Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hitchhiking without Douglas

A friend had mentioned this to me a little while ago, but when I was in Borders today to buy something else, I saw a poster for the new Hitchhiker's Guide book that's coming out October 12. Wait, how can there be a new Hitchhiker's book? Douglas Adams isn't around, and he didn't leave any unfinished Hitchhiker's book. The unfinished book he left, The Salmon of Doubt, was originally supposed to be a Dirk Gently book, but there wasn't even enough there for someone else to finish it.

Well, it seems that another author, Eoin Colfer, has written a book in the series.

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this. The Hitchhiker's Guide wasn't a collection written by a number of different authors. It was Douglas' world. I think he had someone else write the novelization of the Starship Titanic game, but that was his choice - that book was quite good, btw.

The only other time I've had this problem was with Isaac Asimov's Robot books. I loved the stories, absolutely loved them. His Three Laws were amazing, and what he did with those rules was a joy to read. When other people starting writing books using those laws, it was difficult to get used to the idea at first, but I read a number of stories and novels that also did a great job playing with the nuances of those laws. And ultimately, they weren't really writing in the same world as Asimov had been in, just with the same rules.

This is an entirely different proposition. These are characters I know, and know well. Is Arthur still going to be like Arthur? Will the characters still have the same voice? Will the story still be riddled with tangents that have nothing to do with the main story but are hysterical to read anyway?

I can't buy the book without knowing more about it. But on the other hand, I can't completely ignore the book. I expect that what I'll end up doing is setting aside a half-hour or so sometime after the book has come out, and I'll spend that time at the bookstore, reading the first couple chapters of the book. That should give me a good enough idea of whether or not I'll like the book. If so, then I'll buy it. If not, then I won't.

Douglas, I hope Eoin does you proud.


Anonymous said...

Eoin Colfer writes the 'Artemis Fowl' books. He has a very similar wit, sense of playfulness, and love of the absurd. I'm distressed that the series was "turned over" to anyone, but slightly relieved that it's Colfer. He might be able to do it.

dodie said...

I love the Artemis Fowl books but I have mixed feelings about this. I'll probably read the book anyway and hope it's up the Adams' standard.