Review: ‘And Another Thing…’ by Eoin Colfer, in the style of Douglas Adams

By oldenglishthorn - Last updated: Monday, September 20, 2010 - Save & Share - One Comment

My husband-to-be has apparently been bitten by the book-blogging bug, and so I have decided to allow him one guest review, on probation. This may or may not become a regular feature…

"And Another Thing..." book cover

Title: And Another Thing…

Author: Eoin Colfer (in the style of Douglas Adams)

Published: Penguin, 2010, pp. 340

Blurb: Arthur Dent led a perfectly ordinary, uneventful life until The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy hurled him deep into outer space. Now he’s convinced a cruelly indifferent universe is out to get him.

And who can blame him?

His life is about to collide with a pantheon of unemployed gods, a lovestruck green alien, a very irritating computer and at least one very large slab of cheese. If, that is, everyone’s favourite renegade Galactic President can get him off planet Earth before it is destroyed… again.

When, where and why: I picked this book up last weekend on a trip to Westfield. My English Rose managed to resolutely avoid buying any more books, but this caught my eye. Being a big fan of the series and Douglas Adams, I couldn’t resist picking it up to see how well it worked with a different author.

What I thought: I started this book (billed as part six of three) with high expectations and not a little trepidation. Douglas Adams has a very distinctive style, and I wasn’t sure how well the characters would work in the hands of another author. I have not yet read the Artemis Fowl books that Eoin Colfer is famous for, so I had no idea what was in store.

The story picks up almost immediately after the events of Mostly Harmlessand many familiar characters reappear, including Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged, Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz, and Thor. The varying threads of the story flow and intermingle in a very natural way, and there is no shortage of the offbeat fragments that are characteristic of Douglas Adams’ novels.

And the moral of the story is? There are a few actually: some people are bastards and should never be left in charge. And, a Magrathean will always take the money, no questions asked. Finally, always fit composting diaper bags just in case. Because you really never know. No one really ever knows. (p. 35)

I was amazed at how quickly I became drawn into the story, as if it were one of the original series. If I hadn’t known that the book was written by another author after Adams’ death, then I would not have been able to tell. The characters have been beautifully captured and expressed, and the writing style is almost identical.

One new feature in this book is the much more frequent inclusion of relevant (and incidental) notes from the Guide:

Throughout recorded history the ability to ‘state one’s case well’ has generally had about as much success as ‘talking things out reasonably’ or ‘putting aside our differences’. The people who use these tactics generally mean well and would make excellent motivational speakers or kindergarten teachers, but on no account should they be put in charge of situations where lives are at stake.  (p. 102)

While it’s nice to have more fragments from the illustrious Guide, it is a double-edged sword. The quotes are usually funny and interesting, but they sometimes interrupt the flow of the tale and distract from the action, and they can span multiple pages. If I had only one criticism of the book, this would be it.

The cover advertises that this edition is “now with added other things”, which form an appendix about the genesis of this book and some history of the series. Having previously only written books for children, Eoin gave a speech at the launch of this book. This is quoted in the appendix, including some brief thoughts about the transition from Puffin to Penguin, and the differences he discovered when writing for an adult audience:

People have asked me, is there much difference between writing for kids/teenagers and writing for adults? I say no, well, you know one is like a lot of fart jokes, you know, a lot of crass humour, and the other one is kids. (Appendix)

Where this book goes: I really enjoyed this book,  and I would highly recommend it to any fan of Douglas Adams and the original Hitchhiker’s series. This book is definitely staying on my shelves, and staying nearby for whenever I need some light-hearted and untaxing silliness.

Tea talk: I shall have to be excused from this section. No, really, I have a note from my mum and everything… Well, all right. The simple fact is: I don’t drink hot drinks (apart from the occasional hot chocolate or mulled wine/cider). I shall leave tea to She Who Knows Best instead: my wonderful Old English Rose.

Posted in Book Review • Tags: , , , , , Top Of Page

One Response to “Review: ‘And Another Thing…’ by Eoin Colfer, in the style of Douglas Adams”

Comment from Laura
Time September 20, 2010 at 10:44 pm

Didn’t he do well? xxx

Write a comment