I can’t make up my mind about “And Another Thing…,” Eoin Colfer’s book, which is the sixth Hitchhikers novel, the first not written by Douglas Adams.
On the one hand I wanted to give it a fair chance, try to judge it on its merits rather than simply as a H2G2 book not by Adams. On the other, it’s clearly not by Douglas Adams. It has the same characters. It’s clearly by someone who is a Hitchhiker fan and some things — like the names of places and things — feel spot on.
But the story itself doesn’t quite work for me. It feels like… just a story. Which is a weird criticism, but bear with me.
Especially later in his career, Adams liked to combine his interest in technology, science and religion in his writing and that is what I think is lacking from “And Another Thing…” It’s not that it’s bad, just that it’s ordinary.
With the caveat that I’ve never written a novel and that there’s a long way from a simple idea to a complete manuscript, I hubristically like to think that I would have taken a different approach.
There could be some fun to be had around the “infinity” of Earths that the Vogons destroyed at the end of “Mostly Harmless.” Because, if an infinite number of Earths have been vaporised, there are still an infinite number left. The concept of “infinity” is bizarre enough to have both truth and humour. There’s definitely some potential playing with Hilbert’s hotel. Can you imagine an infinitely large hotel where all the guests have an ego the size of Zaphod Beeblebrox’s? Or Arthur trying to find a room in a full hotel? Marvin would probably be quite depressed about the whole thing.
Anyway, it’s not a fully baked idea, and it’s certainly not a complete story, but the concept feels more Adamsian than what actually happens in the book. The rest is left as an exercise for the reader…
This post originally appeared on Medium.