“Robert Rankin is a deep-down humourist, one of those rare guys who can always make me laugh”
THE YEAR IS 2050 AND THE WORLD IS ONCE MORE COMING TO AN END
When society collapsed in 1999 with the Nuclear Holocaust Event, things got rather dull on Planet Earth. Sickly green survivors huddled in their mouldy bomb-proof bunkers, watching reality TV and waiting for things to sort themselves out.
Rex Mundi has just got himself a new job, Religious Affairs Correspondent for Buddhavision, one of the big three television companies that now control the world. Rex’s employer is Dalai Dan, the 153rd incarnation of the Dalai Lama. Dan hosts Nemesis, the most popular TV game show in human history. A show that has taken sex and violence to new extremes and Dan is not an easy Lama to work for.
Rex’s first day on the job hasn’t gone altogether well. He has been blown up, narrowly avoided being eaten by cannibals and finally tortured to death. He remains optimistic however that his second day might go better.
On the Planet Phnaargos, there is little optimism. Since the dawn of Earth history the Phnaargs, a race addicted to television, have enjoyed a TV reality show called The Earthers. Broadcast live from Planet Earth. In fact Phnaargian “script advisors” have secretly influenced Mankind’s history literally from the Stone Age to provide entertainment for their people. The Nuclear Holocaust Event was a ratings topper, but now the viewing figures are falling. There is just not enough exciting things happening down on Planet Earth.
Happily a Phnaargian TV exec has come up with a plan: travel back in time and reinstate a popular Earth character from the past. One whom, had he made a different decision, would have changed the course of Earth history and so avoid the Nuclear Holocaust Event. That individual is Elvis Aron Presley and all the Phnarrgs have to do is travel back to 1958 and persuade Elvis to dodge the draft, thus influencing a generation of American youths to follow suit, in turn preventing the Nuclear Holocaust Event.
Enter Barry The Time-Travelling Brussels Sprout.
And so the stage is set for Armageddon: The Musical, Robert Rankin’s seminal novel (originally published in 1990). Characteristically abundant in off-the-wall concepts and situations, this book is a mind-bending rollercoaster ride through a post-apocalyptic dystopia gone mad, peopled with evil villains, dyscalculic nuclear missiles, corrupt and incompetent executives, mad lesbians and loquacious vegetables; it contains something to offend everyone and is certainly not for the faint-hearted!
Armageddon: The Musical is the first in the three-part Armageddon Quartet that would go on to inspire a generation of comedy fantasy authors; Rankin reveals himself to be a true visionary (who else foresaw the depths to which reality television would plumb - a mere 20 years on?). Rankin’s original ideas and unique literary style make him one of England’s finest comic writers. “A sort of drinking man’s H. G. Wells” as a Midweek critic put it. Armageddon earned Rankin death threats from Elvis fans but added to his already established reputation as a writer unlike any other. Love him or hate him, the choice is yours.
The Armageddon Quartet:
Armageddon: The Musical
They Came and Ate Us
Armageddon II: The B-Movie
The Suburban Book of the Dead
Armageddon III: The Remake