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The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time Hardcover – May 7, 2002

201 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Edited by Peter Guzzardi and with an introduction by Christopher Cerf, this bittersweet collection comprises letters, fragments of ideas for books, films and TV, ruminations on a diverse array of subjects and a good bit of a final unfinished novel by the author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, who died in May of last year. Included are a letter to the editor of a U.K. boy's magazine (written in 1965, when Adams was 12); a reminiscence about his lifelong love for the Beatles, written when he was in his 40s; a 1991 piece from Esquire entitled "My Nose"; and an undated article for the Independent espousing his preference for whiskey. Also on hand are a q&a in which he identifies the most interesting natural structure as being a "2,000-mile-long fish in orbit around Jupiter, according to a reliable report in the Weekly World News"; a spiritual encounter with a giant manta ray while testing a mechanical diving device at Australia's Great Barrier Reef; an affecting introduction to P.G. Wodehouse's unfinished novel, Sunset at Blandings; an account of a Save the Rhino pilgrimage across Africa; ruminations on computerization; and a philosophical address about the authorship of the universe entitled "Is There an Artificial God?" Two sketches "The Private Life of Genghis Khan" and "Young Zaphod Plays It Safe" from the Utterly Utterly Merry Comic Relief Christmas Book, 1986, are also here, as are 10 chapters from various versions of the title novel-in-progress. National advertising.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

It's hard to classify this cornucopia, selected by Christopher Cerf from Adams's papers after his untimely death, but Hitchhiker fans will want it.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; 1 edition (May 7, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400045088
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400045082
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (201 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #194,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Douglas Adams (1952-2001) was the much-loved author of the Hitchhiker's Guides, all of which have sold more than 15 million copies worldwide.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

161 of 162 people found the following review helpful By Emerick Rogul on February 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The first two-thirds of "The Salmon of Doubt", as assembled by Douglas Adams' editor, consists of essays, lectures, magazine articles, and other short pieces written by Adams. It is an interesting glimpse into his mind, his work habits, his love of computers and gadgets, and his views on religion, atheism, and evolution. As an added bonus, the last third of the book contains the first eleven chapters of what was meant to be Adams' new Dirk Gently novel (although he tantalizingly hinted in interviews that he might turn it into a sixth "Hitchhiker's" book), also named "The Salmon of Doubt."

The essay/article portion of the book, while interesting, does have an unavoidably hodgepodge feel to it. Most of this material will be familiar to diehard Douglas Adams fans (in fact, much of it has already been printed elsewhere - little here is new material), but it is nice to have it all gathered together in one place. Unfortunately, no index or table of contents is provided, so finding a particular piece is rather challenging.

The portion of the book actually devoted to "The Salmon of Doubt" is very intriguing. As the editor notes, the eleven chapters are stitched together from three separate "versions" of the novel that Adams was working on at the time of his death. As a result, some of the chapter transitions are very choppy (and of course the story sputters out without a proper ending, although this does seem vaguely appropriate for a Dirk Gently novel). However, I found chapters two through seven of the book to be very engaging; a bit rough, certainly, but this was shaping up to be a great Dirk Gently novel.
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76 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Weaver on October 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
He made hitchhiking a universal thing.

Douglas Adams, author of the five books in the vastly popular comic-space saga "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" trilogy (you did indeed read that correctly), plus an assortment of other novels, died in May 2001.
Now comes a posthumous collection of his writings, called "The Salmon of Doubt," which allows his fans one last, gentle look at a revolutionary voice in literature and science-fiction.
"Salmon" is very much a toast to Adams, a eulogy to him.
The assembled writings are fabulous, culled from a massive selection of writings, letters, essays, various introductions and other things from Adams' computer.
The title refers to an included unfinished Dirk Gently book which, had he lived, might have turned into the sixth "Hitchhiker" book.
Other points of interest:
The first published work of twelve-year-old Douglas Adams, a letter to the editor to "The Eagle," a popular boys' magazine.
"Y," in which Adams helpfully points out that the question "Why?" is the only one important enough to have had a letter named after it.
"Riding the Rays," in which Adams gets the idea to compare riding a new technological submarine, the "Sub Bug," to riding manta rays off the coast of Manta Ray Bay near Australia, the rejection of his proposal when it comes to riding the rays and, upon discovering a manta in said bay, his ease with giving up the pursuit of a ride. Quite possibly the best entry in the whole book.
"Is There an Artificial God?" is an interesting speech from Adams on his aetheism, as he breaks downb his non-belief into steps and explores the contrasts between science and religion.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Alan Caylow on December 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
The world was robbed of one it's greatest and funniest writers on May 11, 2001, when Douglas Adams, author of the hugely popular "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy" and "Dirk Gently" books, died from a heart attack at the age of 49. As a writer, Adams was a true original. His style of humor was gloriously funny, and he certainly had a most unique way with words. His final book, the posthumous release "The Salmon Of Doubt," is a collection of assorted writings, including essays, e-mails, interviews, lectures and letters that Adams had given or written over the years, as well as an unfinished third "Dirk Gently" novel that Adams had been sporadically working on for many years. Much of the material was culled from the disk drives of Adams' collection of Macintosh computers, and we, Adams' faithful readers, can certainly be grateful for these golden DNA nuggets. The book contains such gems as Adams discussing his childhood, his nose, his friendship with dogs Maggie and Trudie, his great introduction to Procol Harum (a favorite band of Adams AND myself) just before they take the stage, his advice about how to make a cup of really good tea, his attempts to get "Hitchhiker's" made as a feature film (which *finally* happened in 2005), and his lecture about the existence of an artificial God. There's also a hilarious sketch about Genghis Khan, a short "Hitchhiker's" story involving Zaphod Beeblebrox, and, finally, 11 chapters of the unfinished Dirk Gently novel, entitled "The Salmon Of Doubt," which, although it is quite obviously an unpolished work-in-progress, is still very funny (though I'm saddened that we'll never know what happens to Dirk after Chapter 11, which is a terrible shame).Read more ›
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