The Year of the Angry Rabbit
Pan, London, 1967
The blurb on the back:
‘Jolly horror’ - Spectator
- As you can see, there’s never been a book like this before.
This is great fun, a wild political satire set in the late-1990s that spirals off into all sorts of odd directions. We start with the emergence of myxomatosis-resistant rabbits posing a potential threat to Australian farming. The government decides to research a more powerful virus to put an end to the problem once and for all, and the scientists come up with Supermyx. Unfortunately it doesn’t harm the rabbits, but is instantly fatal to humans. At which point the Aussie Prime Minister realizes he has the most powerful biological weapon ever on his hands, and quite reasonably decides that it’s time for his country to take over as the rulers of the whole world.
The ramifications and consequences of that decision are far too detailed to go into – the pace is relentless – but it’s very funny. It’s also very cynical. Here, for example, is the Prime Minister explaining to his Defence Secretary what his job is:
I love that use of then-current events to generate new terminology. In the same way the Churches have decided ‘that there really wasn’t a God, only a Woolwich’ (p.66), while the numbers of civil servants have swollen ‘to quite terrifying and parkinsonian proportions’ (p.32). Just one more quote, ‘cos I love this one; here’s the Prime Minister telling the press why he’s appointed the worst possible man as Defence Secretary:
If, like me, you only know Russell Braddon for The Naked Island, his book about the fall of Singapore and the subsequent Japanese prisoner-of-war camps, then this will be a revelation. Not perfect, but very, very entertaining.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 4/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT: 3/5
Satan: His Psychotherapy and Cure by the Unfortunate Dr Kassler, JSPS