Phillip Brooks's Reviews > And Another Thing...

And Another Thing... by Eoin Colfer
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's review
Nov 16, 2009

it was ok

Mea culpa, I am an enormous Douglas Adams fan. I had low expectations for this book and I was not won over by the time I'd finished reading it.

While Eoin Colfer does an excellent job of trying to pick up the abandoned threads where Mostly Harmless stagnated and stalled. Instead of resolving those threads in this book, the story seems to turn inwards. There is no real movement forward with the overall tale. It reads like fan fiction from the least popular age of a show.

Had this been written by Douglas Adams himself, it still would have been a self-indulgent and short-sighted work. Not only was it a step backwards, it stepped backwards and tracked something unpleasant all over the rug on the way back in.

Mostly Harmless was in my opinion the worst of the Hitchhiker's Guide Books and I was hoping for a return to the early work that made Hitchhiker's so amazing in my mind. I love Arthur. I love how we see the universe through his weary eyes and that made, at least for me, So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, my favorite book in the series. He was suddenly the alien. But he found true love and it was a hopeful and endearing story.

If the earlier books were cruel to Arthur for a laugh, this book was downright spiteful and not funny to boot. Mostly Harmless was proof-positive of how much Adams didn't want to write any more Hitchhiker's books, and it was clear that he took that frustration and anger of being forced to write another book out on the characters. I imagine the sullen, unpleasant Random to be Adams in that book. To me, that's how he felt while writing it and it shines through in his treatment of the characters.

Rather than focus on the joy and wonder that made the earlier books so entertaining, Colfer instead tapped into the darkest and angriest of the books in the series and hit a rich vein of resentment. That anger seeps into "And Another Thing" like cold muddy water into your shoes.

I am a fan of stories that re-imagine a tale by focusing on tertiary characters ala Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, but what Colfer does with this book is nothing like that. He breaks new ground with neither character development nor story and in the end, the only character about whom you learn something that you didn't already know is Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged. A character who, in my mind, was a one-trick pony in the original books and not nearly interesting enough to merit focus here.

What about Prak? Or MARVIN? Or Fenchurch? Or Lig Lury, Jr.? Those would all be far more fun characters to re-imagine in a greater story than Wowbagger.

Additionally, the characterization of Thor seems to me to be a bit off as well, but that may be attributable to my having trouble disassociating the Thor from the Party Scene in the Restaurant at the End of the Universe from the Thor that appears in The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. Either way, the Thor appearing in this book seems to be an entirely new version that is not derived from either Adams-created iteration.

I'll give Colfer two stars for taking on an enormously difficult task. But that's it.
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Pradeep Jayatunga I'm an enormous Eoin Colfer fan. Maybe, he should stick to writing Artemis Fowl books which are hugely enjoyable.

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