Fantasy & Beyond

A Book Forum for Speculative Fiction

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#1630
I discovered this one in the mid 80's, I think at the same book store I bought Cart and Cwidder in. I was very much not the target audience, they're a YA concept. It was the cover art that drew me in. An image of a rough looking punk teenager with pointed ears about to join battle with a human sized bipedal rat in a junkyard.

The punk looking kid was a representation of a Borrible. The Borribles are runaway kids who never got caught or integrated back into society. If they can stay away long enough, living by their wits their ears grow points and they stop aging. I don't think de Larrabeiti has ever actually said this, but they were clearly inspired by J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan. I have this sort of internal canon that Barrie actually met a Borrible and got the idea for his boy that never age from them. There's also elements of the fae about them as well.If the authorities can catch and hold a Borrible, they'll clip their ears and put them back into society and they'll age just like everyone else, I think they also forget their memories of being a Borrible. Borribles mortal enemy are human sized bipedal rats called Rumbles. These were apparently a parody of the popular 70's kids TV show The Wombles. There's also a parody of British comedy Steptoe and SonOther things the Borribles avoid are police and truant officers.

The first book was popular enough to spawn two sequels The Borribles go for Broke and The Borribles: Across the Dark Metropolis, all three books were later collected into an omnibus.

The first book, which is sometimes called The Borribles: The Great Rumble Hunt concerns itself with the fears from the leading Borribles that the Rumbles are planning an invasion of Battersea (a Borrible stronghold), so the various Borrible tribes across London send their best and brightest to Battersea and they are formed into an elite 'hit squad', known as the Adventurers or the Magnificent Eight. These eight Borrible heroes are sent to first infiltrate the Rumble bunker and eliminate the eight members of Rumble High Command.

The make up of the group was quite diverse for the time. They were also quite cool characters and they were given the name of the Rumble commander that was their personal target. The way the group came together and were trained and then on their mission had elements of similar concepts in films like The Magnificent Seven and The Dirty Dozen. It was a rip roaring adventure, and I love this type of team stories.

I did read the two sequels and they were enjoyable, but they didn't have same spark of originality as the opener, and I suspect that I was definitely aging out of the YA category (the last one came out in 1986).

I do think that they unintentionally kind of gave the message that YA work could be a little more dangerous and take some chances with the subject material and characters.
#1631
I will agree with you that the first was definitely the best / most memorable. I know I read that one multiple times as a kid, and the 2 sequels far less.
And I distrincly remember the pointy-eared punk child cover too.

Now the specific memory / thought about this that concerns you :loveit: .

We were introduced to each other not long before my 30th birthday, so you were invited to my party. We had chatted quite a bit about favourite books / authors on the phone, but I did not think the Borribles had come up in conversation. But you gave me the omnibus edition of them as “it was a favourite as a kid, and I thought you would like it”. :* :* And I did! (Well. I do, but you know what I mean).

That’s the copy in the Library - the first book you gave me *.*