Sceptre £16.99

The Teleportation Accident By Ned Beauman

Miss Hitler: Her part in my downfall

You wait ages for one ingenious work of fiction joining the dots between Nazism, sci-fi, espionage, sex, politics, art and quantum physics to come along, and then two arrive all at once. Hot on the heels of Jake Arnott's tour de force The House of Rumour comes Ned Beauman's The Teleportation Accident, a funny, flashy, over-excited puppy of a novel.

Like Arnott (and indeed David Mitchell and Jennifer Egan), Beauman employs an array of plots, locations and literary genres: he parodies everything from Brecht, Ulysses and the "lost generation" in Paris to Dashiell Hammett, H P Lovecraft and Hollywood's post-Expressionist horror movies of the 1930s. While Arnott's narrative whirl doubled as a quest for meaning in a chaotic universe, Beauman's own restless storytelling blurs lines between art and artifice, design and chance, sex and politics.

At the centre is an anti-hero called Egon Loeser, one vowel away from being a loser by name as well as nature. An avant-gardish set designer in the Weimar Republic, he is so desperate to have sex with the beauteous Adele Hitler (no relation) that he pursues her half way across the globe, to Los Angeles via Paris. His infatuation is such, moreover, that he hardly notices when her namesake begins his war of genocide and world domination.

Distracting the passive, self-centred Loeser are attempts to design a fully operational teleportation device in 17th-century Venice and 20th-century California; a Communist spy ring; Los Angeles's nascent public transport system; and a serial killer eating hearts at Caltech.

This melange works because Beauman is such a meticulous narrative arranger. Chekov's axiom about making use of loaded rifles has been refined to a mind-boggling degree. If a Beauman character saunters into a Parisian café on page 83 claiming to have written a Fitzgeraldish novel (The Sorrowful Noble Ones), you can be sure he will raise his elegant head again on page 345. Add in an epigrammatic prose style that revels in the irrational and illogical, and one senses the diverse influences of P G Wodehouse and Douglas Adams: the final section feels like a missing chapter from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Occasionally, the frenetic tone and pace proved trying, and even a little tiring: I occasionally pictured Beauman as a talented but over-functioning young magician unable to stop pulling bunnies out of hats. But when his wit and his intelligence work in harmony, he sings memorable comic songs. Loeser's appearance before the Congressional Committee of Un-American Activities becomes a funny Borgesian game: he waves his tie above his head "like a gaucho's bolas" simply to see if it will be mentioned in the transcript.

Like its predecessor Boxer, Beetle, The Teleportation Accident is popping with ideas, fizzing with vitality, and great fun to quaff. Just be careful not to get too much up your nose.

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Far Right and Proud: Reggies Yates' Extreme Russia

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West was mobbed in Armenia after jumping into a lake

music
Arts and Entertainment
The show suffers from its own appeal, being so good as to create an appetite in its viewers that is difficult to sate in a ten episode series

Game of Thrones reviewFirst look at season five contains some spoilers
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey on the Red Carpet for 2015's Olivier Awards

Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awards

Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Proving his metal: Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner in the BBC series) epitomises the risk-taking spirit of 18th-century mine owners

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne is reportedly favourite to play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars in dystopian action thriller Mad Max: Fury Road

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh, 22, made his first million from the game MinoMonsters

Grace Dent

Channel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
News
Disgraced Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game face: Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Ethan Hawke in ‘Good Kill’

film review

Arts and Entertainment
Living like there’s no tomorrow: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the final season of ‘Mad Men’

TV review

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
    The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

    The hardest job in theatre?

    How to follow Kevin Spacey
    Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

    Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

    To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
    Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

    'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

    The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
    Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

    This human tragedy has been brewing for years

    EU states can't say they were not warned
    Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

    Women's sportswear

    From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
    Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

    Clinton's clothes

    Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders