Release Date: 09/09/10
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.
There are very few authors who can creatively write humour into their work and pull it off successfully. Perhaps the best known is Terry Pratchett but after him, you have Tom Holt and of course Robert Rankin. Whilst I’m not the biggest fan of his work as he’s been a bit more miss than hit for me, there are moments of pure joy within and in this, his latest offering, I have to say that its perhaps one of his best to date.
Based around the War of the World tale by HG Wells, the author takes this offering one step further, brings characters to life and to be honest pulls it all together in such a mad scientist sort of way that you just have to admit the genius behind it. Add to the great characters, witty as well as appropriate dialogue, some pretty nifty description all binding this offering to the reader and you know that its definitely worth exploring. All hail Rankin, Mad Scientist of fiction.