Revelation with Robots


East of Ealing, by Robert Rankin – Remember my post about the number 666 being rumored to exist in barcodes? Well, that idea plays a major part in this book. A new corporation called Lateinos and Romiith (both terms for the Pope that add up to 666, at least according to conspiracy websites) has come up with a financial system involving barcoding people, and is planning to replace everyone in Brentford with robot duplicates. I’m not sure why they need to do both of these things, but that’s Far-Fetched Fiction for you. This time, Jim Pooley, John Omally, Professor Slocombe, and the other usual suspects are joined by Sherlock Holmes, who’s not only real but was placed in suspended animation by aliens from the future. In later Rankin books, it’s said that Holmes is real but Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a pseudonym for H.G. Wells, but these things are subject to change from one book to the next. Anyway, it’s a quite funny story, probably my favorite of the Brentford Trilogy so far (it’s the third, but the word “trilogy” is used quite loosely), although I have to wonder if I would like it even more if I’d ever been to Brentford. By the way, this volume reveals that the Garden of Eden was in Brentford, and implies that Camelot was as well. I think one thing I enjoy about Rankin’s books is the amount of childish enthusiasm to them. I mean, the book of Revelation, evil computers, robotic duplicates, Sherlock Holmes, and Merlin all in the same story? It’s a young writer’s dream, but Rankin makes it work better than you’d expect. There are a lot of amusing parodies of conspiracy theories as well.

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