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Summary

Roll up! Roll Up! You have never seen anything like it in your life. The last thing Raymond expected when he went down to his allotment was to be abducted by a flying starfish from Uranus. But these things happen and when he learns that he is being sold as a delicacy in a Venusian auction, he is grateful to be rescued by the travelling circus.

But this is not your everyday circus, this is Professor Merlin’s Greatest Show off Earth, with ancient exotic performers who travel between the inhabited worlds in a Victorian steamship. The professor has a job for Raymond: release the 200 people held prisoner on Saturn and save the population of planet Earth from extinction.

Simon, Raymond’s best friend, is in trouble, too. The Men in Grey are after him and a cult of Satanic chicken worshippers are keen to use him as a human sacrifice. Simon does have a book from the future that might help him out, and there are all those villagers with the flaming torches.

The Greatest Show off Earth is partly set in Bramfield, based upon the actual Sussex village of Henfield, where author Robert Rankin lived for a number of years. Rankin inhabited Raymond’s cottage, which can easily be found by following the directions in the first chapter. The characters are mostly real people the author met and drank with in The Jolly Gardeners, and some, like Simon, Andy, Paul, and Military Dave appear in the book under their own names. With touching naivety, Rankin thought that the locals would appreciate being in his novel. Not all did, and a certain someone, who will remain nameless, shot the windscreen out of Rankin’s car one night, and regularly left dead rats upon the doorstep to signal his disapproval.

Country life never really agreed with Robert Rankin and he now lives happily in Brighton, where he no longer puts his neighbours in his books.

©1994 Robert Rankin (P)2014 Audible Studios

What listeners say about The Greatest Show off Earth

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Excelent

Weird and wonderful just as I like it lots of crazy characters with a story to match well worth a listen

1 person found this helpful

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  • Emma
  • 17-11-20

I look forward to reading more books from this author

While exploring some of the free books on Audible, I found Robert Rankin. What a delight! I find his style reminiscent of some of my favorite authors: Douglas Adams or Jasper Fforde. The story is light and fun escapism, not too heavy on the science fiction. I'm looking forward to reading more from Rankin, and I would like to thank the author for including some of his stand alone books in the free content.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Lyndel
  • 29-06-21

Awful Narration

Melbourne, Australia
This book may good, may even be brilliant. I haven't a clue because I found the narration too awful to listen a second longer.
The summary made me smile, I loved the idea he'd put real people he knew in it, and some didn't like it at all, O E even attacked his car. I thought I'll enjoy this, I like that mad fish kidnapped someone from Earth to cook and eat, that sound like a funny book doesn't it! I'll never know .
Why do authors read their own work? Most are dreadful. Stephen King is the worst writer/narrator Ive ever ever heard, but his books are wonderful !
Perhaps this author's book is wonderful too.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kristy Espoito
  • 17-06-21

silly and absurd fun

I enjoyed this although the ending felt like a rushed afterthought. It was funny and silly in a similar fashion as Douglas Adam's or a PG rated David Wong (but not as good, sorry). It made me smile. I'm glad I read it, but it was just ok.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dee
  • 10-04-21

I listen whilst gardening

I think this guy is crazy but he does a good job of giving voices to what he wrote.

1 person found this helpful

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  • C. Scott
  • 27-04-21

Good times.

Light hearted and fun. Certainly quite punny. Nice distraction while cutting up patterns to send to all of you.

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  • Bonnie Clyde
  • 06-02-21

Longer than it needs to be.

I was entertained by the quirkiness and imagination of this story and the characters, but it tended to be a little too silly and rambling at times. I don't know that I would have been as engaged without the narrator really selling these characters.