Nostradamus Ate My Hamster!

Published on 3 July 2003 in

I picked up my first Robert Rankin book for the quote on the back of the cover from Terry Pratchett which simply said "One of the rare guys who always makes me laugh.". Being a pretty big fan of Terry Pratchett, I decided to take a look at his recommendation.

Since then my Rankin collection has exploded takes up nearly as much space on my shelves as Terry’s work.

One of the latest Rankin books in my collection was ‘Nostradamus Ate My Hamster’, published in 1996.

For those who don’t know the mighty Rankin’s works, they’re easy to discribe in one word. Wierd.

Where as Terry Pratchett writes fantasy books about strange things involving strange people in strange places on strange planets, Robert Rankin writes about strange things involving strange people in (mostly) parts of London, England. It all gets a bit surreal, especially when you live near the town he most likes to talk about – Brentford.

It’s the complete oddness of the books that tends to keep me reading (in one Brentford hosts the olympics in a huge stadium built over the town, whilst another seems to be a completely insane spoof of George Orwell’s 1984) – and the more you read, the more you love it, especially thanks to Rankin’s love of the running gag throughout his books, and his insistance of giving bit parts to his favourite characters as often as possible. Once you’ve read five books, they all suddenly become much funnier once you spot all the in-jokes.

But there was something truely odd about ‘Nostradamus Ate My Hamster’.

Perhaps the introduction should have given it away:

"Due to the questionable sanity of the author and the convoluted nature of the plot, it is advised that it be read in a single sitting and then hidden away on a high shelf."

When the first thing you read in a book is a sentance like that, should you be worried?

If you’ve never read a Robert Rankin book before – this is not a book for you. It’s completely mad. The plot, featuring a nice bloke, a pub sucked forward in time, alien technology, Adolf Hitler, a Nazi-run future and a very odd film, seems to to make little, if any, sense.

So why is it just so compelling a read? Why, when you know all is completely mad and non-sensical, can you just not put the book down?

If this is the first Rankin book you ever read, you probably won’t have a clue what’s hit you, but believe me when I say, he’s not normally this odd…