Publication date 3rdNovember 2018, available on pre-order now.
Title – Cheerio, and thanks for the apocalypse
Author – Ian Hutson
Genre – humour / speculative fiction
What is it?
It is seven disconnected tales of self-indulgent, self-deprecating, self-referencing woe, woe and thrice woe, Petunia, filling the pages in a most seriously unserious giggle-fest. Atom bombs rain down, there is some confusion as to who ought to be within the insane asylums and who ought to be without, and England’s pensioners are treated quite implausibly dreadfully. Life never ends, death isn’t forever and the afterlife, such as it is, is in chaos. The greatest thinkers of our time think awe-inspiringly vast, modern thoughts – and their dog makes them look like intellectual minnows swimming with intellectual sharks. This is not unsurprising or unexpected though, since the dog in question, based upon a real-life dog of the author’s real-life experience, puts Genghis Khan in the shade and is apt to make Dr Dolittle spin in his grave in search of the switch on his hearing-aid.
England is neither Heaven nor Hell, but both are English Empire territories and you can see both without using binoculars. God often pokes an eyeball down through the clouds, the Devil is apt to leave hoof-marks in the lawns. On more earthly themes the politicians in this book, all delicious one-hundred and twenty-six thousand calories each, are not loved and respected as are all politicians in real life, but here portrayed simply as two-dimensional lying, self-serving, ignorant. shameless mediocrities. Further, the reader must be warned that London, centre of the universe and beloved by one and all, the only portion of England that truly matters, is …brace yourself …reduced to ashes. No, seriously, you ought not to laugh at that. Whatever would we do with the country’s tax income if London were not there to soak it all up?
Is Cheerio, and thanks for the apocalypse a success, a book of its time? Well, the author reckons that he’s caught the essential flavour of the present Establishment, and caught it just moments before we all climb back into the trees and forget how to read and write, too. That much he claims as a timeous success.
What then of the book’s failures? The author is, as are we all, a prisoner of his own constitution and can no more change his ways than fly. Flies are particularly known not to change their ways. The author hasn’t changed his ways since Poonah, in forty-three or forty-four, although it must be said that the charges were dropped and an out-of-court-martial settlement reached. Consequently, this book is old-fashioned, it’s verbose, and it’s certainly not subtle. It features strong male leads, mild political incorrectness, wilfully woefully little to no diversity, and yet, the author hopes, a laugh or three. The author, ever the optimist, ever the fool, casts this literary pearl before his readership*.
*Yes, we thought that too, but the man’s both desperate and unstable, so it’s best to just smile, nod and move on.
- Bazza, Gazza, Shazza, Tom, Dick and Harry
(The ruinous class-divide survives the bomb.)
- Buttercup Towers and The Pams of Peace
(Derangement and absurdity make excellent bed-pillows.)
- A Better England
(The discontinuation of usefulness, and why old people smell so.)
- Belphegor and the six-inch nail
(Is Mr God a human success story, or are we one of his?)
- Elizabeth, Warrior Queen
(When future archaeologists dig up mostly David Essex)
- And they think that I’m insane
(God, the Devil, and Albert’s onions.)
- Space, Time, and Pipsqueak
(How big are the thoughts in your life?)