Zarkseven's Reviews > And Another Thing...

And Another Thing... by Eoin Colfer
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Jan 09, 11

bookshelves: science-fiction, humor
Read in November, 2009, read count: 1

So this frood named Eoin Colfer, well known for his Artemis Fowl children’s books, was asked by the widow of the late great Douglas Adams to “finish” the Hitchhiker’s Guide series. Finish H2G2?! Well doesn’t that just take the biscuit! What do you call Mostly Harmless, for Zark’s sake!?

Actually, I don’t care about all that. Hitchhiker’s Guide isn’t sacred, and has appeared in so many forms that it’s almost too difficult to count. That Colfer was approached by Adams’ widow Jane Belson, not the other way around, is the right start for me, meaning it wasn’t a vanity project. That Colfer has always been a fan that appreciates the uniqueness of the series is a critical next step. And that Colfer was quoted as saying that “this is a wonderful opportunity to work with characters I have loved since childhood and give them something of my own voice while holding onto the spirit of Douglas Adams and not laying a single finger on his five books” says to me that this is a serious effort that deserves open-minded consideration.

So now that I’m finished with And Another Thing: Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Part Six of Three, I can truly and unequivocally say whether this Colfer chap really knows where his towel is, or whether I now have this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side.

LIKED

Nostalgia. I listened to the audio, read by Simon Jones (who portrayed Arthur Dent numerous HHGTTG iterations), and I have to say that for the first 10-15 minutes of listening to him speaking new Hitchhiker’s, I was grinning from ear to ear. Nostalgia is not always good, as frequently the reality is not as good as you remembered it to be. But I’d say that overall the book was upbeat and fun, didn’t take away anything from what came before it, and gave us just a little bit more.

Unmistakably Hitchhiker’s. The Part Six detractors will hate me for even thinking of saying this, but the book felt like a Hitchhiker’s book. Possibly more so than Adams’ last two entries into the series. There really isn’t a series that feels like Hitchhiker’s, and someone with less appreciation or imagination might not pull it off. Colfer definitely pulled it off. Taking a new trip with Arthur and Ford and Trillian and Zaphod felt good because the tone and essence that makes Hitchhiker’s so special was there. It was a good romp in the Hitchhiker’s universe with all the trappings we know and love.

NOT SO MUCH

Guide Notes. I think it’ll probably be a universal criticism of this book that the Guide Notes were over-played. If I remember correctly, Adams phased them out and they did not appear in later novels. I appreciate Colfer bringing them back, as it’s one of those distinctly Hitchhiker’s type of things, and the early Adams’ novels that used them were more popular with fans than the later ones that did not. But they interrupted the flow of things way too much, and I really don’t remember any of them like I do about what happened to all the biros (ballpoint pens). So I appreciate their use, but wished they had been used more sparingly.

Missing the Mark. In addition to the Guide Notes, a few other things didn’t work for me. It’s hard to say that Colfer should not have done this or that, as he shouldn’t try to imitate Adams. But I found a few things distracting. Names that are puns was one of them. They didn’t really make me laugh, or groan. More like just roll my eyes. There were also a few too many references to previous things from Hitchhiker’s radio, TV, novels and so forth. When you’re on Part Six, it’s hard not to mine that previous gold for more nuggets, and even Adams may have done the same if he were the author. Not that I’d advocate getting rid of them all, but each reference used was an opportunity wasted to come up with something new and just as unique and fun.

RECOMMEND?

To people unfamiliar with Hitchhiker’s, I’d say start at the beginning. There’s too much history here to start at Part Six. But for Hitchhiker’s fans, I would definitely recommend it. There’s not much of a point in the story/plot, but is there ever in Hitchhiker’s? If you go into it expecting Douglas Adams, you’ll find ways to be disappointed. If you go into it expecting the essence of Douglas Adams, I think you will be entertained. Colfer does know where his towel is. And for Zark’s sake, listen to it read by Simon Jones!
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