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Book Report: And Another Thing...


Your Humble Blogger came across The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy at just the right moment. I was old enough to get it, and young enough to enjoy it. It was new enough to be hip, but not new enough to be difficult to get hold of in Arizona in the early 80s. I could bond with my friends over it, because I liked, and, crucially, they also liked it.

And, of course, it was funny. I wonder how much my sense of humour was matched by Hitchhiker’s (and earlier by Python), and how much of it was formed by them. I mean, much of the stuff in them told me this is funny, and was reinforced by my buddies telling me how funny it was, and me telling them how funny it was, and so funny meant stuff like this. On the other hand, the original radio show (which I didn’t hear until much later) and the miniseries (which probably was where I started) and the first two books really were funny. So there’s that.

I was disappointed in the third book, I think—my recollection is pretty fuzzy, but I think I watched the tv series first and then read the first two books, which follow it pretty closely. The third book came out in 1984 (in the US); I suspect that, actually, was the first sequel I knew about in advance and eagerly awaited. It didn’t have the familiarity factor of the first two, and of course at the time I was not into Cricket (Australia all out for 98!!!! England finished the day at 157 for naught! It’s a Christmas Miracle!) so the cod derivation of the Ashes and the end of the world was not as funny as it might have been. Still, I didn’t hate it.

I don’t think I hated the fourth book, either, although it didn’t feel like a Hitchhiker’s book at all. I loved the Fenchurch romance. I found the Asylum bits a bit glibly cynical, but then the whole idea of the book was glibly hopeful.

I don’t even remember the fifth book. I must have read it. I vaguely remember hating it, but none of the events sound remotely familiar. It sounds awful, but I don’t know if it just sounds awful or if it was awful. At any rate, I was done with the series at that point. At least in the sense that I didn’t need any more books—I reread the first one at some point, and I watched the intermittently entertaining feature film, and I have vaguely wanted to re-watch the original television series with my daughter when she is old enough (I have no idea when that would be—she has read or at least skimmed the first book, through my inadvertently shelving it within her reach), but I don’t bemoan the lack of new material.

So. Probably I should have left And Another Thing alone. I didn’t even like the book I read in Eoin Colfer’s original series.

It would be inaccurate, then, to describe myself as disappointed in the book. Aggrieved? Irritated? Distracted? All I know is that I have written better fanfic than that, and that was the last fanfic I wrote before discarding the idea that I was any good at it.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,
-Vardibidian.