Japanese Devil Fish Girl and Other Unnatural Attractions


Mad Mountain Man
Jun 29, 2010
Scottish Highlands
Just stumbled on this whilst searching for other stuff: Japanese Devil Fish Girl and Other Unnatural Attractions by Robert Rankin. Never read any of his stuff and know nothing about him. Nothing came up on a search for his name on Chrons. However this sounds like a fairly humorous steampunk "sequel" to War of the Worlds:

The pickled Martian's tentacles are fraying at the ends and Professor Coffin's Most Meritorious Unnatural Attraction (the remains of the original alien autopsy, performed by Sir Frederick Treves at the London Hospital) is no longer drawing the crowds. It's 1895; nearly a decade since Mars invaded Earth, chronicled by H.G. Wells in THE WAR OF THE WORLDS. Wrecked Martian spaceships, back-engineered by Charles Babbage and Nikola Tesla, have carried the Queen's Own Electric Fusiliers to the red planet, and Mars is now part of the ever-expanding British Empire. The less-than-scrupulous sideshow proprietor likes Off-worlders' cash, so he needs a sensational new attraction. Word has reached him of the Japanese Devil Fish Girl; nothing quite like her has ever existed before. But Professor Coffin's quest to possess the ultimate showman's exhibit is about to cause considerable friction amongst the folk of other planets. Sufficient, in fact, to spark off Worlds War Two.

Any views? Is he worth looking at or rubbish?

Fantastic fiction lists similar books as: I shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett and Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Sausages by Tom Holt as similar books!
I've read a couple of Robert Rankin's books.

I really enjoyed Waiting for Godalming, but was somewhat disappointed by Snuff Fiction. (Some comedic conceits are harder to make novel-length than others, I suppose.)
OK, well that's a start ;), thanks Ursa. This novel is only coming out September so not expecting any views on the book, it's just the idea of it appealed to me but I'm always much more hesitant about comedy writers. I can't really think if many (any?) outside of Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams that I have really taken to.
I can't now recall which of his books I've read, but I found his continual pun-making wearing after a while. I may be doing him an injustice, it's a long time since I looked at any and memory plays false, but it felt like whole scenes were dropped into the action for the sole purpose of bringing in a play on words at the very end -- like one of those panel games where the contestants are given a proverb and have to create a humorous story to which it is the punchline. Each one by itself is OK, but being force-fed one after another is too much.
I think that was my impression of Snuff Fiction.

In a comic novel, perhaps more than in any form used for comedy (if only because of its length), the humour ought to grow out of the story; otherwise the whole book can appear to be an extreme example of deus ex machine.

Not only comedy suffers from shoe-horning: not all SFF is immune from the scenes added because the author had had a wonderful idea for a setting/magical power/technology and didn't care that it did not fit in their book. This is the impression I gained when reading Iain Banks's Look to Windward, which I know a lot of readers feel is one of the author's best. First novels often seem to suffer from the "this is my big chance, so where's that magical/technically-brilliant range of kitchen sinks" syndrome. Charles Stross's Singularity Sky is an example of this; its sequel, Iron Sunrise, was a far, far better read.)
I took a while to get into Rankin - I started with the original Brentford Trilogy, though. The later ones with Elvis in are fun, but I haven't read any more recent stuff...

Eww, now you have me remembering "The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife" - I really should spend less time on tvtropes.org !
Hollow Chocolate bunnies of the Apocolyse was pretty darned amusing. I have another book on my shelves waiting to be read, but i can't remember if it's in the same series or not. His writing does amuse me, but is rather over the top; more so than Terry Pratchett.

Similar threads