An interview with Robert Rankin
We interview writing genius extraordinaire and father of far fetched fiction, Mr Robert Rankin.
- So, how would you describe your books to someone who’s never read them before?
Intense, exciting, sexy, well-hung, tall….oh…”books”, rectangular.
- If you could be any flavour of fruit pastille, how do you think it would affect your writing work?
- You are the originator of ‘far fetched fiction’ – do you think the genre is catching on?
I certainly hope NOT!
- In 2012 you set up your own publishing company, ‘Far Fetched Books’, in order to reprint some of your earlier novels. What’s that process like, and how much of a challenge was this?
My lovely wife and charming son helped me set it up to publish my first 23 books in ebook format, because they had virtually vanished from the shop shelves . We then thought it would be wonderful to publish hardbacks that real publishers would refuse to publish. Which I am currently doing and enjoying very much.
- Earlier this year, we caught up with you at conventions promoting your latest book, ‘The Divine Commodore’ (and have to say, really enjoyed it!). Can you talk a bit about your motivations or inspirations for writing it?
The Divine Commodore is the latest in this format, it was inspired by The Longitude Punk’d exhibition at the Royal Observatory. It is about a Don Quixote/Baron Munchausen/Robert Rankin sort of chap, who with his crew of Kiwi birds sets out upon a magical adventure. It made me cry at the end. You can buy it from my Facebook page. Please do, I need the money.
- There’s a pretty cool exhibition going on at the Royal Observatory called Longitude Punk’d, which we hear you’re part of. How did you persuade the folks there to do it?
A friend named Peter Harrow was approached about a Steampunk exhibition, he passed it on to another friend who asked if I would like to be involved. It was quite an honour to have my creations put in the Royal Observatory. The chap who was hanging my pictures had just moved the Harrison clock, he told me it is worth £25,000,000. he would not let my wife wind it.
- What’s the weirdest fan interaction you’ve ever had?
I don’t have weird fans! I have sophisticated readers.
- What book are you most proud of writing?
You try to make each book the best you have ever written. The last series I wrote had one of my favourite characters though, Darwin the talking monkey butler. My next book has another of my favourites, Barry the Time Sprout.
- Brentford is a recurring location in many of your novels. What is the reason for this, and can you confirm that it is in fact the site of the future apocalypse, Omega Point, manifest destiny or space-time singularity (whichever happens first)?
Brentford is the site of the Biblical Eden, which gives it the edge on most other places.
- If you were stranded on a desert island, which place would you be most glad you’re not in?
- We really like the fez. We’re hoping there’s a fascinating story attached to your wearing it?
Interesting, as I have never worn a fez in my life. Perhaps you are alluding to my red conical head.
- What UK conventions can we expect to see you at in future?
London Film and Comic Con, Sci Fi Weekender, Sci Fi Ball. There’s lots, check my website “Far Fetched Books”, I have to, because I never really know where I am anyway.
- And finally, if there’s one thing you could ask the team at Renegade Revolution, what would it be?
“What time does the revolution start? Only I have a dinner engagement and I would hate to miss it….”
Jojo: The Revolution’s already begun, but don’t worry – we’re here to stay. Have some dinner first and then join us. I’d hate for you to kick things off on an empty stomach!
Holly: In fact, why not bring your dinner companions with you afterwards – the more the merrier! ¡Viva!
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. May the sprouts be ever abundant on your plate!
And for all you fine fellows out there who want to know more, check out Robert Rankin’s website, Far Fetched Books.
main image from The Divine Commodore, © Robert Rankin
inline author photo © Robert Rankin, Far Fetched Books
Longitude Punk’d banner © The Royal Observatory Greenwich