Tuesday, April 14, 2015

And Another Thing . . .

No one writes like Douglas Adams.

In fact, after the first few books, not even Douglas Adams writes like Douglas Adams – the penchant for silly gets in the way of an actual storyline and, well, you’ve got Dickensian characters without the underlying story.

Same kind a goes for Eoin Colfer’s Hitchhiker’s attempt, “And Another Thing,” which, while it has a brief struggle with a story about the nature of gods and worship and such, doesn’t seem to get past the novelty of parading Adams’ characters (“Look! It’s Eccentrica Gallumbits!” Now it’s Ford Prefect! Whee!”) to get to an actual story.

So in that vein, Colfer has succeeded in writing the perfect Hitchhiker’s book, because they’ve always been light on plot, but this one seems lighter than most.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide itself (the device and company, not necessarily the books) hasn’t aged well. What seemed magical at the beginning  -- a portable device that offers the froody history of everything in the universe – now boils down to the worst of Wikipedia where you see [citation needed] more than anything else.

Colfer’s take is rather depressing – nobody in this book is happy, with the exception of those infamous Ameglian Major cows, who want to shove themselves down everyone’s throats at the nearest possible occasion. Sign of the times, I suppose. You can’t write space opera these days without everyone being so utterly depressed about everything. Why concentrate on the glorious vastness of the universe when the universe inside our own skulls is such a miserable, wretched place, right? I’m tired of science fiction and fantasy like that. I don’t mind brooding – but a whole novel of brooding? No thank you.

Yes, this book is dull. Dull re-destruction of Earth ad infinitum as Earth exists in so many dimensions . . . Vogons questioning their Vogonness (see? Even the Vogons are depressed in this one). And Arthur is there WITHOUT HIS DRESSING GOWN and SANS TOWEL.

I sound old. I must pause to adjust the onion on my belt.

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