I finally finished Eoin Colfers addition to Douglas Noah Adams seminal trilogy in three parts, and I have to say, I really liked it.
This text has received alot of harsh criticism, and much of it seems to be not of the “I read this book and it was a pile of fetid dingo’s kidneys” type, but rather more the “I will never read this book, a Hitchhikers book by another author is a SIN AGAINST NATURE” type.
I probably rant and rave more than anyone about the evils of retelling, rehashing, re-imagining, and rebooting the classics of our youth, there is just something that screams “If you have to change it, why not finish the job and make an original work anyway!” it screams this loudly, and usually whenever someone is horribly mistaken about what is and isn’t Battlestar Galactica. That said, I’d have to say “And another thing” doesn’t really fall within that category.
To summarize, without giving away the Ameglian Major Chicken, the only animal to come out of the great Gene looms of the Ameglian cluster to actually consider a life beyond being a main course, and consequently the most flavorful of the bunch, This story picks up just where book five left off. It uses a bit of a theatrical cheat, not quite on par with that of the “its all a dream” cheat, but still enough that your either going to go with it or not based on your own personal level of suspension of disbelief. The story-line, like those of the earlier works, tends to loop together loose threads that didn’t feel very loose in earlier works until someone went to the bother of looping them so nonchalantly, and brings back into the story line the characters of Thor, and Wowbagger the infinitely prolonged (that immortal green gent who came about to insult people for giggles).
The Story does feel a bit lacking without Adams at the helm, as Eoin Colfer first overly-apes Adams, and later adds a depth to the story that feels alien to the genre of wacky wild space hipsters that was Adams Milieu. He does update the setting a bit with more modern technical concepts, but many of Adams later works included them as well, so it doesn’t feel “that” off.
As to weather Eoin Colfer, Jane Adams, and Penguin Books had any moral right to produce another book sans Douglas, well I suppose that depends entirely on your perspective. The final season of the H2G2 radio show was adapted from his books by other authors, several of his last works were finished and sent to print by ghostwriters, the recent movie was the work of later authors, as were all of the stage plays. I suppose it all comes down to whether Adams himself would have wanted his characters, his wit, and his style to die with him, and to this last point I’d sorely hope the answer was a resounding no, because he has probably influenced more people than any other writer in recent history.
I’m still in the process of reading Red Land, Black Land: Daily Life in Ancient Egypt by Barbara Mertz, Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach, Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body (Vintage) by Neil Shubin, and rereading the Complete Sherlock Holmes, I’ve also started on 30 Days to Great French by Jenny Barriol, the last of which is due to the personal promise I made myself to learn french.
Your Inner Fish is, quite frankly, fascinating the hell out of me. Once you see yourself through this mans eye’s you realize that no species ever really stops being what its been, and that when you get down to it, we are still very much fish anatomically and biologically speaking.
Red Land, Black Land would be of massive interest to anyone with a taste for ancient Egypt, it paints a picture of a civilization reaching back thousands of years who, amazingly, were able to do very complex things through a long recorded history of Trial and Error. The Egyptians had very little concept of what we would call science, and a pathetically primitive mathematical system. To anyone who doubts the power of recorded trial and error, one reading of this text, and a look at the pyramids should rectify the situation.