Brown Robin Review: The Year of the Angry Rabbit

The Year of the Angry Rabbit by Russell Brandon

Beware spoilers!

Review by Brown Robin. This is a book which requires some professional-level suspension of disbelief, but I believe it compares favorably to such satires as Dr. Strangelove and Atomic War Bride.

The Prime Minister of Australia is presented with a familiar yet thorny problem, an invasion of rabbits. Scientists are roped into an effort to develop a toxin to put the matter to rest. This effort fails spectacularly, resulting in super rabbits and a toxin remarkably effective against humans. Australia becomes the ruler of the world. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t last.

There are so many touches to like and admire in this silly, silly book.  The practice of staged wars, something like the Aztec version of lacrosse, all to win the tourist and entrepreneurial dollar.  The production of materiel destined for the sea floor in a full-employment scheme.  A character whose previous career consisted of only preternaturally bad choices, who yet has the ear of his Prime Minister, and proceeds to walk the world to its doom with his Big Ideas, which really seemed to work for a while…

Like Strangelove, there’s hardly a female in this story, but I feel that’s part of Braddon’s point.  This is a old boys’ club world, with an outcome one would expect from the patriarchy. I appreciated the [spoiler alert!] fact that in the end, the Australian aborigines inherit the Earth.

I imagine this novel as written over a weekend, as it is chock full of keen insight and cutting humor, and a whole lot of nonsense, but if you can see past the howlers and boners, you’ll find a neat dissection of what passes for grownups in our political realm. Though I have to admit, I found Prime Minister Fitzgerald an appealing enlightened despot. He really did mean well.