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"Like most people, I didn't meet and talk to Rant Casey until after he was dead."—Wallace Boyer (☼ Car Salesman)
Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey is a novel by Chuck Palahniuk in the form of an oral biography. It covers the life and death of Buster Landru "Rant" Casey through a series of contradictory firsthand accounts, each of which usually mean at least three different things, most of which appear shallow, misinformed or even downright absurdist until The Reveal.
Contains examples of:
- Apocalyptic Log: It is subtly implied that the setting used to be real, before the Historians started changing everything. As in, this world being described was ours, but it changed to the reality we know and never noticed, just like we won't notice when it happens again.
- Arc Words: Boosting, the Daytimers, the Nighttimers and Party Crashing.
- Everything Neddy Nelson says.
- Reporting for Graphic Traffic, this is Tina Something...
- Can't Take Anything with You
- Chekhov's Gun: Many minor characters consistently ramble about grand conspiracies, paranormal activities and seemingly nonexistent technologies that may lead the reader to ignore them. Most of them are spot on.
- There's a big example early on, when one of the minor characters goes on about a conspiracy theory involving Jack the Ripper time-traveling to become his own father.
- Clone Degeneration
- Clone Jesus: Inverted, as the book suggests that Jesus himself may actually be a clone resulting from a man going back in time to rape Mary.
- Compound Interest Time Travel Gambit: Green Taylor Simms accumulates superhuman powers by recursively raping his mother in the past, with the time-loop making him stronger each time it completes.
- Conveniently an Orphan: More and more characters appear to be orphans.
- It may simply be themselves returning to the past to kill them to achieve immortality.
- Did Not Do the Research: ...um, not that Palahniuk can really be blamed for this, but the stains left on sanitary pads are NEVER that small or neatly defined.
- Expospeak: One third of the way in, an entire chapter is dedicated to Shot Dunyan explaining boosted peaks. It's at this point that the novel becomes science fiction.
FingoreToegore: That poor, poor stripper...
- Foregone Conclusion: The testimonies are given after Rant Casey's death.
- Future Slang
- Gambit Pileup
- Kidanova: Rant did everyone as a kid. Everyone. Girls in his class, at leats one teacher...and your mom. Really, he did his friend's mom.
- Loads and Loads of Characters
- Masquerade: As it turns out, the story takes place in the dystopian future where urban dwellers are separated into two social classes, the Daytimers and the Nighttimers, the latter's lifestyle involving demolition derbies known as Party Crashing.
- My Girl Is a Slut / My Girl Is Not a Slut : Played around with very complexly with Echo. She is not a slut, but she makes a living off pretending to be one, telling her clients a story of sexual abuse and exploitation so horrible that they can't bring themselves to have sex with her and keep her on the payroll out of pity.
- My Grandson, Myself: By the conclusion of the narrative, it's revealed that three characters are the same person from different timelines, one of which has been elevated to a superhuman level of power by raping his own mother and becoming a walking, breathing Time Paradox, and the other two trying to stop this from happening.
- No Longer with Us: Inverted. Rant's not dead. He's just in the past trying to stop himself from killing his mother.
- No Periods, Period: Ha ha, you wish.
- The Nose Knows: Rant has a supernatural sense of smell, allowing him to divine people's health from their scent, and being able to be able to identify women by...well, see above.
- Oedipus Complex: This does not even begin to describe Green Taylor Simm's problems.
- Scrapbook Story
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Many characters are guilty of this, especially the scientists, but none of them are as guilty as Green Taylor Simms.
- Tear Jerker: The rape of Irene. Doubles as absolute Squick.
- Techno Babble
- That Liar Lies: Speakers occasionally accuse each other of lying for selfish reasons.
Echo Lawrence: Consider the source. Maybe Shot Dunyun just wants to slip back in time without any competition.
Shot Dunyun: Bullshit.
- The Plague: I think? Well, Rant spreads a rabies epidemic which renders boosting technology unusable. Also, having rabies lets you go back in time. Really.
- There's a reason for that, as the Government apparently boosts a constant effect to everyone that prevents the state necessary for time travel. Without a working port, you're free.
- Turned Against Their Masters: Rant ends up using all of the information given to him by Green Taylor Simms to stop him from raping his own mother.
- Typhoid Mary: Rant contracts rabies and then causes an epidemic that inadvertently leads to a Zombie Apocalypse.
- Urban Segregation: Sort of. The dichotomy is completely time-based (see Masquerade above) with the justification of enabling "effective use and maintenance of infrastructure". This is supposedly motivated by overpopulation, although Lynn Coffey views it as nothing more than systematic oppression.
- Vomit Chain Reaction: How Rant got his nickname.
- Where Are They Now? Epilogue: Echo Lawrence is notably absent from this.
- You Already Changed the Past: The events in the book turn out to be the result of Rant failing to prevent Green Taylor Simms from raping and killing his mother. It is implied that the current reality is the result of all the time-traveling and all the events resolve to a universe where the novel is considered a work of fiction.