Sunday, June 28, 2015

40, 41, maybe...

So,  in my pursuit of summer reading, I picked up And Another Thing, the post-mortem continuation of Douglas Adams's great Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series by one Eoin Colfer. The book isn't going to get the 5x5 review treatment because I doubt that I will finish it. (I am off on a five-day work trip right now and I didn't even bother to bring it.)

I am a big fan of Adams's writing. It was not just in Hitchhiker's Guide and the Dirk Gently stories that his drollery and wit shone, but even in his more peripheral work, such as the video games he wrote way back when and his non-fiction book about endangered species, Last Chance to See. He had a voice as distinctive as that of P.G. Wodehouse; Colfer had quite a task before him, following Adams and using his same characters and milieu.

It turned out to be an impossible charge to fill. All the moves are there, but none of the magic shines through. I imagine it was like this when Bud Abbott teamed with Candy Candido late in his career: while they got some decent reviews, it's hard to imagine Who's On First? being done by anyone other than Abbott & Costello. Not to say that Colfer doesn't give it a good try; I am not familiar with his other work, but he clearly has made a yeoman's effort to recreate Adams's deft touch. His faux-Adams is not nearly as bad as David Soul playing Rick Blaine in the TV series based on Casablanca or Josh Mostel's valiant effort as Blotto Blutarsky in Delta House. It's more like you tuned in to see Larry, Moe, and Curly and got Larry, Moe and Joe DeRita: close, but no cigar.

It's not like this this sort of thing can't be done: Spider Robinson did a creditable job of channeling Robert Heinlein on Variable Star, for example. It's just that Colfer didn't do it here. No shame in the effort, but not enough results to get me to finish.

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