|And Another Thing . . .|
Continuing Douglas Adams' Hitchhikers series must be one of the most daunting tasks imaginable for an author. After all, any reader is going to make the comparison. Fortunately Colfer comes out of this rather well.
The story, in a way, is irrelevant. Adams' fans will be happy merely to spend time in the company of Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Zaphod and co. It's a pity, as the plot is inventive, finding a typically Adams-ish way of resurrecting characters only to kill them again in multiple bizarre ways. (Alternate Dimensions BTW - if you were curious.)
Colfer's plot is a damn site more together than the first five H2G2 books. Adams strengths were in humour, bizarre juxtapositions, great characters, a skewed way of looking at things and superb witty dialogue. Tying up loose threads - not so much. Colfer's story is much more together, although with not quite the zip. You'll get fewer double takes from this.
He's also nailed the characters. Arthur is the Arthur we all know. Ford is still annoyingly spaced out and detached. And he's brought some of Adams throwaway side characters to the fore, letting them have their moment in the spotlight - Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged for one becomes a major player.
Colfer's exceeded expectations. He's produced a book that's entertaining, but it fallen short of Adams - inevitably. It's not as clever, as funny or as inventive. It feels at times like rehashing old ideas - Adams would have taken things a lot further than this.
Good try! But it does make you miss Adams all the more.
Page updated 11 June, 2010