The Mechanical Messiah and Other Marvels of the Modern Age by Robert Rankin. Book Review


Gollancz, h/b, £16.99

Reviewed by Matthew Johns

Rankin’s latest work is a foray into the world of steampunk but in his usual, inimitably surrealist, style. If you’ve ever read a Rankin novel you’ll be familiar with his love of word play, alliteration and puns so bad that they’re pure genius. These abound throughout this novel, which tells the tale of the legendary consulting detective, Cameron Bell (the spitting image of Dickens’ Mr Pickwick) and the music hall acts that are gradually disappearing one by one in puffs of smoke and piles of ash.

Bell has fallen in love with one of the music hall performers – Alice Lovell and her acrobatic kiwi birds – and faces a race against time to find the perpetrator before Alice tops the bill at the Electric Alhambra Music Hall and faces certain death.

In Rankin’s steampunk world, the British Empire has conquered Mars and a truce of some description exists between Venus, Jupiter and the Empire. During his adventures, Bell and his companions face dangerous adversaries from across the solar system.

Fans of Rankin will love this novel but if you’ve never dipped your toe into Rankin’s surreal waters now could be the time with this enjoyable romp across worlds and through space.

About Phil Lunt (950 Articles)
Hailing from the rain-sodden, North Western wastelands of England, Phil has dabbled in many an arcane vocation. From rock-star to conveyor-belt scraper at a bread factory, 'Dairy Logistics Technician' to world's worst waiter. He's currently a freelance designer, actor, sometime writer/editor and Chair of the British Fantasy Society. He is on the Global Frequency and is still considering becoming an astronaut when he grows up.

1 Comment on The Mechanical Messiah and Other Marvels of the Modern Age by Robert Rankin. Book Review

  1. A good book in my opinion, most enjoyable read and steampunk fans will like it.

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