New Hitchhiker’s book And Another Thing by Eoin Colfer is mostly funny

And another thing

SO I have started reading And Another Thing – as you can see – and do you know what? I haven’t hurled it across the room in a fit of rage at the raping of a British cultural icon.

Because that was my big concern – that whoever wrote it would not be up to the task and it would just be like a pale tribute act, like the Sugababes are now of themselves.

I even blogged on the topic, expressing those concerns, although I wouldn’t put too much stock in what I say.

In the same blog, displaying preternatural foresight, also said that bringing Red Dwarf back was a good idea:

In Red Dwarf’s case, absolutely. After all, the original cast are all onboard, as is writer Rob Grant* and the way it ended means every fan of the show would like to see new stuff.

I still think every fan of the show would like to see new stuff, with the proviso it was actually funny and, you know, not so awful that it hurts your eyes to watch it.

I am happy to say that And Another Thing is funny, and clever too – in fact, it is a Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy novel (based on the first couple of chapters) which is probably a good thing when that is what you are trying to write. It’s just been written by a different bloke, one who gets this universe and digs it.

Colfer – whose other books are good reads too, especially the Artemis Fowl ones – brings an engaging lightness of touch, with his love of the characters  and Adams himself shining through.

Speaking in this month’s SFX magazine, he said:

“I had to say from the word go this is not a Douglas Adams book. Nobody can be Douglas Adams. As far as I am concerned it is authorised fan fiction. It’s my style using Douglas’s characters.”

That attitude was a great choice by Colfer, because other such attempts to duplicate style – Sebastian Faulks writing as Ian Fleming in Devil May Care for instance – make me feel like the author has a list of set elements they are ticking off as they go.

“Eoin Colfer writing as Douglas Adams would be such an insult to his memory and to all the people who love him,” Colfer added. “I just hope when people try it they have a laugh and see I’m a fan but also I’m taking the piss a bit too.”

So far, mission accomplished. I’d love to hear your opinions too.

* Rob Grant and Doug Nayor wrote Red Dwarf, not Rob Naylor as I said, in a JLo-Brangelina amalgam of names.

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