The Abnormalities Of Stringent Strange by Rhys Hughes. Book review

THE ABNORMALITIES OF STRINGENT STRANGE by Rhys Hughes, Meteor House, signed limited edition p/b, $25.00,

Reviewed by David Brzeski

I liked it. It’s funny. Go order a copy.

I suppose that’s not enough is it? You insist on more details about what it’s actually like don’t you?

OK, it’s a pulp adventure about a half-man, half-gorilla pilot hero from the late thirties who gets sent centuries in to the future to fight evil…. sort of.

Imagine if Douglas Adams and the Zucker Brothers collaborated on a pulp movie. Maybe Mel Brooks would direct, with some script tweaks by Oliver Postgate. It has no soup dragon, but there are telepathic winking dinosaurs! Who could not love telepathic winking dinosaurs? I’m talking telepathic winking tyrannosaurs wearing red fezzes here!

I’ve read a few alternate history stories, in which the Germans won the second world war, but none of those future histories had the Nazis eventually evolve into peace-loving hippies!

Then there are the Rushans. There are no Rushans in Russia! Fans of classic Canadian rock will get the joke very quickly.

Rhys Hughes has come up with the most bizarre and original concept of time travel I’ve ever encountered. I defy readers to read the explanation of how it works and not hear it in the voice of the late Peter Jones. I’m sure there’s a chapter on the subject in a certain galactic guide-book.

I had the impression early on that the author was breaking the 4th wall in this novel, but it turned out that the 4th wall had been very shoddily constructed by cowboy builders and was just full of holes, which made it prone to collapsing on a regular basis.

Sadly, this book is never going to sell more than four copies. I expect, decades after the death of Rhys Hughes, it’ll become a major cult and legions of inadequate authors will attempt to write sequels from notes found on the back of old off-license receipts found stuffed in the author’s mattress after his passing.

You could prove me wrong though. It’s still early enough to pre-order the book from Meteor House and have your name printed in the book. You can even order a deleted scene, which will not appear in the book, but will be printed out exclusively for you and mailed with your copy of the book. Plus… pre-order the book and you will receive a free sequel novella in ebook form, which will be emailed to you. If you travel back in time and pre-order the book and a deleted scene before November 30th, you will also make it into the novella as a character. The time-travel challenged amongst you have already missed the boat on that one.

In conclusion, I can state that with absolute confidence that no one writes this sort of thing better than Rhys Hughes. Granted that’s mainly due to the fact that no one else writes this sort of thing at all… perhaps with good reason.