I've read them when the german edition came out in 1984. The blurb on the back said "The depiction of the Thames river at the border to Rumbledom makes Tolkien's gates of Moria look idyllic." Totally true. This book has body and bones like good drinks, you can smell and taste it.
I read these books when i was a precocious 8 year old, which is probably a few years younger than the intended audience. As such they blew my mind and probably have a great deal to do with forming my personality as an adult. They are amazing stories of friendship, adventure, distrust of authority and possibly the true meaning of freedom. It's true what Slow Tiger quoted. They are the best mix of epic and nasty.
I checked my ears to see if they were getting pointy out of a mixture of fear and hope for years after reading these books.
I enjoyed the Borribles when the books first came out in the 80s, although I was perhaps a bit older than their intended audience. I must admit that my enjoyment was enriched by memories of watching the Wombles on TV in the mid-70s, so I was able to catch the allusion in the Rumbles (who are like the Wombles, seen through a glass darkly).
And the ebooks aren't available in Canada, it seems... some day, the global internet will also be a global market (without relying on proxies and other technical trickery).... A shame, since it's one of the few ebooks I might actually buy, since Tor releases things without DRM.
"...the Borribles, a race of elfin, pointy-eared changelings, whose number swells every time a naughty child simply walks away from home and begins a new life as an immortal, pointy-eared trickster."
Shit! I wish I'd known that was an option when I was a kid!
Parody Borrowers fight with their immortal enemies, parody wombles.
I remember being weird fascinated by the books as a kid but I was a die-hard wombles fan so I was always a little bit sad about that.
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