Nasa / Space

A froody addition to the Hitchhiker's series: And Another Thing...

Nicole Bremer Nash reviews the "sixth of three" addition to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. Find out whether she thinks author Eoin Colfer proved up to the task.

(Book cover, courtesy of the publisher)

To put it simply, And Another Thing... by Eoin (pronounced Owen) Colfer is fantastically froody. I was skeptical when I heard that the author of the Artemis Fowl series for young adults had been given license by Douglas Adams's estate to extend The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. As a reader, I generally think it's a bad idea for a writer to attempt to take over another writer's set, and Douglas Adams is a hard act to follow and an even more difficult writer to mimic.

But Colfer pulls it off. And Another Thing... is witty, and funny, and Adams-esque enough to please fans, but Colfer has a few tricks up his sleeve and claims The Hitchhiker's Guide for himself. Where Adams' writing regularly sidetracked into long train-of-thought jaunts, Colfer manages to interrupt the story with frequent "Guide Notes" while still moving the plot along at a reasonable speed. Colfer also does a bang-up job of working train-of-thought jaunts right into the storyline but without actually interrupting the action. We get a fantastic look into the improbable mind of Galactic President Zaphod Beeblebrox, while experiencing the juxtaposition of Beeblebrox's thinking with that of plain, old sort-of hero Arthur Dent, who again finds himself lost in space and wishing for a decent cup of tea.

Of course, it is highly improbable that Arthur will get a decent cup of tea or win the girl. It also seemed highly improbable that any author would realistically realize the dream of continuing The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series and actually pull it off well, but Colfer delivers, and fans can enjoy one more romp through the galaxy, Beeblebrox style. I'm hoping this revival will cause Hollywood to make movies of the rest of Adams' books and Colfer's as well.

I suggest enjoying this good book with a nice cup of tea. And maybe some digestive cookies.

Some TechRepublic members shared their thoughts about And Another Thing... last year; now that the book has been released, what do you think of the finished product?

About

Nicole Bremer Nash is Director of Content and Social Media for HuTerra, where she uses SEO and social media to promote charitable organizations in their community-building and fundraising efforts. She enjoys volunteering, arts and crafts, and conduct...

40 comments
sachin86
sachin86

Man I am hooked on McVities Digestive Biscuits and the All Butter Shortbread. Tried this stuff last time I went to England. I bought it online recently at www.theindianfoodstore.com in case anyone is looking for it in the US. Got em pretty quick and reminded me of how good it was!

fariasrv
fariasrv

"Hoopy," not "froody"

neilb
neilb

In the books, "Hoopy" is only ever applied to people. "Froody" might be right but you'd have to be really, really sad to use it. I believe the word that I am looking for is "plagiarised". :)

Mac_444
Mac_444

Definitely below Unseen Academicals

chris.leeworthy
chris.leeworthy

Erm... I don't mean to sound like a grumpy guts, but if you've really read this book surely you know that 'The girl' that Arthur wants and is failing to get is Fenchurch and not Trillian at all

The Flaming Maiden
The Flaming Maiden

I remember what I was thinking when I put that in, and it's simply a writer's error (too much going on in the brain at one time). All apologies, the editor should be removing it shortly. Thank you, Nicole Bremer Nash

neilb
neilb

but WHY did anyone feel the need to do this? Following on from the absolute abortion of a HHGG movie, this is just someone, somewhere trying to cash in on the genius of a dead man. "claims The Hitchhiker?s Guide for himself." I'm sorry, but just go away. The appeal of HHGG is surely [b]because[/b] of Adams. The inference that I draw from your piece is that the HHGG is good [b]despite[/b] Adams. I would suspect that you feel that way because you don't really understand the books. With regards to your other comment, I'm sincerely hoping that Hollywood buggers off and finds stuff to do that doesn't show their inadequacy - a wonderful combination of arrogance and ignorance - in dealing with cultural icons that aren't American. :( Just HOW would Hollywood deal with Cricket? Not to mention the even more insular - if that's possible - US audience. The planet Bezboll? Hah!

TNT
TNT

I mostly agree with your comments. The movie was terrible and probably harmed the overall series because a lot of people, after seeing the movie, would never want to read the books. I'm an American, and I too hope Hollywood looks elsewhere for material because they can't get HHGG right. What I completely disagree with you about is your treatment of the reviewer. She is an intelligent writer herself who deserves more respect and credit than you have given her. As such, I'm sure she understands the books as well as anyone. BTW, have you read any of Adams' other books? I'm particularly fond of "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" and "The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul." I had met Adams once, and I have to say he is better at creating characters than being one. I still love his books but was not particularly fond of him as a person. Regardless, you have to respect the talent. And while I too usually dislike other author's picking up a series, this book just made my Christmas list.

neilb
neilb

- and be wrong - just as I am allowed to disagree, as I do strongly, with the reviewer. The phrase that annoyed me initially was "but Colfer has a few tricks up his sleeve and claims The Hitchhiker's Guide for himself". After some consideration, I got REALLY annoyed with the reviewer's suggestion that "Adams' writing regularly sidetracked into long train-of-thought jaunts" was somehow "wrong" and was improved on by Colfer. Put simply, Douglas Adam's writing style in HHGG is what makes the book what it is and if the reviewer doesn't recognise that then I cannot withdraw my criticism. I don't believe that the reviewer recognised the huge influence of the origins of the books in the BBC radio series first broadcast in 1978. Neil :) Yes, I prefer the Dirk Gently books to the HHGG. The BBC also did a radio series of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency but this time the book came first.

seanferd
seanferd

that And Another Thing... was already serialized and broadcast by Radio 4 in October? I'm suspecting you would not have cared, just FYI. ;)

TNT
TNT

She can correct one or both of us, but I didn't get the idea that she was suggesting Adams was deficient or wrong, only that Colfer made some tweaks based on his own personal style. For instance, she mentioned the Guide Tips section. Adams never did that, but Colfer "made it his own" by doing something original. Then she also noted that Colfer doesn't do as Adam's did in regard to trains of thought. I didn't think she was saying one was better than the other, just noting the differences. Maybe she'll clarify for us...

Slvrknght
Slvrknght

That Adams was, himself, working on a sixth book because he didn't like the fact that he killed everyone off at the end of "Mostly Harmless." His estate opted to try and see it finished. I'll give it a read to see if it's any good. No one, I think, is claiming that Adams wasn't a genius writer, I just think that she meant it wouldn't have been as enjoyable if he just copied a bunch of Adams' stuff, maybe made a few "sight" gags about it. In order to really do justice to it, I think he would have had to give his interpretation of Adams' work. That being said, most of the people responsible for that movie should be whipped. Stupid Belgiums.

neilb
neilb

That's my beef. We didn't NEED this book. Adams can't write any more so let's just accept what we've got and cherish it because it's better - MUCH better - than nothing. We don't know where Adams would have taken the series and, personally, I don't CARE where Colfer proposes to go.

seanferd
seanferd

The Dirk Gently and H2G2 stuff which was going into the next H2G2 story was already there in partially-written and notes forms. I think that would have been great. I don't recall whether Jane had instigated the search for a writer, or if Colfer approached her or the publisher on the subject, but I think it would have been best just to publish the work in progress.

Shellbot
Shellbot

wholeheartedly.. I never would have picked the word abortion to describe the movie..but now that you have..it completely fits... I was so disgusted with what they did to it...

seanferd
seanferd

watched that movie. Not even accidentally.

seanferd
seanferd

Rather, planning the opposite. Thank you for your support. :D

SObaldrick
SObaldrick

Just disconnect the movie from the HHGTTG books and watch it as an original piece of work. Compared with 99% of the crap that comes out of Hollywood .. it's pretty good. Les.

TNT
TNT

The problem with the movie is that there is no way to capture the outlandish nature of Adams' characters on film. The humor is SO funny, SO outlandish, the characters SO over the top that it's impossible to make it look right. He creates situations and people that are far easier to imagine than they are to create in reality.

Shellbot
Shellbot

wasn't the whole problem.. everything was..it just didn't "fit together".. it was just so ..flat..the story was ok..it was the portrayal of it that sucked @ss

jwhanon
jwhanon

But, while that is true, I'm sure everyone realizes that D. Adams himself was working on the writing of the movie .....

Shellbot
Shellbot

its apalling.. I'd rather slit my wrists than ever see it again. A disgraceful shame...

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Just have to wait till [b]SWMBO[/b] brings me a copy home to read. I've been dropping a few hints recently but without much joy. :( Col

seanferd
seanferd

create the impression that it is SWMBO Herself who has had this idea, and that She has Ordained this Commandment that you read it. She will buy it, and you will have no choice but to obey and read. There may be a required report or discussion afterward.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

How to get [b]SWMBO[/b] to do as I want. Personally I think she is getting tired of me constantly saying [b]And Another Thing[/b] as she insisted that I tell her if this book was available now of did she have to wait to get a copy. ;) I gave up years ago sending her out to get stuff for me. I sent her on a flight to Sydney for a $15.00 part that I had to have for a Race Meeting. OK so the Airline Ticket was a bit over the top but no one could guarantee that they could deliver the part by the following Saturday and as I really needed it she went down to get it. A quick flight to Sydney a cab ride to the Supplier and pickup the part which was already invoiced to me and then back to the airport and jump on the next plane back. Should have taken about 3 hours to get back. Instead she arrived home 6 hours latter and instead of just the 1 $15.00 part she had thousands of $ worth of parts that she insisted I needed. Well OK I did use them within 6 months and I did appreciate some of them as when they where needed no one had any but I also had to find the money to pay for them at the end of the month which in that case was only a few days away and I had not sold any of them. So that took a bit of doing and then there was the slight matter of the Excess Baggage that I had to pay for on the return flight. But we didn't have any issues at the Race Meeting and the Team won that weekend so I suppose everything worked out for the best. Even if my bank Balance didn't like it and I was told by the Bank Manager never to let her loose in any of the suppliers [b]Ever Again.[/b] :D Col

seanferd
seanferd

that I should give this book a shot. Thanks for the review and reminder. From everything I've read, it sounds like a best-effort was made on this project, but I still haven't formally decided that I will read it. It is likely inevitable, however. ;)

SObaldrick
SObaldrick

I suggest enjoying this good book with a nice cup of tea. And maybe some digestive biscuits. Digestive do not make cookies! Les.

neilb
neilb

Anything else is heresy. And they do them with chocolate, too, to make a biscuit that was unmatched until the invention of the Chocolate Hobnob. :) For those transatlantic peers who have never eaten a Digestive Biscuit, think of a plain Graham cracker but with a denser texture. Oh, and round... Information provided free of charge by NITS(tm) Biscuit Division because we each ought to know what to put in the base of cheesecake recipes from across the water.

neilb
neilb

I just have a very short attention sp

SObaldrick
SObaldrick

Apologies! Did you miss my little joke in my previous post .. vroooom .. there it goes. Les.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

The Pilgrim Fathers wanted the freedom to worship the way they wished. However, if you read the history of the Massachusetts Bay Colony without the rose-colored "America's First Thanksgiving" glasses, it rapidly becomes obvious the only religious freedom in which the Pilgrim Fathers were interested was their own. If you disagreed with them, they weren't at all nice about it.

neilb
neilb

We don't do Thanksgiving over here as it's not in our history. Our history suggests - where it mentions them at all - that we were glad to see the back of the Pilgrim Fathers as they are recorded in [b]our[/b] version of events as a bunch of rural religious zealots who, far from being persecuted, disrupted the life of everyone around them. Still, that's no reason why you guys shouldn't have a great time. Neil :D Oh, and it's Digestive [b]Biscuits[/b]. We are good enough to eat Chocolate Chip [b]Cookies[/b] so I think you should reciprocate when referring to one of our cultural icons!

SObaldrick
SObaldrick

Seeing as TG is coming up, ever tried crushing digestives, mixing them with butter and pouring pumpkin pie mix inside? Les.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

It's a tease. You ain't gonna see none of it! ;) But if you're ever driving through Aiken, SC, don't forget to stop at the Curiosity Shop, http://www.curiosityshoptea.com/store/, and pick up your McVities products. There has to be a British specialty shop near where you are, and if not there, at least in Cleveland...

seanferd
seanferd

Now I'm interested. Are you sure you two aren't working together on this? :0

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

that Neil is pushing all these good British snacks/desserts/biscuits here in the forums, he's going to have excess baggage when he comes to the TR get-together. Won't be a problem on his way home, though. :D

seanferd
seanferd

Heard of, never eaten, a Digestive Biscuit. Not much into graham thingumies, either. But now I have a reference for the best digestive biscuit. B-)