Pardon my typo, I was in a rush (as you can tell from the sketchy lines), It was supposed to read “What did the dog say to the book?” “Nice Tale”.
I like making up original “Dad Jokes” for the amusement of my friends. Feel free to borrow it.
I like this book. Like a lot. After Adam’s last first final book in the trilogy(1), like every time I’ve read this series, I think “Cheese…I don’t remember if the rest is more of the same or what”, and then I’m always pleasantly surprised. So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish feels like Adam’s second attempt to end the series and in a way it is what I accepted as the end of the series until I got my first omnibus version. If this book ended the series, like for good (no more prequels, no more post-humorously published volumes, please just let the series die a dignified death), I would have been extremely satisfied. Maktub.
Three Sentence Summary:
- Arthur has been hitching across the galaxy after the events of the last book and is inadvertently and curiously dropped off on Earth in England where he gets a ride with a jerk who introduces Arthur to his medicinally sedated “mentally unstable” sister, Fenchurch, the first human woman Arthur has seen in who knows how long(2) and naturally falls obsessively in love with her however after calling several hospitals asking after her, after arriving home to an eight year pile of junk mail, and generally being super hardcore creepy he notices a fish bowl that has an inscription on it reading “So Long and Thanks” which prompts him to sleep on the events of the rainy evening.
Arthur decides he wants to find the cave in which he used to live in on prehistoric Earth and discovers that Fenchurch lives in a flat that was constructed precisely on top of Arthur’s cave in prehistoric Earth which is the second time he’s seen her now (he picked her up hitchhiking sometime between the fishbowl thing and showing up on her door step) which firmly establishes this story as a romantic comedy science fiction, maybe a first of its kind, and so following the formula Fenchurch makes a big reveal about her “mental instability”, as it turns out Fenchurch is the girl mentioned in the first book who had received the question for life, the universe, and everything moments before the Earth was destroyed, which is code for she floats inches off the ground all the time constantly (literally) and when Arthur notices this he teaches her to fly and they have lots and lots of flying sex.
Eventually Arthur and Fenchurch receive a lead onto an enigmatic scientist, John Watson aka Wonko the Sane who looked like…I’ll just have to quote it:
If you took a couple of David Bowies and stuck one of the David Bowies on top of the other David Bowie, then attached another David Bowie to the end of each of the arms of the upper of the first two David Bowies and wrapped the whole business up in a dirty beach robe you would then have something which didn’t exactly look like John Watson, but which those who knew him would find hauntingly familiar.
…and with all this David Bowie power combine Arthur and Fenchurch are shown that if they hold the fish bowl they got up to their ear they can hear the dolphins explaining to humanity about the impending Volgon demolition and that they tried to warn us however they (the dolphins) are off to another dimension before this Earth is destroyed so they can create a new Earth for the Humans and then a wild Ford Prefect appears via a giant robot shaped spaceship that causes mass mayhem and however dunk Ford is he explains…nothing(3) but there are some cut away Ford POV chapters showing where he was when he discovered that his copy of the Guide has the full version of his entry on the Earth and how he got from there to the Earth and after finishing his surprisingly accurate drunken rehash of his POV chapters(4) they decide to hijack the same robot-spaceship that Ford arrived on to go see where God’s Last Message to his Creation is and read it but on the way they meet Marvin who explains that due to continuity (errors?) that he is now about 37 times older than the universe it self which has made him almost nonfunctional however Arthur and Fenchurch help Marvin to the destination where God’s Last Message to his Creation can be read and after reading it: (get ready for the feels)
“I think,” he murmured at last from deep within his corroding, rattling, thorax, “I feel good about it.”
The lights went out in his eyes for absolutely the very last time ever.
This book is closest to my heart in the series. I love Fenchurch. Finally Arthur has a love interest AND this woman isn’t an insulting gender-genre cliche AND she actually is a fairly interesting character. I’m not generally crazy for romances in literature(5) but after growing with Arthur over the last few books it feels so satisfying to give him his home back and someone to love and be loved.
Take this thought from Arthur’s head:
“Perhaps we ought to first sort out,” said Arthur, “where I’m taking you.”
See? It’s crap like THIS that makes me really makes me peel with “aww”.
I did not like Marvin. Like at all. I wanted him to die the entire series. This death is simultaneously satisfying and heartbreaking and every time I read it I feel those heart strings.
Above points are all in favour of this book making a strong cannidate for the end of the series but an subtle absence is felt with out Zaphod or Trillian in this book as much as their characters were 100% throw-away(6) in the overall series (including the prequel short story) and their stories were pretty much resolved(?7) after the events of Life, the Universe and Everything however I just kind of wanted to see them…or have mention of the heart of gold finding god or something improbable like that. Would have been a much stronger ending than the “seriously? WTF, man. What is your deal INTRODUCING A BRAND NEW CHARACTER IN THE EPILOGUE THAT SERVES NO PURPOSE?! Seriously, can’t have any nice moments here…” (drops mic, walks out, turns off light switch on way out)
- Go ahead and re-read it. It makes sense in the context of this series.
- Given the time traveling and dimensional travel, I’m pretty sure there is no right answer.
- He kind of rambles on for a few pages while the giant robot does giant robot things.
- His drunken rambling makes about as much sense as some of his chapters, like the one where he keeps listening to the “Tick Tick Tock Tock”ing and giggles about it. I think Adams was getting paid by the word by this book because there are much easier plot devices to get Arthur and Fenchurch a ride off planet.
- Unless it’s something silent and complex like John Grady and Alejandra in All The Pretty Horses by McCarthy and I’ll just read it over and over and over…or really anything Cormic decides he wants to write about I’ll read because his prose is just so so lyrical and violent like broken church stain glass sparkling in the morning sun.
- I can think of a much more amusing scenario where in Zaphod’s causal absence, Ford steals the Heart of Gold and abducts Arthur and they go have space adventures and Trillian only exists because of the phone number joke in the first book which could have been replaced with Fenchurch and hell I think we’re on our way to an interesting reboot of the series, eh?
- ? Honestly I care so little about their character arcs that I won’t check the source text (sitting right in front of me).
I leave tomorrow Saturday 1st of October at 4.20pm (central time) and I couldn’t be more anxious, excited, primed, ready, happy, and so many more complex emotions I can’t entirely wrap my brain around yet. I don’t have much to say today but I have a comic I want to share with you my friends. Next time I post, I’ll be in the United Kingdom.
The count down has begun. My plane leaves 1st October at 4.20pm (central time). 😀 Five days…
Happy Monday and Labor Day for my American readers.
This info-graph is a general overview of the series.
The Hitchhiker’s guide has an interesting history beginning as a pitch for a 6 part series called “The Ends of the Earth” where the earth ends at the end of each episode surly many of them end on a stupid Thursday(1). This idea eventually evolved into what we have here today and then some(2) including the movie adaptation of the first book.
This series has a pretty close place to my heart and I have a pretty long history with it, probably the longest/first bookmance(3) I’ve ever had. I remember when I was a kid, somewhere around 13-15 years old, my dad gave me the first Hitchhiker’s guide book.
It might have been my first literary brush with literary si-fi, I was brought up on Red Dwarf(4) so I was well prepared, and it was good. Really good.
My dad had all the rest of the original books up to So Long and Thanks For All the Fish and I ate them all up. I have specific memories of reading these books in school and literally laughing out loud involuntarily in class. I’m pretty easy to laugh(5) but usually I’m pretty good at restraining my self in public but this book got me several times. Even on revisits.
Fast forward a few years and I’m at a book store, constantly building my library (sometimes I like to think about the day when I have enough books, that I’ve actually read AND enjoy no cheating with “the entire Steven King collection”, to make a book fort(6)), and I see this almost biblical looking version of the collection which was really nice because it came with a tassel bookmark. This copy got donated after the first or second library purge(7) and in the last year since getting back into school I’ve begun replacing or obtaining copies of books I remember reading and enjoying but had borrowed from a friend or the library and this series was recommended to me on amazon.
This is my third and most recent re-reading of the series and I’ve had mixed reactions. At first I was totally pumped to read this thinking I would blow through it in a few weeks but it ended up taking me about two months to read 815 pages +/- 20 pages because they count the title and dedication pages in between each book and most of that was spent trudging through Life, The Universe, and Everything. However we will get to that in time. The good news is that this series starts and ends pretty strongly (see info-graph above).
As in Adams style(8), over the next 7 weeks I will present to you:
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Ultimate Review:
A 7 part review in 8 parts
Tune in next week for part II: The actual review for The Hitchhiker’s to the Galaxy the book.
- The Earth is destroyed on a Thursday afternoon several times in the series.
- As I learned in researching this article that there has been yet another novel added to the series called “…and another thing.” which, I personally, do not count as cannon and will not likely read the reasons for which will become clear as this series progresses.
- If we can have words like “bromance“, which I reluctantly have adopted in specific situations, I’m championing the word “bookmance”. I’ve submitted a definition to urban dictionary and I might adopt the word for one year for 25$ on wordnik, my favourite dictionary site. Depends on if urban diction approves.
- I have so many fond memories of late night Sunday, kind of like tonight actually (as I write this that is), as a kid with my parents watching the foreign shows on PBS channel nine like Red Dwarf (British) and The Red Green Show (Canadian). These came on, if I remember right, after the X-Files on Sunday nights. Sometimes we would order Cecil’s or Imo’s Pizza, St Louis Style pizza, and it was pretty much the best. I have a lot of television related memories, more the scheduling aspects rather than the shows them selves. I don’t know, there’s an essay memoir in there. Something in Infinite Jest rattled it loose. Stay tuned.
- I read a snapple facts once “Snapple fact #831: Adults laugh only about 15 to 100 times a day, while six-year-olds laugh an average of 300 times a day.” and I keep meaning to start a data crunch project on this, I keep track of other things in my journal. Another thing for the list.
- As a minimalist I have regular purge events where I strip down to bare essentials however in the last major purge I decided to begin building a library rather than holding on to a few prized pieces, however I do prune it regularly.
- His series started as a trilogy and remains to be frequently refereed to as a trilogy because humour.
It’s the first day of school for my friends and would be for me too if I wasn’t studying abroad this year. Every scholastic year anticipation of this day fills me with an unique restless energy including this year not because of starting my new classes but I just applied for my student visa yesterday and as I’ve been telling my friends
I’m fear sweating for the next 7-10 days.
It’s a really scary application process. It’s expensive(1) and it is the single lynch pin that could ruin the effort of the tens of hours I’ve spent getting signatures and the pages of paperwork I’ve had to fill out and the money I’ve already spent into the program. Real talk: I’m almost a full year invested into this process. I took the first step of submitting my application to my school’s study abroad program as early as permitted in late September or early October. Ever since then my life has been a roller coaster but everything I’ve done had the baseline motivation of “I’m going to England”.
After a full year’s worth of personal(2) strife, professional(3) trials, and scholastic(4) auto-flogging, filling in the time between deadlines and approvals, I’m literally as close as I can get to being given the green light and all this pressure sitting on one final bureaucratic signature is an extremely intense feeling.
- For me $446 + $150 for international insurance or some such
- Coping with loss, struggling with drinking, getting sober, and staying sober, anticipated grief, moving, the brief fear of homelessness, friends moving to the 4 corners of the earth, generally trying to get my life back on the right track
- Working crap food job, trying to balance hours and homework load (4 nights a week or 26 hrs at work while taking 12 credit hours both fall and spring term [see footnote 4]), drama coupled with working said crap food job
- Fall term was my first term at full time University level courses since 2007-8 scholastic year where I went to Mizzou for my freshmen year taking 20 credit hours a term. I burnt out pretty hard after that first year, ergo the seven year break. Fall term 2015 I took some heavy stuff, Calculus I and Statics/Probabilities (Past me: “Yea I always liked math and I kinda want a challenge. Nice way to finish my Math/Science requirements.” Present me: “You right stupid feckin’ idiot.”), and some lighter stuff, theater 101 and Anthropology of Native American Spirituality, the same mentioned previously in footnote 5 of “Getting to know the Neighbloggerhood”, then Spring Term 2016 I took a bunch of literary and writing courses which were fun but the work load got really intense with working all week and maintaining a regular drinking habit. Basically my week was like this: M-F School (8am), Work, Bed(Midnight); S-S: Homework 8am – 7pmish, drink to sleep, repeat. It was pretty rough. Things are easier now and things should be easier in England. I’m only taking 16 credit hours, equivalent, and my visa allows me to work up to 20 hours a week but no more.
After seeing a copy of “A Storm of Swords” on the floor of my friend’s car almost ten years ago I got this idea and it made me giggle.