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And Another Thing... by Eoin Colfer
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's review
Dec 31, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: audio, adult-fiction, young-adult

I've always thought that the Hitchhiker's books were not so much written as doodled. Maybe while Douglas Adams was on hold with the insurance company, or, since he was British and they have the National Health there (THANKS MASSACHUSETTS. GOD, YOU GUYS.), with the Queen. I bet she puts people on hold incessantly, and then goes and rides out to the hounds or whatever, giggling her ass off because in England, if you hang up on the Queen, even if she's put you on hold and gone to Scotland, you get beheaded.

I'm on hold with Blue Cross. As if you couldn't tell.

Given that postulate, it is not too far-fetched to think that somebody else might be able to write Hitchhiker's. After all, the Rough Guides routinely cycle through writers, say, when the Tanzania stringer gets fed up with feeding his carefully crafted prose into a gnash-y machine made up of copyeditors and lawyers, and decides that, rather than spending his days grilling tour operators and counting bedbugs, he'll buy a set of vibes and spend his evenings as a jazz musician on the beach at the north end of Dar es Salaam.

It works. I'm not saying it's AS good, but it works. One suspects all Eoin Colfer really had to do was get good and bored, read the first seventy books (what? how many?), and set up a little sim in his mind. A little tank with a virtual Arthur, a virtual Ford, a tiny Trillian and Zaphod. Nudge them into motion, and then drop random toys into the tank. You could do it in a bathtub with action figures, come to think of it. A plastic chicken becomes Buff Orpington, corpulent second-in-command of a colony of rich expatriate Earthlings in the Magrathean system. The LEGO Viking turns into Thor. "Hm..." Colfer wonders, idly piloting a toy boat under the arch of his leg. "What would be Zaphod's relationship to Thor? Friends? Lovers? Or is Zaphod the hamburger to Thor's David Hasselhoff?"

Simon Jones reads the audio. Ably. More than ably. He manages fussy Arthur best, but he does Vogon very well too, and all of the more blustery characters. Perhaps the most satisfying part of this book is merely hearing the names aloud again. My children have been calling just about everything a Pan-galactic Gargle Blaster lately. Could be much worse - they could have latched onto (no pun intended) Eccentrica Gallumbits, The Triple-Breasted Whore of Eroticon Six.

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