M Keeping these in order: The Book Of Ultimate Truths?
R My son, my seventeen-year-old son, wanted to be the star of this book. So I based Cornelius Murphy on him, so he could have an adventure. And I also wanted to use all the stuff that was in The Book Of Ultimate Truths, which was a big stack on my desk. I think that was also around the time when my dad died, or was that slightly later? One of them is dedicated to him.
M This is dedicated to Freddie Mercury.
R Oh yeah. God, they do die, don’t they? That was really a tribute to my dad and my son, I think. Raiders Of The Lost Car Park: well, I couldn’t finish it, the first one, because they had to have further adventures. So I just sat down and said ‘I haven’t finished the first book’ and carried on. Then there was a break before The Most Amazing Man which was The Greatest Show Off Earth. That was basically ‘Rankin moves to the country’. Rankin moves to the country and finds it’s just like Brentford. There’s a one-liner!
M And the new one?
R Homage to Jack Vance, that’s what that is.
M I see you’ve got some German copies.
R Yeah, they’ve got snappy titles.
M Der Buch Der Alle Le zen Verheiten and Jegers Der xxxxxxxxxxxx(? )
R It loses a lot in the translation.
M It certainly does! Do you sell well abroad?
R I’ve no idea, they only came out last month. One of them, I think, comes out next month.
M Douglas Adams sells well in Germany, and Python is huge over there. They’re very big on British humour.
R It’s interesting, isn’t it? If people find it difficult to get the gags in some of my stuff, what the Germans would make of it doesn’t even bear thinking about.
Part two of this interview appears in issue 7.