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27 July 1949 |
Parsons Green, London, UK
Robert Fleming Rankin (born 27 July 1949) is a prolific British humorous novelist. 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. 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/or 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, and organised a regular poetry event there which he claims was the largest in Britain. 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. In 2009 he was created the first Fellow of The Victorian Steampunk Society in recognition of his contribution to the genre. He lives in Brighton with his wife, Dr. Rachel Heywood-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.
- The Antipope (1981) (see also The Brentford Trilogy)
- The Brentford Triangle (1982) (see also The Brentford Trilogy)
- East of Ealing (1984) (see also The Brentford Trilogy)
- The Sprouts of Wrath (1984) (see also The Brentford Trilogy)
- Armageddon: The Musical (1988) (Armageddon Series)
- They Came and Ate Us (Armageddon II: The B Movie) (1991) (Armageddon Series)
- The Suburban Book of the Dead (Armageddon III: The Remake) (1992) (Armageddon Series)
- The Book of Ultimate Truths (1993) (Cornelius Murphy Series)
- Raiders of the Lost Car Park (1994) (Cornelius Murphy Series)
- The Greatest Show Off Earth (1994)
- The Most Amazing Man Who Ever Lived (1995) (Cornelius Murphy Series)
- The Garden of Unearthly Delights (1995)
- A Dog Called Demolition (1996)
- Nostradamus Ate My Hamster (1996)
- Sprout Mask Replica (1997)
- The Brentford Chainstore Massacre (1997) (see also The Brentford Trilogy)
- The Dance of the Voodoo Handbag (1998)
- Apocalypso (1998)
- Snuff Fiction (1999)
- Sex and Drugs and Sausage Rolls (1999) (see also The Brentford Trilogy)
- Waiting for Godalming (2000)
- Web Site Story (2001)
- Fandom of the Operator (2001)
- The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse (2002)
- The Witches of Chiswick (2003)
- Knees Up Mother Earth (2004) (see also The Brentford Trilogy)
- The Brightonomicon (2005) (see also The Brentford Trilogy)
- The Toyminator (2006)
- The Da-da-de-da-da Code (2007)
- Necrophenia (2008)
- Retromancer (2009)
- The Japanese Devil Fish Girl and Other Unnatural Attractions (2010)
- The Mechanical Messiah and Other Marvels of the Modern Age (2011)
- The Educated Ape and Other Wonders of the Worlds (2012)
- The Chickens of Atlantis and Other Foul and Filthy Fiends (2013)
- The Abominable Showman (2015)
- I, Robert (2015)
Anthologies containing stories by Robert Rankin
- 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)
- 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"
- Fellow of The Victorian Steampunk Society (2009)
In 2008 The Brightonomicon was adapted into a 13-part full-cast audio drama by Hokus Bloke Productions and BBC Audiobooks starring Andy Serkis, David Warner, Jason Isaacs, 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 is currently recording eleven of his titles for Audible (audio books) which will become available throughout late 2013 and early 2014. 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.
- The Brightonomicon - audio drama & radio series (BBC7)
- The Antipope - audio drama & audiobook
- The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse - audiobook
- The Toyminator - audiobook
- The Fandom of the Operator - audiobook
- Nostradamus Ate My Hamster - audiobook
Art and illustration
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. 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. Some of these works were previously exhibited in Waterstones, Brighton, and at Gunnersbury Park Museum in 2007-8. 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. 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. 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. He has recently completed writing his memoires which were published in the autumn of 2015 under the title I,Robert.
- James Shields (1970-01-01). "Robert Rankin Interview". Sproutlore. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
- Australian dollar (2006-07-25). "The Witches of Chiswick (Gollancz S.F.), Robert Rankin". Fishpond.com.au. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
- Watermans | About :: Our Approach History Archived 29 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Birminghan Science Fiction Group to host Robert Rankin 8th April". Birmingham Writers’ Group. Birmingham Writers’ Group. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
- "Order of the Golden Sprout". Thegoldensprout.com. 2012-01-21. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
- "Fellows of the Victorian Steampunk Society". VSS. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- "Robert Rankin". Fantasticfiction.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
- "The Hub Awards, 2008". Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- Bizarre Magazine, September 2010
- [dead link]
- "Robert Rankin, The Brentford Triangle". Hounslow Chronicle. 2008-06-10. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
- "Robert Rankin". Ja-jp.facebook.com. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 March 2016. Retrieved 2013-09-16.
- http://www.farfetchedbooks.com/the-divine-commodore/[permanent dead link]
- Far Fetched Books - Official website of Robert Rankin's publishing company
- Order of the Golden Sprout - The new Official Robert Rankin Fanclub
- Robert Rankin author info
- Robert Rankin Hallucinated (1999 interview article)
- FantasticFiction.co.uk, Authors R, Robert Rankin
- Rankin Bibliography and Biography
- Robert Rankin at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database