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Audio Comedy Review

Book Cover

The Brightonomicon


Author: Robert Rankin
Starring: David Warner, Rupert Degas, Andy Serkis, Michael Fenton-Stevens and Mark Wing-Davey
BBC Audiobooks
RRP: £30.00
ISBN: 978 1 4056 758 4
Available 14 February 2008

When Hugo Rune rescues a young man from drowning he persuades him to become his assistant in solving twelve mysteries. Based on ancient constellations of the zodiac, they are hidden somewhere in the streets of Brighton. Rizla, the young man, agrees to help. After all, he's lost his memory, has nowhere to go, and if he doesn't solve the puzzles before the year is out, it'll be the end of the world as we know it...

Were you aware that there are, hidden in the streets of Brighton, twelve ancient constellations, like the Hangleton Hound and the Bevendean Bat... and that on each one hangs a tale, a tale so strange that only The Lad Himself, that inveterate spinner of tales and talker of the toot, Hugo Rune, can get to the bottom of them. And he'd better do it quickly because the fate of mankind rests in his hands.

The Brightonomicon is a 7-CD collection from the BBC that will appeal to those who enjoy the scribblings of Terry Pratchett (which I don't) and still find The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy hilariously funny (I outgrew that years ago). Like both of the aforementioned examples The Brightonomicon takes one half-baked idea and stretches it to the point of breaking.

Large parts of this are incomprehensibly pointless, and more than a little silly and my ears bled hearing the great David Warner having to act with some of the worst dialogue I've ever had the misfortune to listen to.

The street slang created and used in this story sounds like it was thought up by a bloke in his late 50s who is so far removed from reality that he thinks Brighton is a pretty neat place to base a sci-fi comedy story - mainly because he lives there... hang on a minute.

Then there's the continuity issues. We keep being reminded that this is set in the '60s, and the author goes out of his way to remind us of this fact. So why then does he let several cultural references, slip through the net? The most obvious being the reference to The Predator movie in episode five. Oops!

This is one of those productions that you will either fall in love with (in which case you'll probably start quoting passages to your other Brightonomicon friends who live in cyberspace while giving over a portion of your bedroom to a shrine to Robert Rankin) or you'll find it all incredible puerile and wonder what on earth all the fuss is about. Guess which category I fall under.


Nick Smithson

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