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Dafter Than a Box of Hair

The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse
By Robert Rankin

At long last, the Oracle, who has been dark these many months, has finally re-illuminated and is back with more literary goodness (and a fair amount of badness,as well). Hail, and well-met to all of my disciples and supplicants.

The first thing you may have noticed is that this is not a review about Lowis Lowry's The Giver, as I had previously promised. Before the QQs start, let me say this: I read it. And liked it. But, at the end of the day, there's not much to the book. At least, not enough to write an entertaining review. It was beautifully written, and very sad. The end seemed incomplete made me a little angry. That's really the extent of my opinions. If you're interested, go read it. Done and done.

So...on to the fun stuff. Everyone, I give you the great masterwork by Robert Rankin: The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse. Yes! Behold its majesty! As I've said before, I'm big on names and titles, and this book has what might be the Best Title Ever (it's currently tied with The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear). There's bunnies, there's chocolate, there's the imminent destruction of life as we know it...perfection. It was loaned to me on a whim, and my life is now the richer for it.

The book is a murder mystery (unrelated to sheep, for the most part), set in Toy City. Toy City is not only a city of toys, but also the notable Nursery Rhyme Characters, who, if you want to get PC about it, prefer to be called Preadolescent Poetic Personalities. Well, someone in Toy City has taken a severe dislike to these personages, resenting their fame and wealth (they get royalties on their rhymes, you know), and is systematically murdering each and every one of them, in a manner befitting their...lifestyle. For instance, and I'll hazard a wee [SPOILER] here: Humpty Dumpty is the first get-got- by being boiled in his pool. Get it? Cuz he's an egg. Genius, I say! I'll leave the rest of the murders for you to discover yourself, but I can assure you they are grisly and awesome. Little Boy Blue...yikes. Let's move on, shall we? Yes, I think we better had.

We have our main character, Peter, who is a newcomer to Toy City and his new-found sidekick, Eddie Bear-yes, he's stuffed- who are trying to solve these murders and somewhere along the way they end up becoming the prime suspects. Much of the book is spent going from location to location, trying to outrun the Toy City police in their little clockwork car. The plot is good- entertaining enough, though it gets a bit muddled towards the end. The real treasure of this book is not really the plot, but just the pure enjoyment of reading about the different toys and how they act when they are in their...err...native habitat? Rankin's writing style is also fantastic. He's quick, smart, hilarious...and British. Very British. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but it definitely comes out in the writing. Here's an example:

"'Please don't whistle,' said the farmer. 'It aggravates my Gout.'
'I am perplexed,' said the whistler. 'How can whistling aggravate Gout?'
'Gout is the name of my goat,' the farmer explained. 'I have a pig called Palsy, and a cat called Canker. Once I owned a dog named Novinger's syndrome*, but his howling upset my wife, so I sold him to a tinker.'"

That exchange comes about a page an a half into the story. I knew Mr. Rankin and I would get on famously after this. His dialogue is spot-on. Very funny and full of puns as you can see. If you're looking for a good example of well-written dialogue, read this book. The holes in the plot and the lack of comprehensive character development are completely redeemed (or simply rendered unnecessary) just because the book is so frakkin' fun to read. The farmer in question also has a horse named Anthrax. Awesome. I want, nay, NEED, a horse named Anthrax. When you get to the part when all of the different toy religions are explained, let me know. My Favorite: The Daughters of the Unseeable Upness (dolls who worship what's above them, which they cannot see because their eyes close when their heads tip back).

...And what about the Bunnies? Well, they're made of chocolate. To give you more than that would kinda spoil things, so you'll just have to read the book to find out about those.

Final thoughts? The book was awesome. A bit of fluff that will go perfectly on a plane (which is where I read it) or similar. If you're looking for ground-breaking literature, look esewhere. Try something Russian. This book is for those with a forgiving literary eye and a good sense of humor.

Lastly, I want to thank everyone for the great Sci-Fi recommendations! There were so many that sounded interesting, and it was really tough to choose, but in the end I settled on Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson. 50 EXP goes to Quincyzee for the referral! Thanks, man!

*Does anyone know what Novinger's syndrome is? Not even Wikipedia could tell me. :(

Tired of the same old fantasy and sci-fi books? Care to keep up with the Oracle in her quest for wordy-goodness? Follow along so we'll have something to talk about! Here's what we have on deck for next time:
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

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Oracle's Cult of the Literati

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