An Englishman's continuing search through space and time for a decent cup of tea . . . Arthur Dent's accidental association with that wholly remarkable book The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has not been entirely without incident. Arthur has travelled the length, breadth and depth of known, and unknown, space. He has stumbled forwards and backwards through time. He has been blown up, reassembled, cruelly imprisoned, horribly released and colourfully insulted more than is strictly necessary. And, of course, he has comprehensively failed to grasp the meaning of life, the universe and everything.
Arthur has, though, finally made it home to Earth. But that does not mean he has escaped his fate. For Arthur's chances of getting his hands on a decent cuppa are evaporating along with the world's oceans. Because no sooner has he arrived than he finds out that Earth is about to be blown up...again.
And Another Thing...by Eoin Colfer is the rather unexpected, but very welcome, sixth instalment of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy. It features a pantheon of unemployed gods, everyone's favourite renegade Galactic President, a lovestruck green alien, an irritating computer and at least one very large slab of cheese.
©2009 Eoin Colfer; (P)2009 Penguin Books Limited
I have just finished this absolute gem of a story. I approached this book with a certain amount of trepidation ? how could someone match Douglas Adams unique style and sense of humour. Within minutes all of those worries had evaporated and I was totally captivated. It just kept getting better and better!
Eoin Colfer has done a wonderful job of writing a new story set in Douglas?s original universe ? he populates it with all of the original characters. The main characters (Arthur, Ford, Zaphod and Trillian) make a return, but also many of the ancillary creatures and items get a mention. Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters, the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal and the Triple-Breasted Whore of Eroticon Six, all get a mention - Hitchhiker fans will feel right at home. The guide entries ? which for me, was one of the best parts of the original books, are back; funny, clever and as pun laden as ever. These little guide gems are liberally pepper throughout the book and seem to appear every couple of minutes.
The pace of the narrative is impressive and never seems to drag. The return of one of my favourite characters from the original books (Wowbagger, the grumpy immortal alien whose mission is to insult everyone in the universe) is a real treat and Eoin takes Adams minor character and fleshes him out into a very interesting and comical character as well as being a love interest for one of the original characters. There is also a very interesting weaving of some of the characters from Adams Dirk Gently books into the story, which worked flawlessly and just added to my admiration for Colfers literary skill.
Colfer also introduces his own new character, the wonderfully named Hillman Hunter - a great character in his own right but also as the perfect foil for Zaphod.
In brief a good plot and a great read with many laugh out loud moments! Hitchhiker fans will not be disappointed.
"Really wanted to enjoy it..."
I feel like more than just a fan of the original series - I knew every square inch of the stories, the characters and the universe of H2G2, so was intrigued to hear about this. However I'm about 3/4 of the way through and have largely lost interest. It would have been difficult for Douglas Adams himself to write another sequel - it's not clear one was really necessary - and while this volume visits just about every character and references every funny line from the original books, it feels like that's all it does: there's little wrong with Colfer's use of the source material, or his writing, but it does feel like much less than the sum of its parts. For one, a rather aimless story makes heavy use of the power of Infinite Improbability and other technologies; while they enable plenty of imaginative soujourns and set pieces, they do so at the expense of any real tension in the events. Also, the Babelfish, the Vogons, the flobbling mattresses and the other exotically improbable beasts from the original books were both imaginative and used to great effect, here the joke is stretched a little thin with the Guide noting new creatures rather too regularly. On the positive side, there's definitely some satisfaction in the in-jokes, there are some great lines, and Simon Jones's performance is really excellent. Overall, though, it feels like five books might have been enough for this trilogy.
"Not quite life, the universe and everythig"
As far as this series goes, there's somthng missing... mostly Douglas Adams, it must be said.There's an AWFUL LOT of back references that die-hard fans will pick up on, most of which are enjoyable, and many tie up ends within ends.
Fine narration does not necessarily fill the boots of the full radio drama that went before, but at least it's reassuringly familiar to hear the tones of he original Arthur Dent taking us on to the outer reaches of all possible existences.
If you're a fan of Dent, Prefect, Beeblebastard (ibid), Trillian and Random Frequent Flyer Dent, as well as the likes of Thor, Vogon Geltz and the rest of the decidedly unearthy characters, this may well appeal to you as it did to me.
Enjoyable, and certianly in the spirit of the Adams, I'd recommed to followers (not for the first time dabblers).
Up there with the originals for invention, humour and fairly biting satire on the perennial obsessions of sentient beings; war, religion, money and sex.
A great listen, due in great part to Simon Jones' masterly reading. Lovely to hear the original Arthur Dent, and he gave every other character life and animation with a unique voice. I look forward to the rest of the series.
I'm only through part one so far, and it seems good. One thing that grates on me though is the narrators portrayal of zaphod, which seems to rely on saying word after word in the same monotone with awkward spacing. On the whole a very entertaining book displaying the same flair and wit of the originals.
"A very good homage to Douglas Adams Work"
I loved this extension to the H2G2, Simon Jones (Arthur from the original radio and television series) does an excellent job of rendering all of the characters' voices differently enough that the listener can differentiate between them, and actually well enough that they are different characters in their own right (a very hard thing to do) and surprising to me as the only voice I have heard Simon do is 'Arthur'. He used pretty much the same one in Blackadder as Sir Walter Raleigh, but here his range is broad, from the laid back Ford and almost horizontal Zaphod, to the grunting slosh of a Vogon and other numerous characters.
SPOILER Warning: below is an exposition of a plot point of the story, but I think it is important, so there.
My one gripe with the story, however is the beginning; The last book ended with all the characters on Earth II in the nightclub, as Earth is destroyed by the Grebulons. In order that this book not be blank and boring (or even afterlife-y), Eoin gives the characters a breather and they all go about their business and grow old. However, this breather is nothing more than a simulated existence provided by the Guide MkII, where the characters do what they want; Random becomes Galactic President, Trillian becomes a successful correspondent, Ford is at an exceptionally expensive spa, getting drunk every night, but with no hangover the next morning, and Arthur is in a hut on a beach, with tea. However, to me it felt eerily similar to Better Than Life, a simulated existence game in the Red Dwarf franchise, which allows you to live your hearts desires.
Other than that, the book is great and lovely to listen to on long journeys.
"It's good but it's not right!"
Could anyone have written a HGTTG book?
Not really but Eoin Colfer has had a damn good stab and parts of it are pure Douglas Adams.
The crowning glory of this production though is Simon Jones - just hearing Arthur Dent again brings this to life.
The narrative is a little long winded and the plot is sometimes difficult to follow. If you're new to the HGTTG then this is not the place to start.
If you're a fan then you need to listen to it.
Would love to hear it dramatised by the BBC
"Douglas Adams would love it!"
If you loved "Hitchhikers" and mourned the passing of Douglas Adams, you will be pleasantly surprised by this book. Narrated by the voice familiar from the Radio series, it takes our heroes to new and different adventures. If you miss Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect et al, it really does take over where the previous book left off. Eoin Colfer has caught the quirky sense of humour from the original series. I enjoyed it immensely and I think you will too.
"You need to be a fan already"
Eoin Colfer has captured the feel of the original hitchhiker books perfectly. It was great to hear it narrated by Peter Jones, really took me back. Douglas Adams fans should love it but I suspect if would be fairly meaningless for anyone coming to hitchhiker for the first time.
"..and another thing, I wish it was so much better!"
I suppose I was hoping too much for a glimmer of what Douglas Adams had started. After the heartbreaking disaster that was the movie (well, most of it anyway) and the decent radio adaptations of the rest of the books, I thought that any licensed continuations of the books might be worth a look.
Let me start with the positives. Firstly, getting Simon Jones to be the reader was a fab idea, which must reel in many people like me - he is Arthur dent and always will be, so - perfect. Secondly, the author is really a fan or has really done his homework on the books.
However, he so litters the book with references to characters, worlds or their inhabitants from the first books that any sense of freshness or originality is lost. It almost sounds like he's looking for some kind of credibility from the reader (or fan) by how much he knows about the first 5 books. Douglas Adams like Terry Pratchett, is fond of a footnote, but this book is so littered by them, it gets in the way of the plot moving on. My final gripe (and I have others) is that the theme of the Norse gods is one that was mentioned in the books, but was the whole subject matter of his other books, namely "The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul." Douglas has already been there and done it (beautifully ? I think it?s probably his best book).
I think what I am trying to say is that it is a very brave thing to make a continuation of a set of books that have a cult following. Very few succeed (the sequels to the Blade Runner short story were unbelievably boring) and since I have not read any of Mr Colfer?s books, I can't rate how good an author is. However, he should have had the courage of his convictions and his skills as a storyteller to make a narrative that moved the story away from what he might have thought as safe ground and tried to be a bit more imaginative and original I can't see there being another book in this increasingly misnamed trilogy, I'm afraid.
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