Monday, 12 October 2009

And Another Thing

And Another Thing is a brilliant title for a sequel and has the merit of being taken from Douglas Adams' own joke. I have always been a huge H2G2 fan, from the first time I tuned into it accidentally on the radio. But not a nerd, geek or obsessive I want to point out. Still I wasn't all that happy when I heard Eoin Colfer had been asked to write a sequel.

I believe Colfer is a lovely fellow (he even once said very nice things about one of my books in an Irish newspaper) but I read Artemis Fowl, didn't enjoy it, and felt no inclination to read any more.

There is a certain type of middle-aged man who has never quite got over or past the details of the alimentary system and, although this humour is supposed to be specially appealing to children, it never did to me and it doesn't now. In other words enough with the poo jokes!

So I was sceptical - along with gazillions of other fans, apparently. Colfer was even invited, randomly, by Facebook to join a group petitioning to stop him writing "Part Six of Three" as And Another Thing is so waggishly labelled. Being a sport, he joined.

But - much to my surprise - I loved this sequel! Colfer, whose book is being serialised on Radio 4's Book at Bedtime from tonight, is being trailed several times a day saying that the characters are Adams' but the book is his own. This is not quite true. What he has produced is a brilliant pastiche of Adams' Hitchhiker style, especially in the notes from the Guide.

Arthur Dent is not so prominent but Ford, Zaphod and Trillian are much in evidence. Characters that fans will miss are Marvin (the paranoid android) and perhaps Slartibartfast, though he is nicely referenced in the fjord-heavy geography of the planet Nano.

Characters there are a bit too much of are Random Dent and Trillian, who has degenerated from a clever astro-physicist into some sort of Glenda Slagg. New characters include Hillman Hunter (like Ford Prefect - geddit?) who is a joke Irishman, a personage Colfer is well able to stereotype.

I wonder whether what I enjoyed was Adams or Colfer - in other words the being back in that universe, peopled with Vogons and their dreadful poetry, Magratheans who build customised planets, the god Thor, who has an embarrassing video to live down, and the megalomaniac Zaphod with his stolen spaceship, Heart of Gold.

Whatever, I'm grateful to Colfer for bringing all this back to life. And another thing, if he'd just eliminate [sic] all the bottom stuff, I might even read another of Eoin Colfer's books.


Anonymous said...

Have you read all of Eoin's books? I think that may be necessary to appreciate him. I was in two minds about reading on after the first Artemis, but I'm very glad I did.

His books are for children, so don't have to appeal to adults, except that they do. Though considering that Eoin didn't believe the then 17-year-old Son of being honest when he said he still reads and enjoys Artemis, he clearly aims at a much younger reader.

Mary Hoffman said...

I've read Airman, which was quite different but didn't work for me - in a different way.I have no incentive to read more AF but would be interested to see what he does after H2G26.

As for the child/adult thing, I perfectly accept that writing which appeals to children might not appeal to an adult. My point is that I think I wouldn't have liked AF even when I WAS a child.

All children are different and although I liked things to be funny, I never liked them crude.

Unknown said...

Well you've changed my mind! I too wasn't thrilled when I heard he was writing this but will take a look after all. Thanks for the review.
PS - determined to have "so long and thanks for all the fish" on my gravestone.

Mary Hoffman said...

Hello, Sue! Mine is going to say "She met her deadline" so no way of slipping Adams in there.

But yes, give it a go.

Anonymous said...

I just switched my brain back on! You mean you don't like Mulch Diggums. Understandable, but as with most of the characters that I could barely stand in book one, they grow and you come to love them. Even Mulch.

Try the Wish List. As Eoin said last year, it's a women's kind of book.

Anonymous said...

now i'm excited to read it!

Anonymous said...

i loved the wish list btw ... didn't enjoy artemus the way my sons did.

Damian Harvey said...

I quite enjoyed Eoin's Artemis books though must admit, I was a little unsure about him (or anyone else for that matter) doing a Hitchikers book. I couldn't help thinking - What's the point, other than the obvious financial reasons etc.

Your comments made me think again Mary, so thanks for that. I'm looking forward to reading it now, however, I was interested to read that you found yourself wondering whether what you were enjoing was Colfer or Adams... I found myself thinking about this as I bought a copy this weekend