A funny fantasy novel written by Robert Rankin. It is about Jack, a young boy who runs away from home to a nearby city to seek his fortune. This city turns out to be Toy City, a dystopia with Living Toys. He befriends Eddie Bear, a teddy bear private detective, and investigates the serial murders of nursery rhyme characters. Followed by The Toyminator a few years later.
This novel provides examples of:
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: Eddie becomes the mayor at the end. Jack becomes an "honorary prince"
- Bizarrchitecture: The houses are made of alphabet blocks.
- Clock Punk: Everything from guns to cars run on clockwork mechanisms. As do, unsurprisingly, some of the toys.
- Inexplicably Identical Individuals: All humans look the same to toys.
- Interspecies Romance: Subverted. Eddie is sickened by the idea of this. It is played straight with Garth and the dancing doll.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Officer Chortle looks, and probably is, extremely stupid, but at one point he cunningly tricks Jack to admit falsely he is a murderer.
- Running Gag: Jack is called a gormster by everyone.
- Talks Like a Simile: Subverted. Eddie tries to talk like a simile, but he can never finish. It's as unfair as.
- Younger Than They Look: Jack looks 16, but is really only 13. He's merely tall for his age.