Sunday, November 1, 2009

And Another Thing (part 1)

Recently, the sixth book in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy was published. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move, partly because the previous book appears to have tied the story up quite succinctly, but mostly because the book was not written by Douglas Adams (who is spending the rest of eternity dead for tax reasons).

Before I continue, I must warn you that this treatise will contain spoilers, so if you haven't read the first five books in the trilogy, turn back before it's too late.

I have not yet read And Another Thing.... I bought a copy about a week ago, and I will soon be reading it, just as soon as I finish the first five (for about the twentieth time).

My primary concern is that of how there can even be a new Hitchhiker's novel. As I recall, Mostly Harmless ended very finally, with nearly everybody being extremely dead in all dimensions of space, time and probability. It doesn't seem possible to come back from something like that.

Then again, the impossible is actually fairly common on the Hitchhikers' universe(s). Given the infinite size of the universe, the other universes and dimensions, and in fact the whole sort of general mish mash (WSOGMM), nothing can truly be said to be impossible. Don't believe me? Perhaps we can discuss it over breakfast at Milliway's.

Another concern, one which has been voiced ad nausaeum since this book was initially announced, is that of the author himself. The problem that most people seem to have can be summarized thus: "Eoin Colfer is not Douglas Adams." History has shown us time and again that it's the blindingly obvious that is often the most difficult to handle.

Personally, I'm not expecting this new book to be just like the others. As long as this book is a reasonably light, funny tale set in the increasingly bizarre WSOGMM that Adams created back in the seventies, I'm OK with it. Think of it the way one thinks of a Star Trek novel. It doesn't need to be written my the creator to be good.

All told, I'm quite looking forward to reading And Another Thing.... I imagine that it'll be a bit like seeing an old friend after a very long time.

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