Friday, November 27, 2009

'Mostly Harmless' by Douglas Adams

27 November 2009

When I was reading the reviews of Eoin Colfer’s official ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ sequel, ‘And Another Thing’, I realised that I had never got around to reading ‘Mostly Harmless’, Douglas Adams’ fifth and final volume in his Hitchhiker ‘trilogy’. I’ve now just finished ‘Mostly Harmless’ and, while it was great fun to re-immerse myself in Adams’ brilliantly witty prose, it’s a bit of a downbeat ending to his wonderful sci-fi saga. As I read it I realised I was already familiar with the plot of ‘Mostly Harmless’ from Dirk Maggs’ radio version. It lacks a lot of the pace and humour of the earlier books, partly I think because he keeps the main characters apart for most of the story. And I understand (from Douglas Adams’ own reflections in ‘The Salmon of Doubt’, reviewed here in October 2009) that he wrote ‘Mostly Harmless’ at a time when he wasn’t at his most cheery – which might explain his compulsion to kill off most of his major characters. Or maybe, perversely, it's the absence of the depressive Marvin the Paranoid Android from this book that actually makes it more depressing? Nevertheless there’s lots of great ideas, set-pieces and carefully planted gags. Now bring on ‘And Another Thing’ …



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