Hah. I knew you couldn't resist clicking on that node title.

"The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse" is a novel by Robert Rankin. It was first published in 2002 by Gollancz. I have the "fourth impression", whatever that means (I'm guessing the fourth reprinting), which was also published in 2002. Its ISBN code is 0-575-07313-6. And it's as kickass as.

If you've ever read any of Terry Pratchett's material, and I can imagine that many noders will have done, then you should be right at home with Robert Rankin. He's as zany as. Although he hasn't decided to set his novels in one unified world (as Terry Pratchett did with the Discworld novels), he has written a great deal of diverse material, and proved that he is definitely on a par with, if not exceeding, the skills of Pratchett when it comes to writing humourous fantasy novels.

Plot overview

The plot of this book is, suffice to say, very weird, so bear with me.

The book begins with the main character, Jack, making his way to "The Big City" to seek his fortune. After a nasty encounter with a nasty farmer, which finishes with a painful clockwork pistol related accident1, Jack eventually finds his way to a town. But it is not the town he was expecting. It is, in fact Toy City, which used to be called Toy Town. Unfortunately, Toy City isn't really all that jolly any more. For one thing, there is a serial killer loose on the streets. And he's not just taking out your average Joe, as far as victims go. He's going right to the top. To the nursery rhyme characters..

When Jack first arrives, he knows nothing of this. Upon first checking into a bar, after a thoroughly confusing chat with the barman, he notices that the barman appears to be made of wood. While eating some food and trying to think of why exactly this barman was made of wood, Jack was upset to find that his new horse, Anthrax, which he had taken from the evil farmer, had been stolen. Even more unfortunately, when he goes out to try to find Anthrax, he is mugged in a horrible and vicious way. He comes round from his unconsciousness to find that instead of the Police, his mum, or Natalie Portman2, it is a stuffed, talking bear that is waking him up. This bear appears to be called Eddie, and he says that he is the bear of Bill Winkie, the private detective who has been hired to try to solve the case of the murderer who is taking out the Nursery Rhyme characters. Unfortunately, Bill has disappeared, leaving Eddie to carry on with the case. Unfortunately, Eddie would rather be getting his head drunk3, but he decides to take Jack under his wing. The two end up working together to solve the case, although there is obviously a whole lot more to the book than that. The plot is as complex and twisty turny as.

Eddie's ready to take on the challenge and when he teams up with Jack, the two set out on an epic adventure that will ultimately lead them into uncharted realms of the human psyche.

Not to mention a lot of heavy drinking, bad behavious, fast car chases, gratuitous sex and violence, bizarre toy fetishism and all round grossness.

Of a type not normally associated with Toy Town.
- From the blurb

The Jokes

This book is, predictably enough, absolutely hilarious. From the first moment where Jack is woken up by a stuffed teddy bear, you know this is going to be good, and after that the in jokes come thick and fast...

  • A whole host of people comment on the fact that Jack's name is rubbish, because they don't need any more Jacks in Toy City (what with Jack from Jack and Jill, etc...)
  • For no apparent reason, Jack is constantly referred to as an absolute gormster, through out the whole book. You might not think this is funny yet, but wait until you get to the end.
  • The Murders of Nursery Rhyme characters are just hilarious4.
  • Jack and Eddie spend a lot of time getting sloshed. Ratted. Ping Pong Tiddlied. Fucked. Battered. Abso-fucking-lutely pissed out of their tiny little meat or sawdust filled heads. The first time Jack wakes up to find Eddie hanging (which is actually just his kind of hangover cure) is excellent..
  • Eddie, although a very intelligent bear, can somehow not grasp the concept of saying that "something is as good as something else" or "he is as clever as her". He always misses out the last bit, leading him to say "Let's get as drunk as" quite a lot.
  • Just as an example of the kind of word backflipping that goes on routinely in Rankin's head, try this. After entering a building which was guarded by a toy frog which constantly spoke in rhymes, Jack asked "What was that all about". Eddie replied "Haven't you ever heard of energetic engineering?"
  • More!! Many More!! Even more than that!!

I can't remember more off the top of my head, but suffice to say that any book which features it's author pictured on the back in a Men In Black suit, shades, and holding a Bosch power tool, is not exactly going to be too serious. I was disappointed to see that there were no "Really amazing rotary machine guns like Blaine had in Predator", but crossing over in jokes between series could lead to a nasty 10 car pile up on the freeway of reader understanding, so I guess it's for the best. Trust me, as long as you have some sort of sense of humoure (preferably reasonaly juvenile ...) this book will make you laugh.

As anyone with an average grasp of English would probably have spotted, this story is set in a City populated by stuffed toys, wooden barmen, nursery rhyme characters and a serial killer. I would just like to point out that this book is not for children as the cast of characters might lead you to believe, it's actually more suited to people of the age that enjoy Discworld, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Red Dwarf and other similar books. Anyone who has read any of Rankin's previous work, such as The Armaggedon Trilogy will definitely like the book.

The plot overview above covers only the first few chapters, and this is a pretty hefty book, so suffice to say there are a heap of interesting plot twists. For me to spoil it any further would be an act of utmost cruelty to people who haven't read the book, but I can say that the plot, especially the ending, is much more interesting and deep than you first might perceive. You wouldn't expect up to date political commentary (even if it is a little insane) at the end of this book, but read it and you will find that's exactly what you get. It's as politically thought provoking as.

Overall, for anyone who like Pratchett, or any of the authors mentioned above, I can highly recommend giving this a try. It should be out in Paperback now, and is no doubt available from all good bookshops, and many online stores such as Amazon.

1 - Jack, before he came to Toy City, worked in a clockwork factory.
2 - I feel that in the circumstances, any of those would have been acceptable.
3 - when they first meet, Eddie's legs are drunk. Because of him being stuffed with sawdust, any alcohol he drinks will steadily trickle down to his legs. Since being drunk in your head is preferable, Eddie likes to get hung upside down by the barman, to enjoy a more pleasant alcohol abuse experience.
4 - which all happen in very ingenious / ironic ways. Honorable mention to Little Boy Blue, Toy City's leading fashion designer, is "shish kebabed with his own shepherd's crook". Like, ouch.

Cheers to oakling for spotting some typos.

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