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on 7 May 2008
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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on 8 May 2005
This really is a brill book..(Salmon, Brill...) The guy was a comedy genius. As well as a proper tech-head! The first two thirds of the book are chock full of short stories, letters and articles Adams has written over the years for various magazines etc. all brimming with his exagerated style and wit. So much fun to read, and because it's not one long story as such, it's great for reading at work in between the tea breaks. The last third of the book is the sadly unfinished, completely off the wall Dirk Gently novel, which had me laughing out loud, which I very rarely do.
Here's a wee sample (so to speak) :
(Whilst talking about childhood holidays) "...I've been back to the Isle Of Wight about once. I stayed at a hotel where the evening's entertainment was to turn of the lights in the restaurant and watch as a family of badgers played on the lawn."
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on 19 May 2002
My first experience of Douglas Adams was reading my brother's battered copy of HHGTTG. Because half the pages had fallen out, the next week I bought the full trilogy in five parts. From then I was hooked.
Some of the bits in Salmon of Doubt far outstrip any of Adams' work that he intended for publishing, such as his interview with the American Atheists and the account of an attempted comparison dive with manta rays and a scuba-type mini submarine. His digs at technology (execpt for his beloved macintosh, from which a majority of the book was formed) are also hilarious.
Therefore I would recommend the salmon of Doubt to anyone who can read. I just wish Amazon had a ten star option for Douglas Adams books alone.
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on 6 January 2003
I've just finished reading Douglas Adams' final book The Salmon of Doubt.
It's not really his last book. Or rather it's not how his last book would have been if he had been around to finish it. It's actually a dozen or so chapters from various drafts of the book that were found on his hard disk after his death. And this is the frustrating thing. You know you'll never know exactly who has been sending Dirk Gently $5000 a week. Or why. Or what DaveLand has to with any of it[1]. I guess this is as close as I'm ever going to get to knowing how Dickens fans feel about not knowing the ending of The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
In order to pad the book out, the publishers have included lots of other articles and interviews that were found on the hard disks of various computers. Many of these are classic Adams. It's a really enjoyable book. Or, at least, I found it so right up until the point where the sudden ending of The Salmon of Doubt reminded me why the book will never be finished.
[1] Personally, I really liked the idea of DaveLand.
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on 27 April 2013
I love Douglas Adams' work and this is a must have for any fan. Especially for the unfinished portion of his final book. Oh if only he'd had time to complete it.....
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on 29 January 2003
I'm a big fan of Douglas Adams and I was very disappointed by this book. It's basically a collection of articles for newspapers and computer magazines, transcribed interviews and short pieces found on his computer when he died. The quality, especially of the last of these, is of work in progress and I question whether Adams would have wanted them to see the light of day in this form. As for the unfinished novel "The Salmon of Doubt" itself, Adams admits in an earlier piece that it doesn't work and needs re-inventing in a different form.
The introductions try, unconvincingly, to justify the publication of all this. All in all, it's a weak tribute to a great talent.
In one of the interview pieces, Adams says that the book he's most proud of is "Last Chance to See". It's my favourite of his books too. If you've read his other books but haven't read that one, do yourself a favour and buy that, rather than (or as well as) the "Salmon of Doubt". You won't be sorry!
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I'm torn.
I was (and still am) a fan of Douglas Adams. Clearly a highly intelligent man, and one capable of extremely good writing, it pains me, then, to say this isn't his best work.
But then, this is probably the only book he'll be looking down from Biro heaven (or whichever of the many heavens he dreamed up) upon and thinking 'Yes, but that's not fair - I mean, it's not as if I had a choice, is it?'
Like several other readers who've reviewed it here, I'm sceptical about the reasons for publishing this. I got the feeling that the idea started as his family and/or close friends saying, 'We owe it to his fans to publish the last book he was working on', and then the marketing people took over.
The bits of the new Gently novel are entertaining, for fans of Dirk Gently. Many of his collected writings are indeed full of his usual insight and humour. But there's just something about the whole that doesn't quite fit.
If you're a fan of Douglas Adams, buy it. You will find lots of the 'old' Adams in here. You'll just feel everso slightly bitter that they couldn't come up with a better tribute.
Bye, Douglas - hope the lifestyle comes together.
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on 28 September 2013
It has lots of things from the meaning of Liff. However, the eleven chapters are really good. This is a very poignant book as it would appear that this may well have been Douglas' best Dirk Gently. Sadly he died before completion. What we are left with are snatches of brilliance and as usual very funny commentary on human foibles.
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on 30 April 2008
This lunchtime I finished reading The Salmon Of Doubt, the first work of Douglas's I've read since he died all those years ago. I've not really put off reading it, books often stay in my teetering/tottering piles books for *years* before passing the rubicon of my having read them and getting filed on the bookshelves/book-chest-of-drawers like so many hunting trophies, but I have to say that I didn't relish the prospect of reading a book that I'd never get to see finished. I was wrong: this is possibly my favourite of all his books, not because of the Dirk Gently novel-in-progress, but because it's a treasury of Douglas writing as-himself about things that interest or annoy him. That makes it feel more personal than any other work of fiction, and the Salmon chapters are added on the end of the book like coffee and mints after an excellent meal, rather than presented as a main course where their unfinished state would have disappointed. This book is an ideal tribute to a wonderful man.
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on 14 November 1998
An intellegent, fitting conclusion for Douglas Adams wonderful Hithhiker series. I've honestly never laughed harder before. A perfect addition to any true fan of the series's library, for display between the "Metal Man" CD compiling Marvin the Paranoid Android's 4 previously released songs with tracks from the Eagles & Pink Floyd, and Infocoms second Hitchhiker's Guide text adventure.
You have to see it to believe it...
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