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27 July 1949 |
Parsons Green, London, United Kingdom
Robert Fleming Rankin (born 27 July 1949) is a prolific British author of comedic fantasy novels. Born in Parsons Green, London, he started writing in the late 1970s, and first entered the bestsellers lists with Snuff Fiction in 1999, by which time his previous eighteen books had sold around one million copies. His books are a mix of science fiction, fantasy, the occult, urban legends, running gags, metafiction, steampunk and outrageous characters. According to the (largely fictional) biography printed in some Corgi ions of his books, Rankin refers to his style as 'Far Fetched Fiction' in the hope that bookshops will let him have a section to himself. Many of Rankin's books are bestsellers.
Most of Rankin's books are set in Brentford, a suburb of London where the author grew up, and which, in his novels, is usually infested with alien conspiracies and/or ancient evil.
In addition to his novels, Rankin held a position as the Writer in Residence of Brentford's Watermans Arts Centre during the 1980s, and organised a regular poetry event there which he claims was the largest in Britain. He also has performed on stage with bands.
Rankin's fan club, The Order of the Golden Sprout (named after Rankin's fixation with the vegetable), maintain a website and arrange events, many around Brentford. In 2009 he was created the first Fellow of The Victorian Steampunk Society in recognition of his contribution to the genre. He lives in Brighton with his wife, Dr. Rachel Heywood-Rankin.
During 2012, Rankin published his first 23 novels (up to and including Fandom of the Operator) on Kindle through his own publishing enterprise - Far Fetched Books - with new cover artwork, making them available to a wider audience, despite many of them being out of print.
Anthologies containing stories by Robert Rankin
In 2008 The Brightonomicon was adapted into a 13-part full-cast audio drama by Hokus Bloke Productions and BBC Audiobooks starring Andy Serkis, David Warner, Jason Isaacs, Rupert Degas, Mark Wing-Davey, Martin Jarvis and Sarah Douglas. Initially released as a 7-CD boxset and as a digital download, the series has now been re-ed for radio transmission, and Robert's first ever radio series aired on BBC7 from 23 August to 15 November 2008. Rankin has also had his novel The Antipope dramatised for audio, and has also read unabridged versions of many of his novels as audiobooks. He is currently recording eleven of his titles for Audible (audio books) which will become available throughout late 2013 and early 2014. His free, full colour webcomic called Robert Rankin's Empires for Beyond Reality Media in New Zealand, can be viewed online, and illustrated work Alice on Mars will also be released via the same website.
Rankin studied at Ealing School of Art, where he was a contemporary of Freddie Mercury and Alan Lee. He worked for Playboy magazine and illustrated a book about The Beatles before his portfolio was stolen and he abandoned the idea of working as a professional illustrator. However he created many of the sculptures which feature on his book covers, many of which were on display at The Collection, a gallery in Lincoln during September 2010. Some of these works were previously exhibited in Waterstones, Brighton, and at Gunnersbury Park Museum in 2007-8. In 2009 Rankin was commissioned by his publisher to provide a series of new illustrations for his back catalogue of books (from The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse to the present), he also created new internal illustrations for The Brightonomicon, Retromancer and The Japanese Devil Fish Girl and Other Unnatural Attractions. A cartoon by Rankin "The Robot and the Elongated Author" was published in Issue 13 of Murky Depths, and 2010 also saw the publication of his first illustrated book, written by Neil Gardner: "The Bumper Book of Ficts", which was launched on 18 September 2010 in Brentford. A limited hard-back ion of "Empires" was launched in the UK mid-2012 which is now sold out. In July 2013 Rankin's own publishing house Far-Fetched Books launched "Alice on Mars", in a limited ion of 3000; this book is being made into a full-length feature film by award-winning independent film-maker Martin Gooch. July 2014 saw the release of his next illustrated book, "The Divine Commodore", also published by Far-Fetched Books in a limitied run of 3000. He has recently completed writing his memoires which were published in the autumn of 2015 under the title I,Robert.