two-and-half-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
44-Jan-Feb-2010
By: 
Eoin Colfer
user_rating: 
0

Part Six of Three

A-And Another ThingThe author of the popular Artemis Fowl books for children, Eoin Colfer, was chosen by Douglas Adams's family to write this sixth book in the increasingly inaccurately named The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy, after Adams's own installment Mostly Harmless (1992).

The Story: Fans of Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series may remember the depressing letdown of the final book, in which all the major characters are killed off. But people and planets are not so difficult to resurrect in the Hitchhiker universe, and the publishing powers-that-be, as well as author Eoin Colfer have done so in Part Six of the series. Before his death in 2001, Adams had talked about producing a more optimistic ending for the series. Readers will have to pick up And Another Thing ... to see if Colfer succeeds, but they will know that there are plenty of Adams's trademark Vogons, verbal antics, and improbably powered spaceships (and plots) in store--not to mention a healthy helping of entries from the legendary Guide itself.
Hyperion. 276 pages. $25.99. ISBN: 9781401323585

Guardian (UK) 4 of 5 Stars
"Completely defeating my scepticism about such ventures, Eoin Colfer has achieved the best post-mortem impersonation I have ever read. If Adams's family had chosen to tout this manuscript as an original novel discovered in a cupboard, their subterfuge would have been hard to rumble." Mark Lawson

Times (UK) 3.5 of 5 Stars
"Fans can put away the axes right now, because [Colfer] has done a fine job. ... I haven't read anything in a long time that made me laugh as much as the battles on Planet Nano involving the elderly super-rich, their personal trainers and a sect of cheese-worshippers who cry, ‘You will bring Edamnation down on us all!'" Lisa Tuttle

Onion A.V. Club 3 of 5 Stars
"The result is inevitably a compromise, but by no means a bad one. ... Another Thing isn't the novel fans may have wanted, but it's the best that could be hoped for under the circumstances: fast-moving, respectful, and in the end, mostly harmless." Zack Handlen

io9.com 2 of 5 Stars
"After re-reading the first half of And Another Thing ... and still being left with a very vague sense of empty calories, I started to wonder if I was viewing the original through a haze of nostalgia--was Adams really that much funnier? I flipped to a random page in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and it was actually sharper and more subversive than I'd remembered. Honestly, if you're jonesing to visit the Hitchhiker's universe again, you're way better off rereading Adams' first couple of novels, when he was at the top of his game." Charlie Jane Anders

Los Angeles Times 2 of 5 Stars
"Colfer starts his installment promisingly but ultimately can't match Adams' brilliant insouciance or his knack for memorable inventions." Ed Park

Times (UK) 1.5 of 5 Stars
"Colfer has his own qualities as a writer, but they're not shown to best advantage by melding him with Adams. The most positive thing you can say about this sequel is that it makes you realise how good the original was." Phil Baker

Critical Summary

A wide variety of people love Douglas Adams's books, so perhaps it is appropriate that each critic brought his or her own expectations to And Another Thing . ... Several who revered Adams's deadpan prose and verbal inventiveness found that the new book falls short. Others felt that Colfer's imitation often lacks subtlety and relies too heavily on reviving old Adams gags and characters. The Los Angeles Times even went so far as to argue that this novel should have been reinvented in some more original form, such as an e-book. But some took the appearance of And Another Thing ... to critically review the Adams oeuvre and found that Colfer made up for some qualities the original author lacked. In any case, even the harshest critics of the book were happy to see Arthur, Ford, Trillian, and Random saved from their doom.