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Eoin Colfer – And Another Thing…

October 30, 2009

128. And Another Thing… by Eoin Colfer (2009)
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Book Six of Three

Length: 276 pages
Genre: Science Fiction, Humor

Started: 24 October 2009
Finished: 24 October 2009

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? I’ve known where my towel is since I was roughly twelve, so I couldn’t let a new Hitchhiker’s book pass unread. (A hat tip goes to The Book Pirate for alerting me to its existence in the first place.)

Colfer doesn’t quite
nail it, but it’s close enough
to still make it fun.

Summary: By the end of Mostly Harmless, Arthur Dent had finally made it back to Earth – well, an Earth, if not exactly his Earth. However, his being back on Earth made it that much easier for the Vogons to complete their mission of destroying the Earth and all of its inhabitants, in the name of a hyperspace bypass and bureaucratic completeness. Arthur, Trillian, their daughter Random, and Ford Prefect are saved once again, and set out on yet another journey across time and space, meeting up with some old friends (Zaphod), enemies (Vogon Captain Prostetnic Jeltz), gods (Thor, along with the rest of the Norse pantheon), and kneebiting jerks (Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged), and tackling new challenges, like overzealous real-estate-developers-slash-cult leaders, the terrors of dark-matter enhanced love, and a giant wheel of cheese (Gouda… or maybe cheddar.)

Review: When presented with And Another Thing…, the obvious first question is “Can you really have a Hitchhiker’s book without Douglas Adams?” And the answer, I’m happy to report, is “on the ‘mostly’ end of ‘sort of’.”

That waffly statement is a result of the patchy nature of the book. There were individual scenes that are funny enough to compete with Adams at his best, and then there were bits that just didn’t work for me at all. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the parts that worked best were the parts where Colfer took Adams’s characters and ran with them in his own direction, and the parts that felt the most labored were the parts where Colfer was trying to match his humor exactly to Adams’s style, and to cram in as much continuity as possible. For example, in the asides (here set off as “Guide Notes” and in different font), Colfer seemed determined to bring back every random (not Random) alien species Adams ever mentioned, without realizing that the reason those bits were so funny was because they were thoroughly unexpected and unconnected one-offs.

On the other hand, I absolutely laughed out loud more than once, was giggling constantly, and at one point in the middle I caught myself thinking “Man, I like Adams’s books so much better when they involve the Norse Gods.”… before it dawned on me that And Another Thing… was not actually written by the same man who wrote The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. That’s pretty high praise. Colfer undeniably had some huge shoes to fill, and while they don’t quite fit him perfectly (…yet; he did seem to get more comfortable inhabiting Adams’s universe as the book went on), neither did he trip over them and fall down the stairs. Besides, any book that starts with quotes from Douglas Adams and Tenacious D, and uses the word “sarcastigating” in a sentence gets a thumbs up from me.

But, sadly: No Marvin. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: If you go into this book expecting a Douglas Adams book, you’re probably going to be disappointed. But if you go in expecting an Eoin Colfer book written in the Hitchhiker’s universe, then it’s a fun, enjoyable, and mostly harmless read. (Heh.)

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: OF Blog of the Fallen, Bogormen
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: If you own a copy of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, then one of the last things you would be likely to type into its v-board would be the very same title of that particular Sub-Etha Volume.

Cover Thoughts: It’s a… Viking Space Chicken? (!) It’s certainly eye-catching, and no more random than the rest of the Hitchhiker’s covers.

Vocab: (see the whole list)

  • p. 87: ““So underneath all this aloofness is a simple maledicent.”” – One who speaks reproachfully or slanderously. (Could have figured that one out on my own.)
  • p. 137: “Random scowled. “So would you, if you’d spent the past while sealed in a tube with a cloud of viridigenous gas that was trying to make you happy.”” – producing greenness. (That one too.)
  • p. 138: “Two: They had developed a deeper level of sarcasm which was virtually undetectable except to another master of the form, and that definitely wasn’t the adult being sarcastigated.” – to censure severely with sarcasm.
  • p. 235: “Loki, who liked to sneak out of Asgards for a few tankards with the mortals on a weekend, had handed the adiaphorists a gift-wrapped basket of grist for their mill when he had spent an entire drunken evening loudly complaining of his erectile dysfunction problems.” – tolerance of actions or beliefs not specifically prohibited in the Scriptures; indifferentism.
12 Comments leave one →
  1. October 30, 2009 10:52 am

    I’ve never read Hitchhiker’s Guide, but my son loves it. I didn’t realize this isn’t written by the same author. My son would probably like this one too.

    • November 1, 2009 12:53 pm

      bermudaonion – Yeah, Douglas Adams (the original author) died a few years ago; apparently his wife authorized Colfer to carry on the series.

  2. October 30, 2009 11:43 am

    Hmm, maybe I will give this a chance at some point, if it mostly sort of lives up to Adams.

    • November 1, 2009 12:53 pm

      Jen – I’d say it’s about on par with Mostly Harmless – not a stand-out, but still good fun with a few really good bits.

  3. October 30, 2009 12:42 pm

    You’re the first person i’ve seen to review the book. I’m currently half-way through it and am rather disappointed so far. :-(

    • November 1, 2009 12:55 pm

      Colin – Oh, that’s a shame! I thought it was best in the middle – the beginning still had signs of Colfer trying to hit the right tone, and then end had too much stuff happening at once. I hope it improves for you!

  4. October 30, 2009 4:48 pm

    I so want to read this book, and yet I so don’t want to just in case I don’t like it.

    • November 1, 2009 12:55 pm

      Bart – I understand completely! But if you try it and don’t like it, then at least there’s a built-in excuse as to why not.

  5. October 30, 2009 10:04 pm

    I wasn’t sure what to thing about this book, but the fact that you rated it rather well makes me think I should give it a read!

    • November 1, 2009 12:56 pm

      Kailana – It’s not the best book I’ve read all year or anything, but it was a fun diversion with familiar characters, so it’s probably worth checking out. :)

  6. October 31, 2009 12:22 pm

    No Marvin? *dazzle is chagrined* I didn’t really love the two Hitchhiker’s books I read, but I looooved Marvin. I wanted more Marvin all the time (felt the same about Eeyore in the Pooh books…)

    • November 1, 2009 12:58 pm

      Jenny – I do love Marvin, and I did miss him this time around, but since he finally gets some closure at the end of book 5, bringing him back just would have felt cruel. :)

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