterstones, Brighton, and at Gunnersbury Park Museum in 2007-8.[11] In 2009 Rankin was commissioned by his publisher to provide a series of new illustrations for his back catalogue of books (from The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse to the present), he also created new internal illustrations for The Brightonomicon, Retromancer and The Japanese Devil Fish Girl and Other Unnatural Attractions. A cartoon by Rankin "The Robot and the Elongated Author" was published in Issue 13 of Murky Depths, and 2010 also saw the publication of his first illustrated book, written by Neil Gardner, The Bumper Book of Ficts, which was launched on 18 September 2010 in Brentford.[12] A limited hard-back edition of Empires was launched in the UK mid-2012 which is now sold out. In July 2013 Rankin's own publishing house Far-Fetched Books launched Alice on Mars, in a limited edition of 3000; this book is being made into a full-length feature film by award-winning independent film-maker Martin Gooch.[13] July 2014 saw the release of his next illustrated book, The Divine Commodore, also published by Far-Fetched Books in a limitied run of 3000.[14] He has recently completed writing his memoirs which were published in the autumn of 2015 under the title I,Robert.


  1. ^ James Shields (1 January 1970). "Robert Rankin Interview". Sproutlore. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  2. ^ Australian dollar (25 July 2006). "The Witches of Chiswick (Gollancz S.F.), Robert Rankin". Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  3. ^ Watermans | About :: Our Approach History Archived 29 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Birminghan Science Fiction Group to host Robert Rankin 8th April". Birmingham Writers’ Group. Birmingham Writers’ Group. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  5. ^ "Order of the Golden Sprout". 21 January 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  6. ^ a b "Fellows of the Victorian Steampunk Society". VSS. Archived from the original on 22 January 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  7. ^ a b "Robert Rankin". Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  8. ^ "The Hub Awards, 2008". Archived from the original on 31 January 2009. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  9. ^ Bizarre Magazine, September 2010
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ "Robert Rankin, The Brentford Triangle". Hounslow Chronicle. 10 June 2008. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  12. ^ "Robert Rankin". Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  13. ^ "Alice on Mars | Far Fetched Books". Archived from the original on 16 March 2016. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  14. ^ "The Divine Commodore | Far Fetched Books". Archived from the original on 31 August 2014. Retrieved 13 January 2022.

External links[edit]