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164 of 167 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Last Chance to See ...
Douglas Adams once noted that there was a class of reviewer who simply took the best jokes out of a book and put them in their review. It's going to be difficult to review The Salmon of Doubt without doing that, every page has quotable lines, memorable phrases and oh-so elegant metaphors that are just sitting there waiting for a reviewer to pluck them out. I'll do my best...
Published on 25 April 2002

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not What is Implies
The cover suggests this is mostly the unfinished third novel featuring Dirk Gently but actually it's mostly a collection of various articles written by Adams for various magazines and newspapers. Whilst some are of interest, many are outdated now and of little interest to most.

However, there are also several short stories, one of which being "The Private Life...
Published on 13 Jun 2012 by Zotwot


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164 of 167 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Last Chance to See ..., 25 April 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Salmon of Doubt (Hardcover)
Douglas Adams once noted that there was a class of reviewer who simply took the best jokes out of a book and put them in their review. It's going to be difficult to review The Salmon of Doubt without doing that, every page has quotable lines, memorable phrases and oh-so elegant metaphors that are just sitting there waiting for a reviewer to pluck them out. I'll do my best not to.
Latterly, Douglas Adams had become as famous for not writing Hitchhikers books as for writing them in the first place. The Salmon of Doubt, a collection of essays, articles, interviews and, finally, ten chapters of his last novel, demonstrates that he'd developed his displacement activities to avoid writing into a fine art, progressing from 'taking another bath' and 'going for a walk' to coming up with some of the most elegant essays on atheism ever written and climbing Kilimanjaro to save rhinos. This is what he'd been getting up to all that time, and it was a far more interesting and productive way of occupying himself than coming up with new things for Marvin to do.
And if I haven't done so already, here's where I lapse into cliche - Douglas Adams delighted millions; created characters and phrases that have passed into everyday use; he died tragically young; he made the most complex philosophical and scientific ideas seem so simple; I never met him but he made me feel that I knew him; I laughed aloud while reading this book.
Stephen Fry's introduction is perceptive, but more importantly it's moving. Fry makes the crucial point - Adams convinced a generation of readers that he was writing just for us. The sense of loss in this, and an equally moving tribute by Richard Dawkins at the end of the book, is keen. The subtitle of the book 'Hitchhiking the galaxy for one last time' captures the excitement of the prospect of being allowed into Douglas Adams' universe once more ... but also the sadness that it genuinely will only be once more...
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No doubt, 1 July 2002
This review is from: The Salmon of Doubt (Hardcover)
There are all sorts of reasons why The Salmon of Doubt should never have appeared. Adams himself never chose to publish his collected articles, letters and speeches, and he was patently unhappy with the way the third, unfinished, Dirk Gently novel was going - so why should anyone else take the decision to publish for him?
It's hard to justify, but I'm glad they did. Douglas Adams was always more interesting when he was writing about subjects which touched his passions, rather than taking us on the flights of fancy that made up his fiction - brilliant though that was - and perhaps more than anything Adams would have himself chosen to publish in the one place, this collection gives an insight into a constantly inquiring mind which had developed a very logical yet very human world-view. Adams' passions - rock music, Bach, conservation, atheism, missing deadlines - glow out from these pages.
The unfinished Dirk Gently novel is, perhaps, more frustrating than enlightening, stopping abruptly as it does. It seems disjointed - I'm not convinced by the way it has been edited together, but since we're not likely ever to see the source material, I can't really comment there.
The inclusion of the running order for his memorial service at the end also seems unnecessarily morbid - surely this publication should be celebrating a life rather than marking a death? But then, if Dave Gilmour was to play "Wish You Were Here" at my funeral, I think I'd want people to know about it.
Not one for those who have read no Adams, but an interesting rounding-off of a far-too-short career for the rest of us.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what was promised, but excellent nonetheless., 17 Aug 2006
By 
Peter Hunt (Mountain View, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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If you are a fan of Douglas Adams' fiction, then this book is well worth getting. Although it contains mostly non-fiction essays, articles and interviews, they are very entertaining, and have the same sharp, witty and informative voice as his fiction works.

Adams was clearly an extremely intelligent and perceptive man, and his ability to make wry but penetrating observations in a clear, concise and entertaining way is displayed here again and again. These essays run the gamut from the hilarious to the deeply moving - sometimes within the same article.

The unfinished novel, The Salmon of Doubt, is interesting, but somewhat frustrating to read, as none of the disparate elements quite come together. As a work in progress, it sadly needed a lot more work done to it to bring it up to Adams' usual standard.

I deduct one star because the collection is not *quite* what was promised. Initially, we were told in press releases that this book would contain much of the unpublished material found on Adams' laptop after his death. However, apart from the novel excerpt, nearly all the material has been published before, either in magazines, newspapers or online. It's great to have it all in one place, but a lot of it we've seen before.

Nevertheless, as a tribute to Adams' life as a novelist and journalist, this book is as close to perfect as it can be. After reading The Salmon of Doubt, I both marvelled at Adams' genius, and mourned his untimely passing.

Ah Douglas, you left us far too soon.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sorely missed genius..., 30 May 2002
This review is from: The Salmon of Doubt (Hardcover)
When this book turned up on my desk at work, I tore open the wrapping and started reading it there and then. Much chortling (and no small amount of guffawing) later, I had to return to work. But the book left its mark on me, in the form of a huge wave of melancholy...
You see, Mr. Adams is gone. The genius and extremely tall gentleman who breathed life into Dentarthurdent and changed the name of Svlad Cjelli into something altogether more pronounceable has gone to amuse the inhabitants of an altogether nicer place, and the world is a duller place for it.
What we have left to remember him by is this, a half-finished novel, a collection of contemplations, some book introductions, interviews, and short things that can only be described as sentences. Tell you what, it's bloody genius. Maybe it's because he's writing for himself a lot of the time, I don't know, but it really is genius.
Buy it, and remember him as I think he would have liked to be remembered. As someone who really knew how to make you laugh.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Extremely entertaining, 16 May 2002
By 
S. Mason "spooks42" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Salmon of Doubt (Hardcover)
If only Douglas Adams had finished 'The Salmon of Doubt', I am certain I would have given it 5 stars, but now I shall be forever wondering about Desmond the Rhino.
I found the numerous essays, interviews and articles, preceeding the 10 existing chapters of the book, extremely entertaining and insightful, and I only hope I bump into Mr Adams on the other side, so that he can tell me the ending...if there was ever one planned.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for all Douglas Adams fans, 15 May 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Salmon of Doubt (Hardcover)
From the introductory comments by Stephen Fry, to the final interview with Adams himself, this book paints a portrait of a very funny, very intelligent man.
In many of the pieces included in the collection, Adams refers to his losing his enthusiasm/interest/plot during the writing of the last book, as well about the way in which a legion of disparate ideas tend to come all at once. This style of peripatetic thinking is shown in his lectures and journalistic pieces, but perhaps most of all in what becomes the first half of his unfinished novel.
From his earlier comments in the book, it is not at all clear whether the book would have remained a Dirk Gently novel at all. I rather believe that the basic ideas would have formed a sixth HH book. It is fascinating nevertheless to see the various, typically left field, ideas being pulled into a singular story, and gives a real insight into how the author who many, including myself, see as a genius came up with his complex, thought provoking but most of all very funny novels.
This book is a must have for Douglas Adams fans It is also a perfect example of how intelligent humour can be used to illustrate extremely serious and complex arguments, a very personalised picture of brilliant writer who would do just about anything except write, but most of it is a final fleeting glimpse of the creative power that has been taken from us by Douglas Adam's untimely death.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Be aware of what you're getting, 7 May 2008
By 
Mr. R. Wenman (Buckinghamshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
For those who know Douglas Adams' work, chances are you are aware that The Salmon of Doubt is the last of Adams' work before his untimely death and is incomplete. Thus for those with an interest in Adams' work this is your last insight into what would have been the third book in his Dirk Gently series. Or perhaps the sixth book in the Hitchhikers series? Who knows what this may have ended up as.

This book will give you your last Adams' fix but be aware. Although the book is listed as 336 pages, the actual in-progress novel The Salmon of Doubt is tucked away at the very end of the book and constitutes only a small portion of the entire book. The majority of the content is a compendium of Adams' work ranging from speeches to columns to random notes. It's a chance to see a little more of Douglas Adams for those who are fans, but for those who just bought it for the novel you may feel a bit ripped off.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Missing DNA, 17 Jun 2002
By 
R J Patrick (Gerrards Cross, Bucks Great Britain) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Salmon of Doubt (Hardcover)
I read The Salmon of Doubt with a little trepidation - the last part finished book I came across was The Dark Tower by C S Lewis, also a collection of excellent short stories and a sublime start to an unfinished novel (try it if you liked the 'Out of the Silent Planet' Trilogy or if you like SF shorts with really good twists). This time the experience was as frustrating but also much more rewarding.
Having just enough of the novel to whet ones appetite is a Bad Thing, unfinished novels are not to be recommended - just too upsetting when they stop. Particularly when they are just gathering speed and looking so very promising.
Having a good collection of other material is however Very Good Indeed. Knowing that there is no more to come from this thought provoking and generally wonderful human of the highest order is heartbreaking.
I enjoyed the diverse selection of articles and interviews tremendously and would indeed concur with Mr Fry about the sheer quality of the writing - to make it look this effortless takes real work and a good dose of genius.
An excellent read and another substantial part of DNA's memorial.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There is no doubt., 27 Aug 2003
This review is from: The Salmon of Doubt (Paperback)
There is no real doubt that Douglas Adams was a witty genius and this collection of interviews, essays and stories shows this perfectly. The main focus of the title is the unfinished book Adams was working on at his death- The Salmon of Doubt- but the book also contains collections of his thoughts from many different sources to give even better insight into his comically twisted clever mind. He addresses his love of science fiction and computers and his deep interest in the wider world as well as tales of his mission to make the Hitchhiker's Guide into a motion picture. All in all it is a must have for fans of all his works as it shows the depth of his intelligence and the strength of his wit.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not What is Implies, 13 Jun 2012
The cover suggests this is mostly the unfinished third novel featuring Dirk Gently but actually it's mostly a collection of various articles written by Adams for various magazines and newspapers. Whilst some are of interest, many are outdated now and of little interest to most.

However, there are also several short stories, one of which being "The Private Life of Genghis Khan" which is very funny. The ten chapters of the unfinished Dirk Gently novel are brilliant and I would argue better than the openings of the two finished novels starring the holistic detective. Dirk starts to receive $5000 deposits to his bank account and decided to follow a complete stranger in the hope that this might somehow help. His horoscope also predicts he will meet a rhinoceros called Desmond.

It is only a shame there is not more for I think it would have been the best Dirk Gently novel which is really saying something. Overall this book is great for people who have read all of Adams book's and want more but would probably not appeal to most others.
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