And Another Thing... represents the sixth part of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy. Eoin Colfer, as allowed by the estate of Douglas Adams, takes on the task of continuing the story where Adams left off. From all references that I've read regarding Douglas Adams, it would seem these are some pretty big shoes to fill.
Let me start off with my disclaimer: I've read many books recently that advised me if I liked whichever author I was reading, then I would love Douglas Adams. These recommendations came at around the same time that I noticed Colfer's addition to the collection would soon be released. Much to my chagrin, I received both the H2G2 collection and the new book in the same week. This didn't leave me enough time to get the whole original series read to be able to review on a complete author to author comparison. Also, I've been collecting the Artemis Fowl series but only have two of the seven so far, so making a story versus story comparison isn't feasible yet, either. Putting all of the reasons aside, I will do my best with this review.
I think Eoin Colfer does an admirable job of maintaining the original feel of H2G2. I'm sure there are differences in some minor aspects, stylistically speaking, to the story telling as every author does things with their own unique touch. Overall, though, I think both authors have/had an innate talent with the ironic humour that has maintained the success of the series and made it so memorable after all these years.
What would be new to the series are the little digs about such things as computer equipment malfunctions similar to a popular current platform I won't name ("It didn't take much to freeze him. You should have waited for version 2.0") or references to reality TV ("This last was the subject of a reality show broadcast in the Sirius Tau system call Last Behemoth Standing'). These are all relatively new phenomena that Adams himself hadn't the opportunity to poke some fun at, but, again, I'm sure he would have. In fact, nothing is sacred, from Norse Gods to inter-species marriage, Colfer gives us history and life lessons with a twist. He demonstrates the possible future of religion as a God-for-hire type set-up, used to maintain order, by hierarchy, as new planets are discovered and inhabited.
Douglas Adams had admitted that his fifth book didn't sit well with him as a fitting ending but his untimely death did not allow for his own continuation. It takes a brave man to take on a project such as this and Eoin Colfer has received criticism for attempting it, but really, anyone other than the original author would attract the same. In the end, Colfer created a fun book to read, with lots of nonsensical situations arising, making you unsure of what's real or what may be only be a construct created life. Meanwhile, poor Arthur Dent continues his struggle to find a decent cup of tea and the age old question of "Rich Tea or Digestive", which is the better accompaniment?
I fully intend to get through the whole H2G2 in the near future and take it all in context but even if this book is read as a stand-alone novel, it is quirky fun and well worth the effort.
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