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on 6 November 2009
I first heard tHHGttG on BBC Radio 4 way back in my lost yoof, read the books as the appeared, watched the TV series and listened to the radio series over and over again on CD. It was the title of this new book that attracted me - 'and another thing' - I laughed out loud, forgetting that this was a quote from Douglas Adams! I eagerly bought the book and sat down to read it, quite excited.

I confess I have never read any of Mr Colfer's previous books, so had no idea what to expect. I also remember that tHHGttG is a patchy affair: radio excellent, TV good, book four disappointing and recent movie abysmal. So I was quite open minded as I approached this book. But, I confess to being quite, quite disappointed. Around half-way through I started counting pages-read and pages-to-go. It moved into the loo as a read-as-you-sit book. I forgot to read it for a few days. I trudged the last few pages, almost skimming in a zuzz-zuzz kinda way until - hallelujah - it was over!

Just why does this book not work? I reckon there are several reasons. Firstly it is juvenile whereas Adams books were undergraduate. It tried to tell a story where the originals were rambling, incoherent and very, very funny. The previous books dragged you back, almost like scripture, to squeeze out further meaning and coherence.

As to the characters, none of them retained any of the colour or features of the previous books, excepts perhaps Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz. Zaphod was thin. Ford was ethereal. Arthur was far too sympathetic and reminded me too much of me! Trillian was someone entirely new I had never met before. Only the god, Thor, was well drawn. It felt like a plot, plus well-kent characters' names, plus some new ones, recipe-ed into a novel.

And, as I now begin to feel a bit like Jeltz, the ending was really phuttttt. It just kinda stopped. Like a student essay that hit the magic x thousand words. I'd like to say something more positive, but I am afraid there is little to recommend this book. Why 2 stars? Because I sniggered probably ten times. Credit where credit is due. However, this book will now go straight onto my Amazon for-sale ads.
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on 29 January 2013
Having read the "trilogy" a number of times I was doubtful that Colfer could provide a "must read" addition. Well I have just finished "And Another Thing" and find my doubts justified. A lot of the alleged humour is pretty infantile and the plot/plots unengaging. I guess that in the later volumes of Adams it was inevitable that the content and style should lose some of its novelty. And unfortunately Colfer has continued this trend. Whilst the trilogy will stay on my bookshelf and be read again and again Colfer will only be there for completeness and I doubt that it will get a frequent airing.
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on 13 October 2009
I've been reading Eoin Colfer's book 'And Another Thing' and I'm pleasantly surprised to discover that I happen to like it. That's a biggie, really unexpected, as I'm one of those people who can't accept the possibility that anyone could measure up to Douglas Adams in his own (reflection of this) universe.

Let's state the obvious, shall we? Eoin Colfer isn't Douglas Adams. If he'd tried to clone Douglas's work, this book wouldn't have floated. Eoin (I think I can call him that, having shaken his hand) hasn't tried to be Douglas Adams, but he has tried to satisfy Douglas's supporters by writing in a very similar style. It reads well without sounding like a cheesy attempt to mimick the original.

I don't want to be hyper-critical (oh, gwaaan, gwaaan), but these are notes on Douglas's style and what's remained the same or changed:

1. Douglas might have been writing about aliens, but he was really talking about us. The Vogons are human bureaucrats, planning officers, for example. Douglas criticised, but never attacked his targets too hard, never losing hearts and minds. Eoin has understood this and does it very well. From an Irish writer, just following the EU's capture of Ireland, this line is Douglas at his cutting best: 'If we win, then you will join our happy group; if you win, then we keep coming back until we win.'

2. Douglas was a script writer and he specialised in dialogue. In the first two books, the proportion of quotes is very high, compared to description. In a novel, the use of witty script makes it read like a fast television show. Eoin does use speech, clearly, but the proportion has moved, i.e. more toward description.

3. The first HHG book used footnotes from 'The Book' at regular intervals and readers loved them. As with Shakespeare, the prologue became a character in its own right. The second book used fewer notes from The Guide and then the rest of the series dropped them. If you ask the fans which books they prefer, you will generally find that they like the books in direct proportion to the number of Guide footnotes they include. Eoin has probably spotted this (or at least enjoys the footnotes) as he's dropped in lots of them. The difference is...

Douglas would write a footnote which was imaginative, surreal and then made a huge arching observation about the nature of the Universe, our perception of life itself or a cutting critique of human nature. He'd ask us to look at the thing from a new perspective, to open our eyes and shine a light in our minds, then he'd follow that with a silly twist at the end (the comedy pay-off). Eoin's footnotes are surreal, imaginative, they even use planet names, species and locations from the original books, but... the guru-like thinking, the great idea, the divine revelation isn't there. the footnote is funny, it's true, but Douglas had more insight into the human condition.

4. Imagination and escapism: Douglas wrote 'alternative world fiction', also called 'alternative reality' or 'what if?' fiction. He based his universe in science, never magic, and tried to find an engineering solution for each piece of alien strangeness. The only exception to the rule, as far as I can remember, was when his characters started flying (mind over physical laws). Eoin Colfer came to HHG as a magic writer (leprechauns etc). He has successfully made the transition to Douglas's way of thinking.

5. Douglas was a cynic and sometimes even depressive. His worst book was Mostly Harmless, in which he blows up the Earth, observes Marvin's death, kills all his characters, turns his back, shakes the blood off his hands and walks away feeling relieved. HHG followers generally didn't like Douglas's final HHG book. Eoin's advantage was that he's an upbeat writer and, as an ex-fan, his book couldn't possibly be as sickening to the loyal readers as Mostly Harmless. We didn't expect him to write something as good as the Hitch-Hiker's Guide, that's too much to ask, but there was hope he couldn't cock it all up (as they did in the film version by dropping all of the best lines). I'm delighted to report that Eoin has produced a book that is much closer to Douglas's best titles than Douglas's worst ones.

I expected 'And Another Thing' to be soul-less, mid range and uninspired, just another commercial fan-fiction vehicle for the characters. I expected it to stray from Douglas's rules of writing. I anticipated that Eoin might not know Adams' universe in any great detail or 'hear the music' in his lilting prose.

Those expectations have been confounded. The book rocks.

Adam Corres
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on 20 May 2012
Ive been a Hitchhiker's fan for years and have read all of the books about 1000 times each, so when I heard that another was coming out I was very excited.
I knew that metting the stand that Douglas set was going to be a challenge for any Author and unfortunatly Eoin (prounounced Owen by the way)
did not meet the standard set by him. All of the humour in the orriginal book was gone and replaced with poor attempts which I really did not really find funny.
My son said that Eoin was a great Author after reading the Artemis Fowl series and refuses to believe that this book could be bad but isn't really old enough to read the series yet.
Overall this book will be funny to some people but to me I didn't really enjoy it.
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on 21 July 2013
As a total fan of Douglas Adams I tried very hard to ignore this book. Then some clown at the book group recommended it and yes, I could have continued to pretend it didn't exist. However, I decided to clear my mind, pretend that it had nothing what-so-ever to do with my hero, and read it. What a travesty. How dare this author think he is up to the genius of Douglas Adams? It's childish and totally trite, a complete waste of my time and money. Stick to writing for children, you're not ready for the grown-up stuff yet.
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on 27 September 2013
I'm a HHGTTG fan. Radio shows - excellent. Douglas' books - sublime. This one... shouldn't have seen the light of day. It misses the point continuously and adds nothing to Adams' universe. It's not well written or...

I'm too depressed to finish this review.

Unless the publishers originally had this as a 'How to' guide and said guide was 'Experience Depression as Only a Droid Could' then there is as much point in reading this as voting conservative and expecting competence.

Fortunately I only paid 50p for my copy which I have misplaced and borrowed a friend's copy (which incidentally wasn't finished as his bookmark was left at chapter 8 a few days after the release of the book). On the plus side I may be able to make a profit and sell my hardback, first edition, mint copy on fleabay. I'm hoping for an 100% profit on my investment. That or I'll throw it in a river.

Douglas. We miss you wholeheartedly.
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The never ending trilogy.

A surprising choice to add to the famous Douglas Adams five part trilogy, the author being a children's/YA writer.

But in order to review this we need to go back in time to when Douglas Adams was to SF what Terry Pratchett was to become to Fantasy. Clever and inventive and a very nice guy. Somewhere at home I have the first three HitchHiker books all signed and I remember how down to earth and friendly Douglas Adams was, despite half the queue being in dressing gowns and holding towels. But those fans will all be about 50 today, so Eoin Colfer had to write to appeal to the nostalgia of that generation but also those younger fans who have discovered the HitchHikers Guide over the years. There is also the point that how will the humour of the late 70's translate 30 years later when having a hand held information provider is no longer science fiction?

Well, in my view, it was okay. It raised a smile now and then as Colfer does manage to replicate some of Adams' style. It was a nice reminder of how fresh and exciting the first few HHGTTG books were but I was not overly grabbed by the story and I did wonder what the point of this actually was. This doesn't really add anything to the five book trilogy (and accepting that the last original book was by far the weakest). I was surprised to find that Colfer was a reasonably safe pair of hands in this endeavour, even if one might question the endeavour itself. I was slightly worried that it might be me, what was so fresh 30 years ago has not dated specifically, but is was 'of a time' and this new addition seems strangely out of place.

So there are some nice touches, but I am not sure it was worth the effort or fuss.
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on 8 December 2013
This book is just dreadful. I'm quite an avid reader, although never before have I given up half way through a book. I've persisted through some bad novels - either badly written or just plain boring, but this tipped me over the edge. I've been aware (and wary) of it since it was released, and only bought it as I recently re-read the original series, and the ending was so bleak that I wanted to see if this could cheer me up. It didn't.

Imagine your favourite characters from the original books (and a load of minor ones that you're not really interested in) all brought back together, given awful dialogue, and a painfully drawn-out narrative that is constantly interrupted by a new, boring, irritating, facsimile of the guide (i'm not talking about V2, that disappears almost immediately). It's really really bad.

At one point Zaphod stops halfway through a set piece because he can't remember what he's doing or why he's there. That's how I felt with this book. Please don't buy it. They'll only write more of them if you do. An insult to Douglas, and when you think about it, outrageously arrogant of the Author to think that he could chuck another instalment on the end. Sir, if you read this, you should be ashamed of yourself.
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on 10 March 2015
I decided to read all the books together one after the other, and to be honest it was a fair stab at following in the footsteps of Adams, but unfortunately not a good one!

First thing that was irritating was the way he departed from the story every two paragraphs to put some garbage in, supposedly from the Guide. It was like doing kangeroo jumps in the car, fun at first, but quickly gets annoying. Also so many of the Guide entries were so derivative of the orginal anecdotes that I found myself getting really angry because it felt like he's flicked through the orginals and just changed names and situations.

Adams had a certain sharpness that made him highly amusing with his observations, Colfer just seemed meh. I really didn't care about the story and was bored quite quickly and took nearly a week to get through it, whereas Hitchhikers I can do in one sitting.

Please, please don't write any more because either Colfer wasn't a fan in the first place, or wasn't up to the job. I could go on, but frankly, I've read it now and want to erase it from my mind and remember Adams without the taint of commercial opportunism that this book represents.
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on 19 March 2010
I'm a Douglas Adams fan and have read all his books, and like many others, thought we'd never have another book like his written by anyone ever again. This book raised my hopes, then proceeded to mash them to tiny little bits. The "humour" in this "book" is mostly T&A, swearing and public school toilet humour. The places and characters are all recycled Adams characters, used over and over again for no particular reason apart from to say "look, I'm using Adams' stuff, you people like Adams' stuff!"
Take the overuse of the word "froody" for "cool". Adams first used it in the sentence "hoopy frood", so surely "hoopy" would have been a better choice of word to rip off and overuse...
Then there's little things like using Mom instead of Mum... oh come on! An Irish guy impersonating and English one by using American spelling? The mind boggles, the blood boils.
And where Adams' books are pretty much timeless (apart from references to digital watches), Colfer here has crammed in thinly-veiled refernces to YouTube, eBay, websites and mp3 players.
The plot is weak and predictable from the Bobby Ewing-style resurrection of the characters to the very end: there's nothing new or random (apart from Arthur's daughter) in the whole book, everything ties in with everything else, everyone knows everyone from before.
Reading this was a thoroughly miserable experience. It's the first time in my life I've ever considered writing hate-mail. It was a great inner battle to overcome my disappointment and not throw the book in a bin, I ended up leaving it on a train instead. But only because of the respect I have for books in general, despite travesties like this.
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