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Robert Fleming Rankin was born in 1949. Perhaps best known among fan circles for his bright white suits and truly astonishing shirts, he attended Ealing School of Art where he met, befriended, and spilled boiling hot coffee on a young Freddie Mercury, who "died tragically still owing me that three quid from 1972" (taken from the dedication in The Book of Ultimate Truths). He has apparentlyhad a total of 39 jobs including illustrator, off-licence manager, market stall trader, rock singer and garden gnome salesman. However, he also claims to be a "Magus to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Sprout, Twelfth Dan Master of Dimac, poet, adventurer, swordsman and concert pianist, big game hunter, Best Dressed Man of 1933, mountaineer, lone yachtsman, Shakespearean actor, and topless go-go dancer". He adds that his hobbies "include passive smoking, communicating with the dead and lying about his achievements", so who knows? Not me, I canít even remember the question.

His books specialise in a kind of satirical comic fantasy with a slightly alcoholic, rambling surrealism. Nostradamus, the Wolf of Kabul, or even a certain well-known fan from Dublin, might unexpectedly pop up in a Robert Rankin book, shocking the reader into a laugh at his sheer daring and obscurity. The usual comparison is with Terry Pratchett, but other than the fact that both write comic fantasy, there isnít really that much similarity. The Observer calls his work "stark raving genius" while Robert himself describes it as "far fetched fiction", which is as good a description as any. Midweek describes him as "one of the finest living comic writers ... a sort of drinking manís H.G. Wells", but let's also add that Terry Pratchett calls him "one of the rare guys who can always make me laugh".

His debut novel, The Antipope, was the first part of the Brentford Trilogy (now at five books, the others being The Brentford Triangle, East of Ealing, The Sprouts of Wrath and The Brenford Chainstore Massacre), which are clever satires of all things SF, fantasy, horror, and otherwise. He has also written the Armageddon Trilogy (Armageddon: The Musical, They Came and Ate Us: Armageddon II the B-Movie, and The Suburban Book of the Dead: Armageddon III The Remake), which introduced bemused readers to, amongst other things, a time-travelling Elvis Presley, courtesy of Barry the Time Sprout. He has also written many other books, including such brilliant titles as Raiders of the Lost Car Park, Nostradamus Ate My Hamster, Apocalypso, and The Dance of the Voodoo Handbag.

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