So long…and thanks

21 04 2018

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy by Douglas Adams

As Wikipedia has it in relation to the first book in the series:

The broad narrative of Hitchhiker follows the misadventures of the last surviving man, Arthur Dent, following the demolition of the planet Earth by a Vogon constructor fleet to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Dent is rescued from Earth’s destruction by Ford Prefect, a human-like alien writer for the eccentric, electronic travel guide The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by hitchhiking onto a passing Vogon spacecraft. Following his rescue, Dent explores the galaxy with Prefect and encounters Trillian, another human that had been taken from Earth prior to its destruction by the President of the Galaxy, the two-headed Zaphod Beeblebrox, and the depressed Marvin, the Paranoid Android.

And it all gets even more improbable after that. Moreover, it’s the most inaccurately named trilogy there is. I first read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy nearly four decades ago and have returned to it many times since (including as part of the Nottingham Reading Programme) along with its successors

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Life, the Universe and Everything
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
Mostly Harmless

I’ve just read them all again, after a bit of a break, mainly to check if they were still as much fun as I remember. I’m pleased to report that, on the whole, they have still got it although if I am honest things do flag about towards the middle of book 5 and it doesn’t end in a terribly upbeat way either. (And as for the sequel to this, penned by Eoin Colfer years after Douglas Adams’ death, the less said about that the better.)

So, whereas the 80s TV series is not perhaps quite as good as I remembered it to be, the recent movie is pretty dreadful and the latest Radio 4 series is more than a little lame, the books all still do stand the test of time, with Zaphod, Arthur, Ford, Trillian and Marvin all still doing the business.

Yet another thing

7 09 2010

And Another Thing by Eoin Colfer

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

Pretty disappointing really. The Adams books were such fun. And whilst continuing the series was always going to be a real challenge, this really is pretty wide of the mark. Whilst there is some of the humour of the previous books there isn’t enough to sustain enthusiasm and the core plot is just a bit weak.

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