And Another Thing... (Hitchhiker's Guide Series #6)by Eoin Colfer
And Another Thing ... will be the sixth novel in the now improbably named Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy. Eight years after the death of its creator, Douglas Adams, the author's widow, Jane Belson, has given her approval for the project to be continued by the international number one bestselling children's writer, Eoin Colfer, author of the Artemis Fowl novels. Douglas Adams himself once said, 'I suspect at some point in the future I will write a sixth Hitchhiker book. Five seems to be a wrong kind of number, six is a better kind of number.' Belson said of Eoin Colfer, 'I love his books and could not think of a better person to transport Arthur, Zaphod and Marvin to pastures new.' Colfer, a fan of Hitchhiker since his schooldays, said, 'Being given the chance to write this book is like suddenly being offered the superpower of your choice. For years I have been finishing this incredible story in my head and now I have the opportunity to do it in the real world.' Prepare to be amazed...
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According to a janitor's assistant at the Maximegalon University, who often loiters outside lecture halls, the universe is sixteen billion years old. This supposed truth is scoffed at by a clutch of Betelgeusean beat poets who claim to have moleskin pads older than that (rat a tat-tat). Seventeen billion, they say, at the very least, according to their copy of the Wham Bam Big Bang scrolls. A human teenage prodigy once called it at fourteen billion based on a complicated computation involving the density of moon rock and the distance between two pubescent females on an event horizon. One of the minor Asgardian gods did mumble that he'd read something somewhere about some sort of a major-ish cosmic event eighteen billion years ago, but no one pays much attention to pronouncements from on high anymore, not since the birth of the gods debacle, or Thorgate as it has come to be known.
However many billions it actually is, it is billions, and the old man on the beach looked as though he'd counted off at least one of those million millions on his fingers. His skin was ivory parchment, and viewed in profile he closely resembled a quavering uppercase S.
The man remembered having a cat once, if memories could be trusted as anything more than neuron configurations across trillions of synapses. Memories could not be touched with one's fingers. Could not be felt like the surf flowing over his gnarled toes could be felt. But then what were physical feelings but more electrical messages from the brain? Why believe in them either? Was there anything trustworthy in the Universe that one could hug and hold onto like a Hawaliusian wind staunch in the midst of a butterfly storm, apartfrom a Hawaliusian wind staunch.
Bloody butterflies, thought the man. Once they'd figured out the wing fluttering a continent away thing, millions of mischievous lepidoptera had banded together and turned malicious.
Surely that cannot be real, he thought. Butterfly storms?
But then more neurons poured across even more synapses and whispered of improbability theories. If a thing was bound never to happen, then that thing would resolutely refuse not to happen as soon as possible.
Butterfly storms. It was only a matter of time.
The old man wrenched his focus from this phenomenon before some other catastrophe occurred to him and began its rough slouch to be born.
Was there anything to trust? Anything to take comfort from?
The setting suns lit crescents on the wavelets, burnished the clouds, striped the palm leaves silver, and set the china pot on his veranda table twinkling.
Ah, yes, thought the old man. Tea. At the center of an uncertain and possibly illusory universe there would always be tea.
The old man traced two natural numbers in the sand with a walking stick fashioned from a discarded robot leg and watched as the waves washed them away.
One moment, there was forty-two and the next there wasn't.
Maybe the numbers were never there and perhaps they didn't even matter.
For some reason this made the old man cackle as he leaned into the incline and plodded to his veranda. He settled with much creaking of bone and wood into a wicker chair that was totally sympathetic to the surroundings, and called to his android to bring some biscuits.
The android brought Rich Tea.
Seconds later the sudden appearance of a hovering metal bird caused a momentary lapse in dunking concentration and the old man lost a large crescent of his biscuit to the tea.
"Oh, for heaven's sake," grumbled the man. "Do you know how long I have been working on that technique? Dunking and sandwiches. What else is left to a person?"
The bird was unperturbed.
"An unperturbed bird," said the old man softly, enjoying the sound of it. He closed the bad eye that hadn't worked properly since he'd fallen out of a tree as a giddy boy, and examined the creature.
The bird hovered, its metallic feathers shimmering crimson in the sun's rays, its wings beating up tiny maelstroms.
"Battery," it said in a voice that reminded the old man of an actor he had once seen playing Othello at London's Globe Theatre. Amazing what you can get from the tone of a single word.
"You did say battery?" said the man, just to confirm. It could possibly have been flattery, or even hattery. His hearing was not what it used to be, especially on initial consonants.
"Battery," said the bird again, and suddenly reality cracked and fell to pieces like a shattered mirror. The beach disappeared, the waves froze, crackled, and evaporated. The last thing to go was the Rich Tea.
"Bugger," muttered the old man as the final crumbs dissipated on his fingertips, then he sat back on a cushion in the room of sky that suddenly surrounded him. Someone would be coming soon, he was sure of it. From the dim caverns of his old memories, the names Ford and Prefect emerged like gray bats to associate themselves with the impending disaster.
Whenever the Universe fell apart, Ford Prefect was never far behind. Him and that accursed book of his. What was it called? Oh, yes. The Pitchforker's Pride Is a Fallacy.
That, or something very close to it.
The old man knew exactly what Ford Prefect would say.
Look on the bright side, old mate. At least you're not lying down in front of a bulldozer, eh? At least we're not being flushed out of a Vogon air lock. A room of sky is not too shabby, as it happens. It could be worse, a lot worse.
"It will be a lot worse," said the old man with gloomy certainty. In his experience, things generally got worse, and on the rare occasion when things actually seemed to get better, it was only as a dramatic prelude to a cataclysmic worsening.
Oh, this room of sky seemed harmless enough, but what terrors lurked beyond its rippling walls? None that were not terrible, of that the old man was certain.
He poked a finger into one of the wall's yielding surfaces and was reminded of tapioca pudding, which almost made the old man smile, until he remembered that he had hated tapioca ever since a bullying head boy had filled his slippers with the stuff back in Eaton House Prep.
"Blisters Smyth, you sneaky shit," he whispered.
His fingertip left a momentary hole in the clouds, and through it the old man caught a glimpse of a double-height sash window beyond, and outside the window, could that be a death ray?
The old man rather feared that it was.
All this time, he thought. All this time and nothing has happened.
Ford Prefect was living the dream. Providing the dream included residence in one of Han Wavel's ultraluxury, five-supergiant-rated, naturally eroded hedonistic resorts, filling one's waking hours with permanent damage amounts of exotic cocktails, and liaisons with exotic females of various species.
And the best bit: The expense of this whole self-indulgent and possibly life-shortening package would be taken care of by his Dine-O-Charge card, which had no credit limit thanks to a little creative computer tinkering on his last visit to the Hitchhiker's Guide offices.
If a younger Ford Prefect had been handed a blank page and asked to, in his own time, write a short paragraph detailing his dearest wishes for his own future, the only word he might have amended in the above was the adverb possibly. Probably.
The resorts of Han Wavel were so obscenely luxurious that it was said a Brequindan male would sell his mother for a night in the Sandcastle Hotel's infamous vibro-suite. This is not as shocking as it sounds, as parents are accepted currency on Brequinda and a nicely moisturized septuagenarian with a good set of teeth can be traded for a mid-range family moto-carriage.
Ford would perhaps not have sold either parent to finance his sojourn at the Sandcastle, but there was a bicranial cousin who was often more trouble than he was worth.
Every night, Ford rode the fleshevator to his penthouse, croaked at the door to grant him entry, then made time to look himself in the bloodshot eyes before passing out facedown in the basin.
This is the last night, he swore nightly. Surely my body will revolt and collapse in on itself.
What would his obituary say in the Hitchhiker's Guide? Ford wondered. It would be brief, that was for sure. A couple of words. Perhaps the same two words he had used to describe Earth all those years ago.
Earth. Hadn't something rather sad happened on Earth that he should be thinking about? Why were there some things he could remember and others that were about as clear as a hazy morning on the permanently fogbound Misty Plains of Nephologia?
It was generally at about this maudlin stage that the third Gargle Blaster squeezed the last drop of consciousness from Ford's overjuiced brain and he would giggle twice, squawk like a rodeo chicken, and execute a near perfect forward tumble into the nearest bathroom receptacle.
And yet every morning when he lifted his head from the en suite basin (if he was lucky), Ford found himself miraculously revitalized. No hangover, no dragon breath, not even a burst blood vessel in either sclera to bear witness to the previous night's excesses.
"You are a froody dude, Ford Prefect," he invariably told himself. "Yes, you are."
There is something fishy going on here, his rarely-heard-from subconscious insisted.
So long and thanks for all the
Wasn't there something about dolphins? Not fish, true, but they inhabited the same...habitat.
Think, you idiot! Think! You should be dead a hundred times over. You have consumed enough cocktails to pickle not only yourself but several alternate versions of yourself. How are you still alive?
"Alive and froody," Ford would say, often winking at himself in the mirror, marveling at how lustrous his red hair had become. How pronounced his cheekbones. And he seemed to be growing a chin. An actual chiseled chin.
"This place is doing me good," he told his reflection. "All the photo-leech wraps and the irradiated colono-lemming treatments are really boosting my system. I think I owe it to Ford Prefect to stay another while."
And so he did.
On the last day, Ford charged an underwater massage to his credit card. The masseur was a Damogranian pom-pom squid with eleven tentacles and a thousand suckers that pummeled Ford's back and cleaned out his pores with a series of whiplash tapotement moves. Pom-pom squids were generally hugely overqualified for their work in the spa industry, but were tempted away from their umpteenth doctorates by the lure of high salaries, plankton-rich pools, and the chance of massaging a talent scout for the music industry and maybe getting themselves a record deal.
"Have you done any talent scouting, friend?" asked the squid, though he didn't sound hopeful.
"Nope," replied Ford, bubbles streaming from his Plexiglas helmet, face shining orange in the pleasant glow of rock phosphorescence. "Though I once owned a pair of blue suede shoes, which should count for something. I still own one; the other is closer to mauve, due to it being a copy."
The squid nipped at passing plankton as he spoke, which made conversation a little disjointed.
"I don't know if..."
"I hadn't finished."
"It's just that you stopped speaking."
"There was a glint. I thought it was lunch."
"You eat glints?"
"No. Not actual glints."
"Good, because glints are baby gloonts, and they're poisonous."
"I know. I was merely saying that..."
"Precisely. You're sure you're not a talent scout then, or an agent?"
"Oh, for Zark's sake," swore the squid, a little unprofessionally. "Two years I've worked here. Talent scouts and agents coming out of your suckers...they promised. Not one. Not bloody one. I was studying advanced kazoo, you know."
Ford couldn't resist a lead-in like that. "Advanced kazoo? How advanced can kazoo studies be?"
The squid was wounded. "Pretty advanced when you can play a thousand of them at the same time. I was in a quartet. Can you imagine?"
Ford gave it a go. He closed his eyes, enjoyed the whup-pop of the suckers on his back, and imagined four thousand kazoos playing in perfect subaquatic harmony.
Sometime later the squid enveloped Ford in half a dozen tentacles and gently flipped him over. Ford opened one eye to read the squid's badge.
I am Barzoo, read the tag. Use me as you will.
Excerpted from AND ANOTHER THING . . . by EOIN COLFER. Copyright (c) 2009 EOIN COLFER. All rights reserved. Published by HYPERION.
Meet the Author
Eoin Colfer is the New York Times best-selling author of the Artemis Fowl series, Airman, Half Moon Investigations, The Supernaturalist, Eoin Colfer's Legend of... books, The Wish List, Benny and Omar, and Benny and Babe. He lives in Ireland with his wife and two children.
- Wexford Town, County Wexford, Republic of Ireland
- Date of Birth:
- May 14, 1965
- Place of Birth:
- Waterford City, County Waterford, Republic of Ireland
- Bachelor of Education, 1986; Education Diploma, 1987
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Colfer is really adept at channeling Adams' voice and style (which must be exhausting). He is-thankfully-a tad lighter in overall mood than Adams' dark, brooding 5th novel. This book is brilliant-head and shoulders above most everything else out there-but there was only one Douglas Adams. Colfer himself has said as much. Adams was a scientist disguised as a writer Colfer is definitely a very, very gifted and brilliant writer-but not scientist material. I can't think of anyone else who could have captured Adams' essence better. Even the tempo is astonishingly Douglas-ish. His vicious satire is absolutely spot-on, though with something one might say resembles a bit more of a silver lining. In the end a very worthy book that blends together into the previous storyline astonishingly well.
I REALLY wanted to like this book, as I had enjoyed the previous ones (the first 3 were the best) and liked the original radio series when it was broadcast by NPR in the early 1980's, and the extended radio series of a few years ago. It never took off for me. I never laughed out loud while reading it, and found it a bit of a chore to finish. I've had no previous experience with Eoin Colfer, so I had no bias at the start, and I did not read other reviews before purchasing.
This is the sixth book in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy "trilogy." Eoin Colfer does a tolerable job of maintaining the tone of the original Douglas Adams HHGTTG (though he uses more profanity than Adams). The storyline is pretty good, giving some sarcastic/perceptive social commentary like the rest of the books. In my opinion, Colfer's promotion of Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged and Thor to major characters makes them far less amusing than they were in the original series. Overall, I'd say this was a decent effort, but you aren't missing too much if you skip it.
This book tries very hard to live up to the original Hitchhiker's books, but it is painfully obvious that Douglas Adams didn't write this one. The characters are the same, but it lacks the wit and sparkle that Adams brought to his galaxy.
I do appreciate the effort at continuing a dead author's series, but it seemed a bit too afraid to do something new. AAT promotes some small jokes to central plot points, which lost the charm, and then it ends at a cliffhanger that attempts to disguise itself as a series finale. Not terrible, but just doesn't hold up in comparison to the first five books and movie. Ddon't read unless you'rejust too curious about this... Thing.
Funny, neat, imaginative. Must buy.
Here is the sixth, and latest, installment in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy "trilogy," created by Douglas Adams. It was also published with the approval of Adams' widow. Arthur Dent has made his way back to Earth, but it isn't "his" Earth. The Vogons, with the extremely bad poetry, are working on destroying all possible versions of Earth, so Arthur must take off, again. Ford Prefect, writer for the Guide, and Zaphod Beeblebrox, former president of the Galaxy, are still around. Tricia McMillan is a former TV reporter who ran away with Zaphod, just before the Earth was destroyed. She changed her name to Trillian, and used some of Arthur's DNA to have Random, a daughter. Random is very smart, and has taken teenage surliness to new levels. A small remnant of humanity has made its way to a planet called Nano, run by an Irish property developer named Hunter Hillman. He feels that the humans need a god to worship. The Norse God Thor is one of the applicants. A being named Wowbagger travels around the galaxy handing out insults on various planets. What follows is a titanic battle involving Wowbagger, Thor and a cheese-based deity. For die-hard fans of the series, concerned that no one could do it like Adams, relax. Colfer is a veteran author who knows what he is doing, and it shows here. For those new to the series, read one or two of the early books first, and then read this. It's really worth reading.
I enjoyed this book because it is the continuing story that Douglas Adams might have written if he'd lived long enough to continue the story. Possibly the book he did write in another universe where the Vogons are about to blow up yet another Earth. Eoin Colfer channeled Douglas Adams using a voice and characters that fit perfectly into the world that fans of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy recognize and love. Just as Doulas Adams would, Colfer has created a collection of new characters to provide disastrous repercussions to anything the least bit positive in Arthur's life. Really, we know, Arthur wants a nice cup of tea, a kind and loving family, and to never have to leave earth or deal with another multi-appendaged, off-colored, non-Earth based being again. After all that has happened, Arthur would prefer to be bored, or possibly back on his beach making sandwiches. This is the next installment of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and I hope that there are more adventures on more worlds with more random members of the vast pantheon of myths and legends of both Earth and the other planets in our little galaxy. I'm sure Arthur would disagree. What happens when the Vogons figure out that Earth exists in alternate universes after Arther, Trillian, and their traveling companions have found a good pub on one of them? How does the Norse god Thor regain some of his past glory competing with cheese? Can a marriage work between a galactic president and a necklace hamster? Two out of three of these questions are answered in Eoin Colfer's And Another Thing. which is filled with all of the random tidbits of information one might expect from book 6 of 3 of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I loved it!
I probably rated this book a little higher than I would otherwise have just by dint of the fact that it was not written by Douglas Adams. And yet, had I hot seen the cover, had I not known that Adams was dead, I would never have know it wasn't him. In that alone, this book was astounding. There are some style differences if you're looking for them, but it is otherwise as though Eoin Colfer was channeling the spirit of Adams. Colfer manages to his the cadence, the humor and the out there nature of Adams, and I truly believe that no one could have done the great Douglas Adams more credit. And since the story fits, the characters fit and the humor and writing is spot on... In my mind it has already become a permanent member of the series. This book is a must read for any fan of the series.
AWESOME!!! Good going colfer
Beeblebrox. Just be glad he’s out there. This is the first book for adults written by Eoin Colfer, writer of the Artemis Fowl series; This is the first sequel to the Hitchhiker’s Guide that has been written since Douglas Adams’ death in 2001. As fans of the series know, Douglas Adams writes with a singular voice, distinct, I think, from any other writer I’ve read. It’s astounding to me that Colfer has been able to channel Adams’ tone and wit to such a degree that I find the differences to be imperceptible. I don’t know if Douglas Adams left any notes behind about future Hitchhiker’s novels, but this one nestles in perfectly with the series. I don’t think this replacement author gets enough credit for attempting to fill the shoes of the original creator. This has to be a difficult and cosmically unfair task, but Colfer nails it. This is a great book, and worthy to be part six of three.
I am going to buy this book immediately.I love Eoin Colfer and THGTTG. Mow that they are combined ,I am so happy. :)
A pretty weak story made more irritating by the constant interruptions by the Hitchhikers Guide.
I cant really compare this book to the others as I have not finished So Long and Thanks for All the Fish or any of the stories after. I was first introduced to HITCHHIKERS when the movie came out and rather enjoyed it. When I finally came across the books I was stoked. I found THE ULTIMATE HITCHHIKERS GUIDE at my local Salvation Army and picked it up for 20¿. What I have read from the orignal series I love. When I came across AND ANOTHER THING... at Dollar Tree I had to get it hell it was only a dollar. I was going to wait to read it until I was finished with the first books, alot of good that did. Once I started to read it I couldn't put it down. I enjoyed the Guide Notes and thought they were a good addition. Eoin Colfer did a great job at capturing Adams' spirit. Hope I can buckle down and finish the first books.
Like a lot of people, i reacted to the news that Eoin Colfer had been tapped to write a follow-on to Douglas Adams' "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" quintrilogy with equal amounts of "That might be cool" and "What the holy heck?" Having finally worked up the courage to approach And Another Thing with what I hoped was an open mind, my status report changes to "That was definitely cool" and "What the holy heck?" Colfer does a fairly amazing job of channeling the spirit and storytelling style of Adams, creating a tale that nicely balances the funny with the self-referential absurdism that raised Adams' work above the level of mere comedy. There's no question that And Another Thing fits well into the the ongoing series, and the open ending leaves hope that Colfer has more to say regarding Adams' characters (and that Adams' estate wants to let him say it). However, a part of that fit stems from the book being of a piece with Adams' last two HHG efforts, "So Long and Thanks for All the Fish" and "Mostly Harmless" -- which means that it holds up less well in comparison to the original "Hitchhiker's Guide" and "Restaurant at the End of the Universe", and positively pales in comparison to "Life, the Universe, and Everything". That third book in the series marked the first time that Adams delved into original storyline for the HHG saga, and it remains the best and freshest of the books for that reason. With books four and five, Adams seemed to be working from the perspective of being afraid to continue to push in the wholly new directions of "LtUaE", creating amazing new ideas but then scaling them back from some apparent lack of trust of his own instincts. "And Another Thing" carries that feeling of uncertainty, and though the book is funny and enjoyable at every turn, it feels a little too familiar in the end.