And Another Thing…

Cover of "And Another Thing... (Hitchhike...
And Another Thing...

I managed to finish a book. This is amazing these days. I used to plough through maybe 4-6 novels a week when I was at school. These days I’m nearer one a month, which is hugely disappointing to me.

Anyway, courtesy of the lovely people from ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha (the official Douglas Adams fan club), I won a copy of the sixth book in the trilogy. For those who don’t know, it’s actually written by Eoin Colfer, better known for his children’s books. This is predominantly to do with the fact that Adams died in 2001, making it even more difficult for his publishers to get a sequel out of him than was normally the case.

I would have bought a copy (I own a stupid number of copies of the original Hitchhiker books), but kept putting it off as I didn’t have the time. I started And Another Thing… just before the holidays on purpose – so that I’d stand a chance of finishing it.

And with four days to spare, I did. It took a lot of plodding, though it’s not a difficult read. It is very much a HHG novel. Credit to Colfer for that. He writes very well and has raised his level, for want of a better way of putting it, into the adult field perfectly.

I do have gripes, though. The story is good. In fact, I prefer it to Mostly Harmless, which I thought was actually a really poor novel. In fact, I think it’s the only Hitchhiker’s book I’ve never re-read. There’s a great use of language in AAT…, without (much) resorting to poor puns. This is a good thing.

My main issue is the number of times the novel sidetracks into Guide entries which simply aren’t up to the standards of Adams’. Where a simple metaphor would do, Colfer has – in almost every single case – used a fictional construct which then requires explanation. This removes so much from the pace of the story-telling that it becomes wearisome.

To me, good humour is quick humour. Jokes that have moved onto the next one before you realise that you’ve missed a chuckle and have to backtrack and enjoy the moment over again. This is why I love the likes of M*A*S*H, The West Wing, Jeeves & Wooster and so forth. Oh, and the original HHG books.

If Colfer had done this a little less (actually a lot less) then I’d have enjoyed the book a lot more. On the other hand, it would have been 30-40 pages shorter. This may not have pleased the Vogons in the publishing house.

There is some great writing in here and some paragraphs that really made me stifle a giggle. It’s good. Following on from such a respected author took a truckload of guts and a moment of idiocy. I’m glad Colfer took on the job as I doubt there are many other authors in this age who could have carried it off as well.

Still – could do better.

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And Another Thing…

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Click to embiggen

And Another Thing… is the title of the sixth book of the now ridiculously-named Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy. And the first not to be written by original author Douglas Adams. There’s an excuse for this. The man himself is dead. Instead, children’s author Eoin Colfer has been chosen to continue the story arc and the book’s due to be published on the 12th October this year – 30 years after the publication of the first novel.

I have blogged about this before, but thanks to John Coxon of ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha, I can now present you with the cover art for the book which he managed to nab at a pre-launch party the other night. I’m also going to upload it to Wikipedia in a second…

The launch of the sixth book with be preceded by (yet another) edition of each of the earlier volumes. They’ll have an introduction by HHG-related persons and the first book will also come with some stickers. Good grief. If course, I’m already going to see if it’s available to pre-order on Amazon because I’m sad like that.

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