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And Another Thing... (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) Hardcover – October 12, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
At long last, the motley band from Douglas Adams's renowned five-book Hitchhiker's Guide Trilogy have returned, thanks to Artemis Fowl author Colfer. When the Vogons return to finish obliterating Earth in our universe and all alternatives, Arthur Dent and his companions find themselves hitchhiking on the spacefaring Viking longship of Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged, an immortal with a death wish who is an expert at mass insults. Readers may find this volume paradoxical. On its own it is a funny novel, but Adams set a legendary, nearly impossible standard. Wacky humor reminiscent of the original Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy rings true, as do most of the characters, but newer elements, such as the brief appearance of Cthulhu, feel out of place. Most notably absent is the supreme inventiveness that hit us with the Infinite Improbability Drive, and the comic-sublime moments like Arthur flying with Fenchurch. You can't go home again, but Adams fans will still appreciate the reunion with old friends.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From Bookmarks Magazine
A wide variety of people love Douglas Adams's books, so perhaps it is appropriate that each critic brought his or her own expectations to And Another Thing . ... Several who revered Adams's deadpan prose and verbal inventiveness found that the new book falls short. Others felt that Colfer's imitation often lacks subtlety and relies too heavily on reviving old Adams gags and characters. The Los Angeles Times even went so far as to argue that this novel should have been reinvented in some more original form, such as an e-book. But some took the appearance of And Another Thing ... to critically review the Adams oeuvre and found that Colfer made up for some qualities the original author lacked. In any case, even the harshest critics of the book were happy to see Arthur, Ford, Trillian, and Random saved from their doom.
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Top Customer Reviews
It does not have the elegant, playful momentum of the Adams books. Somtimes it is dragged down by the very effort of trying to be authentic. The overlong "quotes" from the Guide are the best example of that.
A pity, since the author is definitely a skilled writer and understands Adams very well. With a bit mor courage, it could have been a great book.
One thing I have definitely found out of place: the author hates Arthur Dent. I wonder why.
I tend to break down the series in my mind like this:
- The original Hitchhiker's Guide and Restaurant At the End of the Universe form an inseparable pair (being halves of the same story, really).
- Life The Universe and Everything is a fun encore reviving all the familiar characters.
- So Long and Thanks for All the Fish would have made a terribly satisfying conclusion, finally giving, as it did, a measure of happiness to hapless traveler Arthur Dent that made up to him for all the very weird things the Universe had been doing to him all this time.
- Mostly Harmless blows that happiness away again, not once but twice, taking away first the love of Arthur's life, then the one place he managed to feel completely successful and happy, which could have been fine anyway, if the sixth book felt more like a companion piece that restored it all, but alas, it doesn't.
Eoin Colfer is a fine writer, and the story he's put together here is fairly entertaining in its own right. I will say the style is a just a bit mismatched to Douglas Adams' own native writing style, but you can overlook that and simply enjoy the story well enough. Alas there are a few niggling issues that tarnish it for me:
There are trivial continuity errors (like the Vogons having used nuclear weapons to destroy the first Earth --- I clearly remember Jeltz saying "Energize the demolition beams! Apathetic bloody planet --- I have no sympathy.") There is the ongoing lack of explanation for how the Grebulon weaponry was able to destroy every Earth in every parallel universe when the Vogons could not. And of course Arthur recovers neither the girl or the home he lost, loses the current and all other Earths, and isn't even allowed to settle on a new world in peace, which frankly begins to get annoying since we already have the impression Arthur would have been better off if the series ended two books ago. If your name is Agrajag, or you simply hate Arthur Dent for some other reason, this book is for you. If you were hoping for some closure for Arthur --- well, just pretend the last two stories didn't happen.
Overall, I'd have to say it was OK, and a fairly fun read, but this book joins "Mostly Harmless" on my list of Hitchhiker books that didn't strictly need to be written.