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Savoy Books 
Razor King

David Britton


2017

illustrated

246mm x 174mm

Hard covers

First publication

302pp

ISBN 978-0-86130-130-0

Razor King

Razor King is David Britton's seventh novel. His first, Lord Horror, published in 1989, was the last book to be banned in Britain under the Obscene Publications Act. In a defence led by Geoffrey Robertson QC the book was cleared of obscenity in July 1992.

The new novel continues Britton's cycle of Absurdist picaresque narratives, a series replete with scatological routines and outlandish tableaux. Razor King draws shockingly on the Jewish Holocaust, following the transgressive speculative-fiction lineage of JG Ballard and William S Burroughs while embracing the fin de siècle psychedelia of Alfred Jarry and Harry Clarke.

In Razor King two unconnected worlds and genres collide: the Wild West/Westerns, and outer space/planetary adventure. Key influences are the fantastical works of two of Adolf Hitler's favourite novelists: Karl May, a German author whose Western tales include characters such as Old Shatterhand and Winnetou the Warrior; and Edgar Rice Burroughs, whose Mars trilogy (A Princess of Mars, The Gods of Mars, The Warlord of Mars) prefigures many of the popular fictional styles—sword and sorcery, heroic fantasy, science fiction—of later decades. Britton brings to the surface the psychotic undercurrents that often fuel these genres to create a phantasmagoria grounded in real historical events.

Continuing a trend begun with La Squab in 2012, Razor King is illustrated throughout by Kris Guidio.
Cover design by John Coulthart. Artwork by James Cawthorn.


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Reviews

"I have now finished Razor King, and I think it's right up there with the best of Britton's other books. And because it ends on an 'endless' note so to speak, it leaves him with the option of writing another book in the series—or not, as the case may be, which is a good position for him to be in. To precis my response: the language is as neologistically inventive as ever, and richly resonant. The imagery of evisceration is taken to a new level in terms of its sheer gruesomeness and grotesqueness, with almost inconceivable mutations, and mutations from mutations, etc. Thematically, the book achieves a powerful resolution in terms of the fantastical planets enveloping our planet like a glove, superimposing a phantasmagoric reality on the mundane reality. And there is a fine Dialectical tension between the genre-elements, which are as strong as ever, and the more classical and philosophical elements, which are as erudite and profound as ever. And there are characters to rival Horror himself, Archibald Hellwitzfuck the 'evilly rapacious' 'car-human', for example, and Dolly Lolly Pop—even though for me he still overshadows and ultimately eclipses them all. The scenes grow out of each other like an oneiric animation, not requiring a plot as such, but an inward focus on the reigning obsessions as they work themselves out in sublimely hideous sequences, each one striving to outdo the previous one, till it reaches its conclusion, with Britton apparently revealing himself in the narrative—including a curious derivative hint regarding Meng and Ecker, which I must admit I had always wondered about!—and declaring his qualified admiration for Hitler, which was a courageous confession. My own vision is quite different. But I greatly admire the integrity and wholeness of his vision, even if some aspects of it trouble me—not the extremity of it so much as the central fixation on the Jews, even though I am not suggesting for one moment that he is anti-Semitic. But at times I found myself thinking that no Jewish person could read the book without feeling acutely discomforted. But then I reminded myself of just how extreme the Zionists have been throughout their history, and of course continue to be today, and of how horrendous the state of the entire world is right now—largely because of the crucial role played by the State of Israel in the increasingly precarious, not to say perilous, global balance of power. And suddenly the colossal body count in Auschwitozaliala seemed to be no more unpalatable than the recent killings in the Gaza Strip for example. In fact, Razor King offers an uncannily veracious picture in extremis of the almost incredible horror and mess of the world that we're all living in at the present time. And as such it could scarcely be worse than that. But it also illuminates it, as a once potential paradise that has been twisted into a terrible Hell on Earth—even if Horror et al revel in it rather than despair of it. And maybe that is all we can do as well. The ruling elites of our world are very like a global corporate fascist hegemony that presents a civilized and benign face to the world, but behind the scenes behave every bit as atrociously as the bloodthirsty assassins of Auschwitozaliala. And morally they are worse, because they have total double standards. Whereas Horror et al wear their cultivated bestiality on their elegant, or not so elegant, sleeves. And one can at least respect the honesty of that, even if one blanches at all the blood and semen and shit, etc.—which I don't of course, as I can take it! But I'm sure there are many others who couldn't."

ADAM DALY, author of The Outsider Writer, in a letter to Savoy

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