I’m still not a fan of So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.
It’s barely a Hitchhiker’s book (no Zaphod, no Trillian, and no plot) and is more of a quirky romcom. This would be okay, except it’s not a very good quirky romcom.
The prologue says that this book is Fenchurch’s story, but she’s barely a character. She mostly just exists for Arthur to be obsessed with. It’s a shame, as some of the hints at her story are somewhat interesting. The other characters introduced are okay too, but they don’t really do anything. They just exist.
There’s a few great moments, like Arthur showing Fenchurch how to fly for the first time, and the ending with God’s Final Message and Marvin. Mostly, though, it seems like Adams had a bunch of jokes about subjects like rain, California, and dating, and wrote a book around them (the infamous biscuit thief anecdote shows up as part of Arthur’s past and feels very forced).
I much preferred Mostly Harmless, even though it was much darker than I remembered.
It feels very episodic (most of the other books happen over a day or two, years pass in this one), and it struggles to fit all the pieces together, but it does better than I expected at it.
Not all of it works (Trillian’s character feels off, but that could just be that she never had much of a character before, and the Elvis diner scene feels tacky and too obvious), but I enjoyed it.
If it was really supposed to be the final book though, it has one of the darkest series endings ever with the entire cast all dying pointlessly and the Vogons winning.
I also read And Another Thing, the Eoin Colfer-written sixth book from 2009. I remember thinking it was okay when it came out, but listening to it just after the other five, it’s pretty painful in places.
Aside from not being funny enough, it’s far too long, over double the length of most of the other books. Being edited down probably wouldn’t make it good, but it would help. It doesn’t help that Simon Jones isn’t a very good narrator either, after five books narrated by Adams.
There’s some good bits (the God interviews are fun, and the final Vogon attack is good), and it tries to give Trillian her own storyline (though that storyline is awful), but it mostly feels like fan-fiction that’s trying too hard.
I’m now on to the Dirk Gently books (read by Adams), which I’m really enjoying.
I’d forgotten that Dirk doesn’t really turn up until halfway through Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, or the first half having so much setup. I always pictured Dirk being in his mid-40s too, but he’s only eight years out of college, so he’s probably only in his late twenties.