Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Part Six of Three
By Eoin ColferWhen the human minor realized that the entire planet was about to be destroyed, she expressed regret that she had not been allowed to live her life as she would have wished. Granting that wish did not conflict with my primary directive.
Douglas Adams was a genius. He wrote the laugh-out-loud hilarious Sci-Fi, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, in 1979 and followed it with four more installments over the next 13 years. The series seemed to end on a bit of a downer when the last book was published in 1992. However, six years later, he spoke of plans to write a sixth one saying, “Mostly Harmless was a bleak book, and I would love to finish Hitchhiker on a slightly more upbeat note.” Fans of the series rejoiced! But in 2001, Adams died suddenly of a heart attack. He was only 49. It seemed that the series would not see another book, until Adams’s widow, Jane Belson, asked Eoin Colfer to write a sixth book to commemorate the series’ 30th anniversary in 2009.
Eoin Colfer is also a genius. He wrote the laugh-out-loud hilarious Fantasy series, Artemis Fowl (a favorite of mine growing up), which has also received international acclaim. After the treacherously long wait for another book in the Hitchhiker’s series, Colfer’s And Another Thing . . . received mixed reviews. I think many readers approached the book with a closed mind, determined not to like it. So of course they didn’t. But Colfer is not Douglas Adams, and no amount of complaining or criticism of Colfer’s work will bring Adams back from the dead.
Colfer is a brilliant, funny writer who greatly respects the work of Douglas Adams. His style is different, the way he relates to the characters is different, and his knowledge of the Hitchhiker’s universe is different. But different does not equal bad, and if you approach the book with an open mind, I think you’ll enjoy it too. Colfer follows tradition and uses Arthur Dent’s misfortune to teach subtle lessons about human nature, love, and second chances. Colfer stays true to many of Adams’s beloved characters, and the addition of new off-the-wall characters is exactly what Adams would have wanted. The book includes gods and demigods, aliens and technically not aliens, and stolen ships and “borrowed” ships. Once again, the book’s various plot lines and seemingly unrelated stories are tied up at the end in a clever, giggle-filled climax. But the best part? This book has a happy ending. Or at least the happiest ending that poor Arthur can muster.