Most helpful critical review
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Consider it On its own merits
on 29 July 2005
Actually, this is asking quite a lot, since such a big thing is made on the cover of this being 'Douglas Adams' Starship Titanic. Well - its not Douglas Adams at all, and I'm afraid that if you want a Douglas Adams novel then re read the Hitchikers and Dirk Gently series, because that's all there is. This is by Terry Jones, and its a very different kettle of babel fish. .
So, once you've managed to get rid of all the expectations you'd have of a Douglas Adams novel - how much will you enjoy it ? I have to say that I was quite pleasantly surprised, especially bearing in mind the book's unusual genesis. Without going into great detail about this, the idea came from a very brief throwaway gag digression in Adams' third Hitchikers Guide novel, " Life, The Universe, and Everything " . Created as a computer game, the deal Adams had struck with Simon and Schuster meant that there had to be a novel come out at the same time as the computer game. Considering this far from ideal conception process, the book does hang together rather well. It all makes sense - actually the plot is rather simple. Its pretty much all there in the title. There are jokes aplenty , although you get the feeling that a lot of the humourous digressions are put in to please Adams fans, rather than because Jones wanted to actually write the book this way. And the unfortunate thing is, it won't please Adams fans, because its done rather without conviction. While Adams derives so much of his comic power through an almost unique ability to explain the most illogical things in terms of perfectly understandable logic, Jones just tells you that he could explain how something happened, but it would be very long and boring so he won't bother.
Still, what you lose on the roundabouts. . . Jones' characters are more real and well developed than almost all you find in any of Adams' novels. A comparison between the relationships between the principals in this book, Dan, Lucy, Nettie and The Journalist, and the relationship between Fenchurch and Arthur in SLATFAT Fish, for example will bear this out. In parts its rather nearer the knuckle, rather more saucy than Adams' work too.
If you love Adams, and you're looking for something similar - then you will be disappointed with this. If, on the other hand, you can accept it for what it is, a fairly light, amusing and relatively undemanding sci fi comic romp, then you might well enjoy it. I rather did.