Is there a book you can remember being absolutely delighted about and laughing while reading it? Or an author who without fail makes you chuckle? I’d say the first author I can think of and the first book are one and the same. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams is the first book where I realized oh this is a comedy book. The copy I had was all parts of the series crammed into one heavy paperback. I devoured that book when I was younger, laughing a lot and enjoying a side of science fiction I wasn’t used to. I hadn’t encountered that kind of writing before. I had read blurbs about how books were hilarious or comedies or laugh out loud books but normally didn’t find them that way personally. Shortly after I found Terry Pratchett, another author who generally is very good at getting a real laugh out of me consistently.
Another author whose works I greatly enjoyed growing up was Eoin Colfer. There was a stint where I read every book of his I could find. So, at one point when I saw that he’d continued The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, it was an automatic buy. It, however, sat on my shelf for quite a while and then was left behind when I went to South Korea.
Picking it up after so long I didn’t know what to expect. It’s been a long time since I’ve read The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and I couldn’t remember how the story ended. I remembered the characters and of course the importance of towels. I also was a little put off having just read This Dark Endeavor which was in a similar vein. Essentially, at its very core, published fanfiction. I enjoy fanfiction but This Dark Endeavor was so hard for me to get into that all those hopes and dreams I had when buying And Another Thing crumbled and I just hoped that it’d do some sort of justice to The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and have some comedy and fun in it. The bar was much lower than it once had been.
And Another Thing finds a familiar cast of characters well known and well-loved at where they usually find themselves, minutes before the destruction of their planet. The difference is that all of them have lived full lives and are somewhat unaware that they’re seconds away from destruction. Arthur Dent is on a beach, a very old man enjoying some peace and quiet. Trillian is mostly a cyborg who has spent her entire life and most of her human body as a reporter and is dealing with her final job, her daughter Random’s marriage. Random has become ruler of the universe and is getting married to a rodent-like creature that’s telepathic and acts sort of like her scarf called a flaybooz,. Ford has spent his entire extra life drinking things that are supposed to kill you at an all-inclusive resort only to wake up without a hangover and totally fine the next morning ready to do it again.
It turns out the Guide Mark II has let them live out full lives virtually so that when the world is destroyed they will have lived full lives. However, it starts to run low on batteries as destruction looms nearer allowing them to realize that all that life they lived didn’t actually happen and that they’re about to die, again.
As a theme of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy they get away but the threat of destruction is always looming. On their adventures, they run into Zaphod Beeblebrox and Wowbagger. Rescued by improbability only for it to stop them from leaving and then rescued once more by Wowbagger and Tanngrisnir, a ship that travels through Dark space.
It then becomes a mission to find the last humans who’ve survived annihilation before the Vogon’s do, as it was a part of their documentation that along with the destruction of all Earths, that they’re to destroy all humans as well. And Wowbagger continues on his quest to end his immortality, this time with the help of Zaphod Bebblebrox who hunts down Thor (yeah, that Thor. Funny I don’t remember him being in the Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy but I do remember him in The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul) in the hopes that another powerful immortal shows up and can do the job.
I really enjoyed this book. Even though it’s been a long time since I’ve read its predecessor I think Eoin Colfer did a good job. I did have moments while reading it where I was thinking that Eoin Colfer really could mimic Douglas Adam’s writing voice well because I kept thinking this is Eoin Colfer? Which is a huge compliment. I laughed a lot, there were plenty of unexpected things that kept me entertained and I was usually unsure how anyone would get out of the situations they ended up in. Though I’m a bit confused about the ending but I think it’s meant to keep in the spirit of the series.