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For the sake of this article, "Far-fetched fiction" refers to the literary works of Robert Rankin. Allegedly, it was a term coined to let Rankin get his own shelf in bookstores; he's since managed it by the more mundane method of selling an imperial truckload of books. (He refuses to acknowledge the Metric truckload)
The works started with the Brentford trilogy (eight books), and also contains the Armageddon octology (three books), although characters such as Hugo Rune, Omally and Pooley, Lazlo Woodbine, Barry the time sprout and Rex Mundi pop up all over the shop. Many Running Gags occur among the books, and a rule of the world suggested in one book may crop up in another when you're not looking. On the other hand, there's not a solid continuity to the books, as signaled by the fact that the world has off-handedly ended in multiple different ways at the end of several books.
Most of the books happily throw improbable sci-fi or fantasy elements at totally unprepared civilian targets, have chapters that contain completely tangential stories, and can focus on the mundanity of life when the world is near doom.
Perhaps the best way to describe Rankin's books is that of a good, but very drunken, storyteller telling intriguing but weird tall tales about old friends in a pub, until the story ends or he collapses, whichever happens first.
Far Fetched Fiction contains examples of:
- Mind Screw
- Noodle Implements: Blown to smithereens in Sprout Mask Replica. Also several characters are described as dying in a freak incident involving "Object X and object Y" ,
- Retro Universe: While technology reaches into standard futuristic fare, the citizens of Brentford still seem to live a quiet life, down to the fact that the local pub deals in pre-decimalisation money.
- Running Gag: It is a well known fact, to those who know it well, that the now legendary Rankin books contain several Running Gags. This is a tradition or an old charter, or something, and while we sure know our running gags, (because in our line of work, knowing you running gags can be the difference between Kicking a kitten and fleeing the ferballs) we couldn't possibly list all of them here, due to transperambulation of pseudo-cosmic anti-matter.
- What Do You Mean It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: One of them was confirmed. The rest are merely deemed 'incredibly likely'.
- Winds of Destiny Change: The lead character of Sprout Mask Replica has the ability to change major things with his minor actions, although he really doesn't use it wisely.
- Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Many characters quoth things, without warning, and use old phrases.