Adams, Douglas

About the Author:

 

Douglas Adams was born in Cambridge but later lived in Santa Barbara with his family, where he died suddenly in May 2001.

 

AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:

4.2 out of 5

(5 books)

Life, The Universe And Everything

The third Hitch-Hiker novel.  An ancient intergalactic war launched by the genocidal people of Krikket is all but forgotten, remembered on Earth only by a rather boring sport ("The bit where the ball hits the wickets is especially bad taste.").  However, the Krikket's are stirring once more and only a few people stand in their way; Arthur, Ford, Zaphod, Trillian, Marvin and Slartibartfast. 

The story of this book is less inspiring than the previous volumes and, although a clever idea I'm sure, I found the Bistromathics scenes really tiresome.  However, there are some more brilliant moments of Adams genius to be had, such as when Marvin depresses a robot army to death and the reaction of the Krikkets when they first see the rest of the galaxy ("Dear me, no.  It'll have to go.").

4 out of 5

 

Mostly Harmless

The final book of the Hitch-hiker series.  Arthur is given two new and vastly confusing things to deal with in this book; the first is Parallel Universes and the second (surprisingly - particularly for him) is fatherhood.  Meanwhile Ford Prefect is causing havoc in the publishing offices of the Guide as it is taken over by a big corporation and begins development of a sinister new version of the guide. 

Adams manages to recapture some of the comic magic of the first two books here, particularly in his rather scathing appraisal of New York (and the creatures that live in the lower intestines of rats).  The relationship between Arthur and Random makes for some genuinely emotional reading too.  Other great elements include the vast herds of Perfectly Normal Beasts, the boghogs which communicate by biting your thighs, Thrashbarg's deep spiritual insights and a rather satisfied Vogon who gets to see his work (began in the first book) come to fruition. 

There is one thing, however, which really pissed me off about this book.  Fenchurch, whose relationship with Arthur was good reading, is immediately removed from the story completely with about two lines of explanation.  It's even worse than the reason for Earth's return in the previous book; which also raises the question what happened to that Earth?  In this book they have to go to an alternate reality to get to Earth.  Annoying.

4 out of 5

 

So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish

Humourously billed as 'The fourth book in the increasingly inaccurately named Hitch-Hiker Trilogy'.  Arthur Dent is surprised to find himself on Earth (his surprise stemming from that fact that the planet was destroyed by Vogons), where he meets and falls in love with a woman named Fenchurch, who also has a slightly skewed worldview. 

In relation to the previous books in the series, this one is fairly mundane, being set mostly on Earth and without much really going on.  There are some very funny moments (God's Final Message To His Creation is brilliant) but in general the book isn't as good as the others, largely owing to the significant shortfall in witicisms from the Guide itself.  The reason for Earth being back is a big disappointment and the appearance of everyone's favourite miserable robot seems to have been thrown in at the last minute.

3 out of 5

 

The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy

Book one of five.  Where the legend started.  Arthur Dent is the quintessential Englishman; he can deal with any crisis provided he's allowed three things, 1) the freedom to complain, 2) the freedom to be bewildered and 3) access to a nice cup of tea. 

There are so many hilarious moments in this book that I couldn't possibly convey a fraction of its wittiness here, but phrases like 'the great yellow spaceships hung in the air in exactly the same way that bricks don't' give you some idea.  The comic concepts flow like water as Earth is demolished to build a bypass, a spaceship engine is invented that suspends probability allowing the ship to travel at astonishingly improbable speeds and a spontaneously created bowl of petunias has only time to think 'Oh no, not again' before it is destroyed. 

You will literally laugh out loud and unlike Terry Pratchett (who has a similar talent for humourous concept), Adams' prose flows and is easy to read and through it all, the Guide enlightens us about everything from Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters to Vogon grandmothers.

5 out of 5

 

The Resaurant At The End Of The Universe

The second book in the Hitch-Hiker series begins with the companions of the first book enjoying a meal at the only restaurant that offers excellent views of the end of the universe.  When they steal a ship and leave however, they soon realise that they chose the wrong vehicle. 

Further on in the story we are introduced to a band of intergalactic travellers who are on their way to a new world, only they're all middle-men, beauraucrats, hairdressers and the like, who've been unknowingly tricked into leaving their homeworld by the people who actually do worthwhile jobs.  It is this sorry band, along with Arthur and Ford, who establish the first human colony on a world named Earth. 

Although not quite up to the first book's standards, this one is still a delightfully funny read and contains the most brilliant concept ever; (as we all know) the answer to the great question about life, the universe and everything is 42, but in this book Arthur discovers that the question is wrong.

5 out of 5

Collaborations & Anthologies:

The Wizards Of Odd (here)

Read more...

Science Fiction (here)