The less-than-scrupulous sideshow proprietor likes Off-worlders' cash, so he needs a sensational new attraction. Word has reached him of the Japanese Devil Fish Girl; nothing quite like her has ever existed before.
But Professor Coffin's quest to possess the ultimate showman's exhibit is about to cause considerable friction amongst the folk of other planets. Sufficient, in fact, to spark off Worlds War Two.
Feel the passion as the denizens of the Last Continent learn what happens when rain falls and the rivers fill with water (it spoils regattas, for one thing). Thrill to the promise of next year's regatta, in remote, rustic Didjabringabeeralong. It'll be asolutely gujeroo (no worries).
products of a rare imagination. They take place in a world which seems at first very like our own, but which by the end of each has altered into something disconcertingly unexpected. A characteristic example: through sheer will power, the narrator rides his exercise bicycle off its stand and into realms he had never dreamt of.
The longer work, One Debatable Day, tells of the humorously narrated quest by Valentinevery much of an Everyman in his virtues and shortcomingsto find out what the particular day of the story should be about. This proves more difficult than he (or the reader) might have thought, since Valentines commitment to simple honesty and his respect for sincerity in relationships are shared by few of the wide range of people he encounters. Not until he has shaken himself free from exaggerated aestheticism, political hypocrisy and self-serving religious formulations does he finally gain insight into what the day should be about, aided by a presumed guardian angel and a movie-buff cavalry horse. His search is fulfilled in extended episodes of original humor, both high and low, playing out against the background of the desire of every human being to understand how each of ones days ought to be lived.
Lord Brentford has a dream. To create a Grand Exposition that will showcase The Wonders of the Worlds and encourage peace between the inhabited planets of Venus, Jupiter and Earth. Ernest Rutherford has a dream. To construct a time ship, powered by the large hadron collider he has built beneath the streets of London. Cameron Bell is England's greatest detective and he, too, has a dream. To solve the crime of the century before it takes place, without blowing up any more of London's landmarks. Darwin is a monkey butler and he also has a dream. To end Man's inhumanity to Monkey and bring a little joy into the world. Lavinia Dharkstorrm has a dream of her own. Although hers is more of a nightmare. To erase Man and Monkey alike from the face of the Earth and to hasten in the End of Days. Then there is the crime-fighting superlady, all those chickens from the past and the unwelcome arrival of The Antichrist. Things are looking rather grim on planet Earth.
Famed consulting detective Cameron Bell is already on the case, but it may take nothing less than the New Messiah Himself to save London, The Empire and all of the solar system from the impending apocalypse!
'Stark raving genius' Observer
*See The Japanese Devil Fish Girl and other Unnatural Attractions.