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Snuff Fiction

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Society's plug is about to be pulled, big time. At the stroke of midnight on 31 December 1999, computer systems all over the world will crash and plunge us into chaos. But so what if it's the downfall of civilization? These things happen. We'll just have to take it on the chin. Or at least up the nose. Because rejoice and give thanks, snuff is making a comeback. And who do Society's plug is about to be pulled, big time. At the stroke of midnight on 31 December 1999, computer systems all over the world will crash and plunge us into chaos. But so what if it's the downfall of civilization? These things happen. We'll just have to take it on the chin. Or at least up the nose. Because rejoice and give thanks, snuff is making a comeback. And who do we thank for this? Who is the man who brings joy to the nostrils of the nation? The tender blender with the blinder grinder? The master blaster with the louder powder? The geezer with the sneezer that's a real crowd pleaser? Mr Doveston, that's who, and this is his story. So forget about impending doom and enter the glamorous world of snuff-snorting. Oh, and don't forget to bring a hanky. Things could get a little messy later. Robert Rankin's latest novel gleefully chronicles the collapse of civilisation, as the world slides into chaos with a smile on its face and a finger up its nose. Prophetic vision of an imminent dystopia? Or just the rabid ranting of a snuff-crazed technophobe?


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Society's plug is about to be pulled, big time. At the stroke of midnight on 31 December 1999, computer systems all over the world will crash and plunge us into chaos. But so what if it's the downfall of civilization? These things happen. We'll just have to take it on the chin. Or at least up the nose. Because rejoice and give thanks, snuff is making a comeback. And who do Society's plug is about to be pulled, big time. At the stroke of midnight on 31 December 1999, computer systems all over the world will crash and plunge us into chaos. But so what if it's the downfall of civilization? These things happen. We'll just have to take it on the chin. Or at least up the nose. Because rejoice and give thanks, snuff is making a comeback. And who do we thank for this? Who is the man who brings joy to the nostrils of the nation? The tender blender with the blinder grinder? The master blaster with the louder powder? The geezer with the sneezer that's a real crowd pleaser? Mr Doveston, that's who, and this is his story. So forget about impending doom and enter the glamorous world of snuff-snorting. Oh, and don't forget to bring a hanky. Things could get a little messy later. Robert Rankin's latest novel gleefully chronicles the collapse of civilisation, as the world slides into chaos with a smile on its face and a finger up its nose. Prophetic vision of an imminent dystopia? Or just the rabid ranting of a snuff-crazed technophobe?

53 review for Snuff Fiction

  1. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    Earlier this year, someone on an online forum I frequent offered to send a mystery box of books to anyone who would be willing to pay to have them shipped. Given that I like free books, I had read enough of this person's reviews to know he had good taste in fiction, and I always like to discover new books and authors, I took him up on his offer. I received a nice selection of books in a large Flat Rate box, and this was one of the books among them. I've heard the name Robert Rankin before, but I Earlier this year, someone on an online forum I frequent offered to send a mystery box of books to anyone who would be willing to pay to have them shipped. Given that I like free books, I had read enough of this person's reviews to know he had good taste in fiction, and I always like to discover new books and authors, I took him up on his offer. I received a nice selection of books in a large Flat Rate box, and this was one of the books among them. I've heard the name Robert Rankin before, but I didn't know much about him, and now that I've finished this book, I think maybe I was thinking this guy was Rudy Rucker, or even Charles Stross (I don't know how to explain how my memory works). I mean, Rankin probably has more in common with Terry Pratchett than either of those authors, given the nature of this book. Then again, the cover of the book features what could best be described as a dominatrix teapot, so I'm not sure why I was all that surprised. The story follows a character named Doveston, narrated by his childhood friend Edwin, who has been by his side from his days as a fast-talking street urchin to a current-day (-ish) tobacco mogul. "Story", though, might be an overly generous term, as what little plot there is is just there to keep us moving from one random encounter to another. Sure, we see what drove Doveston on his journey, but mostly this book is a collection of humorous anecdotes from his life. One of those anecdotes involves the first time Doveston grew his own tobacco (genetically modified, of course) with plans to sell them at a Woodstock-type music festival in the London borough of Brentford. Hijinks, of course, ensue, namely because Doveston and Edwin are both around fifteen at the time of this anecdote, but also because Doveston's homegrown tobacco was genetically modified. The book made me laugh at its absurdity. Rankin has a clever, witty style, coupled with a wacky imagination that I can appreciate. Doveston has a lot of charm, but he's also rarely every up to any good for anyone else; much of his antics develop because he's trying to get what he wants at the expense of others (which usually turns out to be Edwin). In fact, much of the story is keeping up with Doveston and predicting what's going to happen to him next. I enjoyed the book, but not enough to seek out any of Rankin's other books. With Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett already on my shelf, and with Rankin feeling more like an imitator than an original, I just don't see myself picking up the rest of his catalog.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Dehoff

    While Rankin often employs dark humor, this one is even darker than most, focusing on the narrator's unfortunate friendship with tobacco magnate, terrorist, and generally underhanded guy Doveston. He's constantly helping out Doveston with some scheme or other, pretty much always resulting in Doveston coming out ahead and his getting screwed over. These schemes range from running a tobacco plantation in Brentford to bringing back snuff in the late twentieth century to the abolition of income tax While Rankin often employs dark humor, this one is even darker than most, focusing on the narrator's unfortunate friendship with tobacco magnate, terrorist, and generally underhanded guy Doveston. He's constantly helping out Doveston with some scheme or other, pretty much always resulting in Doveston coming out ahead and his getting screwed over. These schemes range from running a tobacco plantation in Brentford to bringing back snuff in the late twentieth century to the abolition of income tax and secret legalization of all drugs. Written in 1999, it also makes use of the then-current Y2K panic, presenting a worst-case scenario that allows Doveston to pretty much take control of the world. Of course, there are also plenty of running gags and references to Rankin's other books. Norman Hartnell, the local shopkeeper who builds seemingly impossible machines from common household parts, is a significant character; and many other recurring characters and ideas receive mentions. I did think that, while the sentient plants grown by Doveston's mentor towards the beginning of the book did return, it wasn't as much of a payoff as I would have hoped. But then, a large part of Rankin's style is that you can never really guess what's going to become important and what isn't.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    It's well known that Rankin is a technophobe who not only doesn't own a word processor, he writes longhand in exercise books and hands them to a secretary to type up. Snuff Fiction is his Y2K novel and includes such gems as 'all the systems of contemporary society are a chain. If 10% of the links fail the chain still fails.' Chain != network. If he can't have millennial paranoia via religion he'll have it via the assumption that the world is going to turn into some kind of cosy catastrophe in It's well known that Rankin is a technophobe who not only doesn't own a word processor, he writes longhand in exercise books and hands them to a secretary to type up. Snuff Fiction is his Y2K novel and includes such gems as 'all the systems of contemporary society are a chain. If 10% of the links fail the chain still fails.' Chain != network. If he can't have millennial paranoia via religion he'll have it via the assumption that the world is going to turn into some kind of cosy catastrophe in the Survivors mode. Well, as we know now, it didn't. Mind you, he could always say it's a parallel world, where Brentford has Mexican and Bushman quarters, and 1968 sees a vast festival called Brentstock. JFK gets a mention or two (so it must be parallel-world fiction...!). The 'snuff' of the title is the up-your-nose stuff (no, not cocaine) which is turned into a social hit by a canny entrepreneur called Doveston. The earlier parts of the book, which describe a 1950s childhood, are quite fun and presumably describe Rankin's own childhood in a liberal-with-the-truth kind of way.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Rainey

    I don't imagine I will read any other books by Robert Rankin. This was a gift from my roommate; and I can understand why they chose it for me, they know I like Terry Pratchett. To me, this felt like Pratchett without the heart or insight. This book felt like someone thought they were far more clever than they were and wanted to show off how clever they were. There were no characters that were likable and as the story progressed I asked myself more and more "Why am I still reading this?". The I don't imagine I will read any other books by Robert Rankin. This was a gift from my roommate; and I can understand why they chose it for me, they know I like Terry Pratchett. To me, this felt like Pratchett without the heart or insight. This book felt like someone thought they were far more clever than they were and wanted to show off how clever they were. There were no characters that were likable and as the story progressed I asked myself more and more "Why am I still reading this?". The running jokes aren't really running jokes, by the end of the book a lot of them feel like jokes that have been beaten to death, the pages punished me more and more as it went on. If I could give it 2.5 stars I would. I didn't hate it, I didn't love it, I meh'ed it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Erik

    "Snuff Fiction is definitely one of the funniest books I have read in a while. The wit and cleverness of Rankin’s writing is found on every page and he continually keeps the reader intrigued with twists, turns, and turns of phrase. I chose this book because it was a stand alone story and if this book is indicative of the remainder of his work, I look forward to reading more of it." - https://thepastduebookreview.com/2017...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Velma

    Like Terry Pratchett and Roy Chubby Brown has a hideous love child. I can’t even.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Tubbs

    The comedy is of a good level and is intelligent.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Terry Blake

    Its Rankin, nuts, insane, funny and a little confusing. It will keep you sane.

  9. 4 out of 5

    GraniteBeltWeb

    One of his better book in my opinion.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sean Keefe

    This one was ok, a couple of laugh out loud moments, but generally nothing too special. Still, it’s a stern man who’s determined not to enjoy a Rankin book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Phill Phree

    It always helps to have read previous Rankin books before his later ones, but Snuff Fiction takes all the usual in jokes and self referential humour and gives it a darker, much darker twist than ever before. The humour here is balanced by the horrors suffered by Edwin, the narrator, as he gets all the bad luck while his childhood friend Doveston sets him up for fall after fall and gets all the success at his expense. Usually the person who has had all the bad times gets a reprieve sooner or It always helps to have read previous Rankin books before his later ones, but Snuff Fiction takes all the usual in jokes and self referential humour and gives it a darker, much darker twist than ever before. The humour here is balanced by the horrors suffered by Edwin, the narrator, as he gets all the bad luck while his childhood friend Doveston sets him up for fall after fall and gets all the success at his expense. Usually the person who has had all the bad times gets a reprieve sooner or later, but not here. Here the humour of the situation, whilst there and very funny, takes a back seat and the ultimate fate of Edwin is not just an example of how Rankin can avoid humour when he likes but how he can, if he wants, write true, horrific, heart wrenching drama and do it far less pretentiously than most writers who claim to be serious. Edwin's friendship with Doveston, even though Doveston basically just uses him all the way through, is written realistically, making Edwin a truly sympathetic character. Unlike many of Rankin's characters who only appear in one story, Edwin evokes sympathy and is written 3 dimensionally. He is not written simply for shock value and he is fleshed out as a character without the contrived emo crap that other writers use as a substitute for genuine character depth. I feel that those who do not like this book have just seen it as another Rankin book and have not tried to understand why it is different. It is hands down the most mature of his books, despite the usual madcap stuff going on, and for me the best thing Rankin has ever written, feeling like it truly comes from the heart as opposed to being fun and frenetic for the hell of it. Go in without expectations for best results.

  12. 4 out of 5

    George

    My Scottish friend, whose British sense of humor I enjoy, recommended this book. Apparently, Robert Rankin is very popular in Great Britain. Well, I thought it was a ridiculous book!! I wasn’t very funny, except for two or three paragraphs and one joke – hardly worth the two hours of your life it will take to read the 360 pages of nonsense. In my opinion a complete waste of time.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Martin Haynes

    Slightly overtaken by the events but the running gags are there together with some toe curling jokes which elicit the response 'you can't say that in this day and age'. All in all, a bit of a romp!! If you like laughing and the occasional cringe, this could be right down your street!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nigel Bachmann

    A colleague leant this to me but I'm afraid it did not float my boat (sorry Jo). I struggled through to the end, as I felt I should give it every chance but it was a relief when I finally finished it. I know many people find him funny but it just doesn't work for me.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tavrin Callas

    I rated five stars. It's a tradition, or an old charter or something.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Willoughby

    Fantastic Far Fetched Fiction.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Webcowgirl

    Never particularly lives up to the fun of the first few chapters with the man-eating plants. 250 pages of slogging without a payoff. Such a poor way to spend my time.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Zane

    A wonderful retelling of the last 30 years at the end of the 20th century in a bizarre parody of our own world. In Rankin's absurd, dry and off-the-wall style it's hilarious and engaging.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Smarty79

    Feast of black British absurd comedy, Adrian Mole meats Kurt Vonnegut.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Yaron Tapiero

    One of the funniest books I've ever read!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    The second part of this book was actually hilarious!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Keith

  23. 4 out of 5

    b k royles

  24. 5 out of 5

    Vivienne Barclay

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dave Levey

  26. 4 out of 5

    Thebrilliantdog

  27. 5 out of 5

    Scott

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mark Edward

  29. 5 out of 5

    Andy Hulme

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tim Chaplin

    A load of old toot :)

  31. 5 out of 5

    Mollie

    Snuff Fiction by Robert Rankin (2000)

  32. 5 out of 5

    Ethel Margaret

    Recommended. Supposed to be very funny.

  33. 4 out of 5

    Fred

  34. 4 out of 5

    Gareth

  35. 5 out of 5

    William

  36. 5 out of 5

    Kim Hackman

  37. 4 out of 5

    Izadora .

  38. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

  39. 4 out of 5

    Mike Lietz

  40. 5 out of 5

    Nathanael

  41. 5 out of 5

    James

  42. 5 out of 5

    Dannii (lilbob1980)

  43. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  44. 5 out of 5

    Richard Emslie

  45. 4 out of 5

    Nicolei

  46. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

  47. 4 out of 5

    Clare.adinet

  48. 4 out of 5

    Karen Yuill

  49. 4 out of 5

    Jacqui

  50. 4 out of 5

    Paul

  51. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  52. 4 out of 5

    Jayden Caine

  53. 4 out of 5

    Jonny R.

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