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New Hitchhiker's Guide Book "Not Very Funny" 410

Posted by timothy
from the trying-to-meet-a-high-standard dept.
daria42 writes "An early review of part of the Eoin Colfer-penned sequel to Douglas Adams's Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy series has panned the book as not being very funny. If you read Hitchhiker to have a good laugh, maybe you're going to be disappointed," wrote Nicolas Botti, on his Douglas Adams fan site earlier this month."
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New Hitchhiker's Guide Book "Not Very Funny"

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  • meh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Dyinobal (1427207)
    I always found humor in literature overrated. A few funny bits in any book is fine, but to read an entire book that was suppose to be funny. I dunno I can't see myself enjoying it that much. Even if the jokes were intelligent and witty.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by BadAnalogyGuy (945258)

      I always found humor in literature overrated.

      Just because everyone praises the Emporer's new clothes, it doesn't mean he's wearing any.

      Also, the new /. appearance is very confusing. Why would you put a separation line *before* the link to the comments?

      • Re:meh (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 20, 2009 @07:46PM (#29141155)

        An early review of part of the Eoin Colfer-penned seque

        On the plus side, Eoin Colfer has won the Ambiguously Pronounced Name Award!

        • Re:meh (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Philip K Dickhead (906971) <folderol@fancypants.org> on Thursday August 20, 2009 @08:41PM (#29141639) Journal

          Really,

          What was left unsaid, unexplored, unpadded, etc. in the original Doug Adams volumes? As a series, they were one book too long as it stood, really.

          The creme was in the two BBC radio series, and the material was presented it its most delightful and appealing way in this format.

          The books were little more than these programmes, padded with the narrative required to contextualize in written form. It's my belief that they suffered under this treatment. Certainly, they labored the humor - without the excellent timing and auditory cues, which were integral.

          So. A good author now contributes a mediocre and unnecessary addition to an entertaining body of work, derived with some encumbrance from a superior and lively original radio play. To reiterate my original question, what had not yet been mined from that vein? What had not yet been wrung and worried from that corpus?

          Oh, yes. More publishing revenues.

          I think the Python's were quite good at satirizing this sort of thing - and Adams would have a good turn at it, himself: "The Contractual Obligation Beyond the Reasonable End of the Universe", or so.

          • I agree that the radio series is the best format of taking in the books. I even tried watching the TV series which has pretty much the same crew, and I just couldn't stand it. The books are great, the radio series is simply awesome.

          • Re:meh (Score:5, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 20, 2009 @11:18PM (#29142721)

            I am a book, "Contractual Obligation to end 5 book trilogy", Mark 2. I have been activated. I will explode into outlet bookstores and recycling programs in 7 days. 6 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes, 45 seconds. 6 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes, 30 seconds. 6 days...

            "Oh, Dear." uttered the ghost of Douglas. The ghosts of the other authors twittered behind him. "We told you this would happen" spat Tolkien, who had assumed a rather ungainly set of almost holographic elven ears...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Absolutely. Everyone's crazy except you.

    • Re:meh (Score:5, Funny)

      by BenihanaX (1405543) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @07:45PM (#29141149)

      I always found spinach in food overrated. A few tasty bits in any dish is fine, but to eat an entire dish that was suppose to be spinach. I dunno I can't see myself enjoying it that much. Even if the spinach was quality and well prepared.

    • Re:meh (Score:5, Funny)

      by mh1997 (1065630) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @07:49PM (#29141183)

      I always found humor in literature overrated. A few funny bits in any book is fine, but to read an entire book that was suppose to be funny. I dunno I can't see myself enjoying it that much. Even if the jokes were intelligent and witty.

      Tell me about it, I hate when I read a really good book that keeps me entertained for hours.

      • I enjoy listening to reruns of classic "My Word" episodes; laughing an=t the verbal antics of Denis Norden and Frank Muir, while punctuating the pauses in in banter by loudly breaking wind.

        But I wouldn't want to do so for very long at a time. Surely the weekend is sufficient for this!

    • Re:meh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gmuslera (3436) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @07:49PM (#29141187) Homepage Journal
      You didn't read Discworld, then? Is not that the entire books means to be funny, but have a lot of good laughs, and that in a story interesting enough that have a bit of everything. When i have to classify the secondary genre of those books, i doubt between fantasy, terror, sci-fi, philosophy and others, but the first one is humor definately.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by itsdapead (734413)

        You didn't read Discworld, then?

        Depends which ones: The first couple of Discworld books were very much a series of set-piece jokes tied together by a loose plot - very much like the Hitch-Hikers Guide but with wizzards and dragons instead of robots and space ships... However, as the books went on the emphasis shifted from comedy towards plot and character.

        The recent City Watch books are more hard-boiled detective and social commentary. Pratchett's most recent book, "Nation" was decidedly not a comedy.

        Mind you, I get the distinct impress

    • Re:meh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MacTO (1161105) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @08:06PM (#29141341)

      > A few funny bits in any book is fine, but to read an entire book that was suppose to be funny. I dunno I can't see myself enjoying it that much. Even if the jokes were intelligent and witty.

      Normally I would agree with you, except Douglas Adams was the guy who introduced me to the pleasure of laughing. After all, he was the guy who figured out humour for the geek.

      • by brusk (135896)

        Douglas Adams was the guy who introduced me to the pleasure of laughing.

        My endocrinologist performed that function for me. Turned out I had an inflamed spleen, and once that was treated it no longer hurt to laugh.

    • Re:meh (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dangitman (862676) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @08:06PM (#29141351)

      A few funny bits in any book is fine, but to read an entire book that was suppose to be funny.

      I'm not sure how we're supposed to take your opinion on literature seriously, after you wrote that sentence.

    • Re:meh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Peter H.S. (38077) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @08:12PM (#29141413) Homepage

      I always found humor in literature overrated. A few funny bits in any book is fine, but to read an entire book that was suppose to be funny. I dunno I can't see myself enjoying it that much. Even if the jokes were intelligent and witty.

      Humor in literature is in fact vastly underrated because a lot of insecure people have the primitive feeling that if it is fun, then it can only be inferior art. Humorous books aren't wall-to-wall jokes, but often subtle literary works employing a wide array of literary devices to convey the authors intentions. Joseph Heller's "Catch 22", Cervantes' "Don Quixote", Jaroslav Hasek's "The Good Soldier Svejk", Franz Kafka's "The Castle", Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" are all humorous works of the highest literary grade.
      Try a funny book someday, you may like it.

      --
      Regards

      • Mark Twain (Score:5, Insightful)

        by scribblej (195445) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @08:44PM (#29141663)

        A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Funny, geeky, fantasy.

        He told me he was a page. "Go on," I said, "You ain't no more than a paragraph!"

      • Re:meh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by fractoid (1076465) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @10:03PM (#29142201) Homepage

        Humor in literature is in fact vastly underrated because a lot of insecure people have the primitive feeling that if it is fun, then it can only be inferior art.

        Cue the Calvin and Hobbes comic contrasting 'high art' and 'low art':

        Calvin: A painting. Moving. Spiritually enriching. Sublime. "High" art!

        Calvin: The comic strip. Vapid. Juvenile. Commercial hack work. "Low" art.

        Calvin: A painting of a comic strip panel. Sophisticated irony. Philosophically challenging. "High" art.

        Hobbes: Suppose I draw a cartoon of a painting of a comic strip?

        Calvin: Sophomoric, intellectually sterile. "Low" art.

        • Re:meh (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Monkey (795756) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @10:13PM (#29142263)
          I have never said this before but...Boy I wish I had mod points. (I might have but I don't think so). Calvin and Hobbes is by far one of the most insightful things I have ever read. Yet to most people it is still 'low art' and the same goes for the Guide. It is smart, funny, and so obviously about humanity that if the Vogans showed had little tags that read 'post office' or 'DMV' it would go quickly from funny to sadly real. Anyway, +5 insightful
    • This is no troll. Humour in books doesn't work as well as it does on film, TV or live.

      There are few books I've found to be really funny, and I read 30+ books a year. Douglas Adams' books along with say Catch-22 and maybe Running with Scissors are about the only ones that come to mind.

      Humour works better when you can have the jokes delivered with timing. I've found audio books make some books much funnier when it's done well.

      Even film has it's weaknesses for humour. Film tends to want a narrative to drive th

    • Wait! (Score:3, Funny)

      by Runaway1956 (1322357)

      The Hitchhiker's Guide was meant to be funny? No one told me that all those decades ago. I read it like any good student - as if it were a history book!!

      Next thing, you'll be telling me that L. Ron Hubbard made up his religion.

      Man, you slashdotters have a lot of nerve......

    • by gandhi_2 (1108023)
      David Sedaris' Me Talk Pretty One Day is one of the few examples where an entire book of humor seems to work fine. But he's just telling stories that happen to be funny, not packing a book full of jokes to fill pages.
  • Oh, come on... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by schon (31600) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @07:42PM (#29141119)

    They said the same thing about the Hollywood movie, and look how that turned...

    Oh, CRAP!

    • Re:Oh, come on... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Abreu (173023) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @08:17PM (#29141457)

      However, all the major changes in the movie script were penned by Adams himself.

      The radio, book and movie versions of HHGTTG were all supposed to be different in their own way.

      • Re:Oh, come on... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sayfawa (1099071) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @08:31PM (#29141555)
        I didn't know that but, in retrospect, it makes sense. I knew, as I watched it, that there were significant deviations from the book. But it was still funny and entertaining in the same way that I expected a Douglass Adams work to be.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          And had he said Carrot Top was who authored them, you'd have said "It makes sense. It was cheesy and retarded all in the same breath"
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Jurily (900488)

          But it was still funny and entertaining in the same way that I expected a Douglass Adams work to be.

          It was funny and entertaining in the same way I expected a movie version of a book to be.

          Much of the fun in the books come from the unique descriptions Mr. Adams used. Trying to preserve those on screen felt forced at best, and broke the film into small pieces connected with long pauses. Not good.

          Also, I found the Vogons to be more pathetic than ugly and scary.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            Much of the fun in the books come from the unique descriptions Mr. Adams used.

            Exactly. How do you film a spaceship that hangs in the sky in much the same way that a brick doesn't?

      • by yoshi_mon (172895)

        Correct me if I'm wrong here but I also remember Adams saying that he never thought the HHGTTG could really work in anything but print. And because of a lack of trying on his part either. Just that whenever he worked at trying to make the whole idea behind HHGTTG in another medium even he thought it was lacking.

        Even when I was watching the movie I tried to keep an open mind because I knew it could not be the same as the book(s). But even with me trying to accept it on that different format and what I tho

        • Re:Oh, come on... (Score:5, Informative)

          by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @09:18PM (#29141923)
          Correct me if I'm wrong here but I also remember Adams saying that he never thought the HHGTTG could really work in anything but print. And because of a lack of trying on his part either. Just that whenever he worked at trying to make the whole idea behind HHGTTG in another medium even he thought it was lacking.

          The problem with this theory is that HHGTTG didn't start its life in print. It was originally a radio play. And he was more than happy to try it out in other media formats.
        • by drosboro (1046516)

          That would seem like an odd thing for him to have said, since the book came AFTER the radio series.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hitchhiker's_Guide_to_the_Galaxy [wikipedia.org]

          And, let's not forget about the text adventure game! Possibly one of my favourite ways to enjoy the story, and you can play online too:

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hitchhikers/game.shtml [bbc.co.uk]

        • Re:Oh, come on... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Eskarel (565631) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @10:48PM (#29142487)

          I liked the movie actually.

          It wasn't really the guide, though what the guide is is a little bit fluid, there's the tv mini series, the two different radio series, the books in print, the books on tape read by Adam's himself, as well as the movie. They're all very different, and all funny in their own way. A bit like Monty Python in a sense, the best sketches were done so many times and always involved at least some improvisation so those lines embedded in your brain may not actually be in the version you read/watch.

          It was however, at least I thought, in the spirit of the guide. It's a little less bitter and twisted than the originals were, but if Douglas Adams himself was a lot less cynical and bitter towards the end so that's not really all that surprising. My understanding is that the whole thing started because Douglas Adams used to make a tv show where the world exploded at the end of every episode and he wondered what it would be like to start a story with the world exploding instead. The Douglas Adams of later years was not that same person.

          The biggest problem with the movie was that most people seem to only believe that one of the many formats is the true guide. Some people don't even know there was a radio drama, or a tv mini series, and they don't realize that the universe was different every single time, and so they expect the movie to be the books, but on film, which it wasn't and wasn't supposed to be. The fact that Douglas Adams died before the movie was released, just adds to things because those same people can blame Hollywood for ruining the story, when the reality is that Douglas Adams was heavily involved with the process and the result would likely have been very similar had he survived.

          • Re:Oh, come on... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by tygerstripes (832644) on Friday August 21, 2009 @04:29AM (#29144143)

            For all the criticisms I've heard about the film - some of them justifiable, some just uninformed fan-boy ranting - there is one aspect in which the film excelled: The Book.

            Perfectly quirky, simple-looking, clean animation, a "please remain calm" backing track, and the narration masterfully voiced by a calm, eloquent Stephen Fry. Just about the only person who could've done it better than the two radio-series narrators. I feel confident in saying it will never be done better.

      • by AlHunt (982887)

        >The radio, book and movie versions of HHGTTG were all supposed to be different in their own way.

        Mission accomplished.

      • by schon (31600)

        However, all the major changes in the movie script were penned by Adams himself.

        The problem is that it was the minor changes (ie. removing all the funny bits) that made it unwatchable.

        The radio, book and movie versions of HHGTTG were all supposed to be different in their own way.

        So you're trying to tell me that Adams decided that he didn't want the movie to be funny?

        I suppose it could be some last practical joke of his, but somehow, I doubt it.

    • Re:Oh, come on... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Macthorpe (960048) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @08:23PM (#29141493) Journal

      I think it's more pertinent to point out that one person has said that he didn't find it funny. Now, call me old-fashioned, but since when did it warrant an entire Slashdot story based on one person's opinion of a book that hasn't even been released yet? Maybe I'm not with the times.

      So, in a bit of an experiment, I did try and tell the BBC that I watched a pre-release version of 'Avatar' and I thought it was average, but oddly enough they didn't want to screen my interview...

    • Re:Oh, come on... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Thursday August 20, 2009 @08:42PM (#29141645)

      They said the same thing about the Hollywood movie, and look how that turned...

      You know, the movie is definitely not as _funny_ as the books, but I think they definitely made the main characters more _likeable_, especially Arthur. If you paid attention, they showed Ford using a towel in many of the appropriate ways, they just didn't call attention to it, which, to me, wasted a great opportunity.

      For me, the funniest parts of the books are the excerpts from the Guide (especially the part about how the Babel Fish has been used for the non-existence of God). If they had added just a couple of minutes to put those into the movie, I think I would've liked it much, much more.

      I love how they slipped the Marvin costume from the old tv show into the scene where there're a lot of people standing in line. Plus you've got to admit Alan Rickman *IS* Marvin. Who knew Marvin and Professor Snape had so much in common?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        For me, the funniest parts of the books are the excerpts from the Guide (especially the part about how the Babel Fish has been used for the non-existence of God). If they had added just a couple of minutes to put those into the movie, I think I would've liked it much, much more.

        Correct me if I'm wrong, but I specifically remember excerpts from the book being presented in the movie. Didn't they have a voice over by Stephen Fry?

      • by schon (31600)

        You know, the movie is definitely not as _funny_ as the books, but I think they definitely made the main characters more _likeable_, especially Arthur.

        The movie not being "as funny" is an understatement among the lines of "you know, being hit in the balls with a 5 pound sledge hammer is definitely not as _pleasant_ as a blowjob, but it's easier to get."

        Yes, the characters were more likeable. Unfortunately, they did it at the expense of making the movie as a whole unlikable. They could have made the characters more sympathetic without removing the humor, instead they chose to do both, to the detriment of all.

        I borrowed the movie from my local library. I

  • it doesn't matter (Score:5, Insightful)

    by greymond (539980) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @07:44PM (#29141137) Homepage Journal

    No matter what author at any level of talent that had picked up the books and decided to continue them would be met with heresy or at very least a review of "not as good as the original".

    As a writer I know how to mimic the words of others, but it doesn't mean that a person with a significant and highly educated fan base wouldn't pick up on the subtle differences, because no matter how good someone try's to imitate another person, in writing, it's just not the same.

    Besides the fact that the expectations, especially those of slashdot's community, are so high you have little chance of being honored with anyone other than "mainstream" media who may have water on the brain, but enough money to throw at people to make them happy, even if slashdot or many fans don't approve.

  • stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Thursday August 20, 2009 @07:45PM (#29141141) Homepage Journal

    Adams was a genius and having someone else pick up where he left off with anything makes no sense. If they are that good - they should be writing their own stuff.

    I'll never forget the night I was baby-sitting some neighbor kids. They were in bed and I was watching PBS. A show came on and it was hilarious - that's how I found out about HHG - and once I got the books it was all over - I loved reading everything he wrote, even the unedited bits published after his death.

    • Agreed. Douglas Adams was a very unique writer, in terms of his sense of humor. It's an insanely difficult act to follow.

      And to be honest, I'm not sure I really want to read any attempts to do so. Why can't they just let a great series be a great series, instead of trying to extend it?

      • And to be honest, I'm not sure I really want to read any attempts to do so. Why can't they just let a great series be a great series, instead of trying to extend it?

        If that thought were applied to movies, we'd have never had DS9 or the JJ Abrams Star Trek movie. Why is it OK for TV and movies but not novels? It's a common thought and I don't get it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Perhaps it would have been for the best had we not had the JJ Abrams Star Trek movie.

        • by owlnation (858981)

          If that thought were applied to movies, we'd have never had DS9 or the JJ Abrams Star Trek movie. Why is it OK for TV and movies but not novels?

          Who said it was ok for TV and Movies? Few sequels in those media are any good. As your examples prove.

          • Slashdotters criticising things that were financially very successful. I'm shocked. No wait, I'm not. I sense jealousy.
      • It's an insanely difficult act to follow

        Adams' gift (or one of them) was the unexpected. I think anyone trying to write "as" Adams will inevitably fail because no matter how good a writer they are in their own right if they try write as they 'expect' Adams to write then it will be expected by the reader too.

        If case any one reading this likes HHGTG and hasn't read Adam's Dirk Gently novels I can only recommend to get them and read them.

        • The weird thing is that Adams himself said he spent the early part of his life trying to be John Cleese, until he realized that John Cleese was John Cleese, and that Adams should try being himself.

          Someone literally stole my copy of Salmon of Doubt from a coffee shop before I could finish reading it. I am a little curious. This new book, is it a continuation of what he started there, or something completely else?

          I'm also not sure the series needs continuation. The plot was never good. Adams never wanted more

    • Re:stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SoupGuru (723634) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @08:01PM (#29141285)

      Exactly. I'm going to record the next Jimi Hendrix album AND paint the next Picasso.

      The reason these guys are so successful is that their views of the world are so skewed from everyone else's and we love them for it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by JSBiff (87824)

        Hey, just because *you're* not as good as Jimi Hendrix or Picasso doesn't mean that there is NOBODY in a planet with approx 6 Billion people that could make music in the same style as Jimi Hendrix, and do a good job of it. Or paint in a similar style to Picasso and be brilliant at it.

        The difference here is that, with music, there's no point is calling your album the "next Jimi Hendrix" album (unless you just want to be ridiculed by people), because music is essentially stand-alone. With fiction, you can ce

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I hear there are some pretty good Star Wars books that weren't written by George Lucas. I also hear there are some good Star Trek books which weren't written by Gene Roddenberry. Go to any bookstore, and you will find a whole shelf full of Forgotten Realms books, by a cadre of different authors, and they seems to be, for the most part, well received by fans of Forgotten Realms.

          There weren't any good Star Wars books written by George Lucas, nor Star Trek books by Gene Roddenberry. As for Forgotten Realms, as novels they were conceived as a sort of shared world. I'm not a Douglas Adams fan, but none of the Star Wars, Star Trek or Forgotten Realms books are in the same class as The Hitchhikers' Guide series.

    • Re:stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ari_j (90255) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @08:09PM (#29141383)
      I look at it this way ... if George Lucas himself can't come back a couple decades later and make another good Star Wars movie, why would you expect someone other than Douglas Adams to be able to revisit the series a couple decades down the road and do anything good with it?
      • Re:stupid (Score:4, Funny)

        by chromatic (9471) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @08:40PM (#29141627) Homepage

        I expect that there may be a few people in the world better at telling a consistent and coherent story than George Lucas.

      • by Kingrames (858416)
        gah!
        You MORON. Star Wars is THE example of a series that got BETTER when someone else did the story!
        Knights of the old republic was superior to even the first three movies!
        Though it's a shit-fest now, Star Wars Galaxies, prior to the introduction of Jedi as an unlockable class, was the best MMO of its time, a wonderful game, and quite possibly the best MMO to date.

        Even the 5-minute completely fan-driven and made "Troops" which was purely a comedy sketch, was fantastic.
        Star wars becomes a bigger, bette
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Bringing Lucas into the equation is an interesting one. I really liked the first 3 Star Wars movies but after that, I think it was just the force of the initial success pushing things along. If it weren't for those, most subsequent SW stuff whether it's the films or the novels wouldn't have been nearly as successful because frankly, they weren't that good. It was all intertia.
        For me, Adams is similar. I used to be a Radio 4 fan far earlier than was probably good for me and used to listen to it as a matter
  • The ending? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hunter0000 (1600071) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @07:57PM (#29141257)

    I don't understand what drives people so crazy about the ending of Mostly Harmless. Even Adams said he didn't like the bleak ending. Am I alone in thinking this was the best ending of a book I have ever read?

    Sure it's bleak. I don't care. Nearly every other novel I've read that I enjoyed the ending always has seemed abrupt. I get attached to the characters and now the story just 'ends'. Mostly Harmless fixed that. Their dead. The Earth is gone. All of them. There are no 'what now?' questions left. The end of Mostly Harmless had closure - somthing I have failed to find in any story since.

    Now comes this crap, off to ruin it.

  • Not Surprised (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rehnberg (1618505) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @08:07PM (#29141357)
    While I am a huge Artemis Fowl fan, I'm not surprised that Colfer isn't able to pull off the Hitchhiker's universe as well. Adams and Colfer just have a completely different style of writing, and Colfer's does not fit the Hitchhiker's universe.
  • by StikyPad (445176) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @08:07PM (#29141363) Homepage

    I realize there is plenty of dry and black humor, in the most British sense of the words, but the triumph, in my opinion, was that he told a compelling story in spite of that, not because of it. Obviously if you found them humorous as well, then that probably lent something to the subjective quality of the novels. But the HHGTTG series had a much wider audience than British comedy does, so clearly it wasn't the humor alone that drove the popularity, and I think that focusing on that alone is missing the appeal of the books. It's missing the forest for the trees, the way George Lucas did with his prequels, assuming that the popularity of the series had something to do with the special effects, when they were really just a footnote in a story and universe (ok, galaxy) that we loved.

  • by wowbagger (69688) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @08:10PM (#29141395) Homepage Journal

    Sorry, but the LAST HHGTTG book, "Mostly Harmless", wasn't all that funny, either - and that WAS written by Douglas himself.

    Considering that it ended with the destruction of pretty much EVERYTHING, I don't see how the new book could even BE - let alone BE FUNNY, unless the do a complete reboot of the HHGTTG universe.

    ("...with younger, edgier characters!")

  • by harmonise (1484057) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @08:17PM (#29141451)

    Maybe the reviewer didn't appreciate the type of humor in the book. I read Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy years ago and didn't find it to be very funny, so maybe I will find this one funny instead.

  • Should've been called: "It Is What It Is"
  • Like 4 and 5 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fyoder (857358)

    If you read Hitchhiker to have a good laugh, maybe you're going to be disappointed,"

    So its like books 4 and 5 then. I thought book 4 was the best in the series, though I think I'm in the minority since lots of people didn't like it because it didn't have a laugh a sentence.

    I disliked the 5th book so much I seem to have successfully suppressed it in my memory to the point where I don't even remember what it was about. Perhaps there wasn't even a 5th book and I'm just confused.

    • The first few books were so happenstance that I honestly wonder if Douglas Adams had any idea of what was going to happen next. He said when writing the radio show, he had no major thought towards the direction of the show. I think in books 4 and 5, he did seem to have more plot in mind. The books move with more of a purpose. It is entirely possible that people prefered the madcap style of the first 3.

  • by vistic (556838) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @08:36PM (#29141593)

    Seriously, if you want more Adams humor, and haven't done so already, go read "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" and the sequel "The Long, Dark, Tea-time of the Soul". H2G2 isn't the only great series Adams made.

    They are great books, and probably way better than anything in this new book.

    • by Improv (2467)

      I think Gently's humour is a bit less accessible - I've had both series since my childhood and only recently did I really start to like Gently. Adams' writing for Dr Who was even more subtly funny.

    • by DMoylan (65079) on Friday August 21, 2009 @01:05AM (#29143327)

      dig out a copy of last chance to see. that has some of adam's best work...

      Sleeping in Labuan Bajo, however, is something of an endurance test.
      Being woken at dawn by the cockerels is not in itself a problem. The problem arises when the cockerels get confused as to when dawn actually is. They suddenly explode into life squawking and screaming at about one o'clock in the morning. At about one-thirty they eventually realise their mistake and shut up, just as the major dog-fights of the evening are getting under way. These usually start with a few minor bouts between the more enthusiastic youngsters, and then the full chorus of heavyweights weighs in with a fine impression of what it might be like to fall into the pit of hell with the London Symphony Orchestra.
      It is then quite an education to learn that two cats fighting can make easily as much noise as forty dogs. It is a pity to have to learn this at two-fifteen in the morning, but then the cats have a lot to complain about in Labuan Bajo. They all have their tails docked at birth, which is supposed to bring good luck, though presumably not to the cats.
      Once the cats have concluded their reflections on this, the cockerels suddenly get the idea that it's dawn again and let rip. It isn't, of course. Dawn is still two hours away, and you still have the delivery van horn-blowing competition to get through to the accompaniment of the major divorce proceedings that have suddenly erupted in the room next door.
      At last things calm down and your eyelids begin to slide thankfully together in the blessed predawn hush, and then, about five minutes later, the cockerels finally get it right.

  • by Ukab the Great (87152) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @08:36PM (#29141597)

    Mostly Humorless.

  • An appropriate tag if there ever was one.
  • The last Adams penned HHG2G was not really funny either. Cool, but not funny.

  • We all define our own notion of the canon - we may orbit around the publisher or primary author, but we're not limited to that. I don't consider any Dr Who after the 7th Doctor to be canon, some of my friends consider everything but the movie to be canon, and there is disagreement about the books as well. People don't hold the same canon on Zelazny, Lovecraft, and plenty of others. I'm sure it'll be likewise with HHGTtG and this book. I don't think we should become too upset over new content unless we reall

  • Prolific? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RyatNrrd (662756) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @09:20PM (#29141939) Homepage Journal
    From TFA:

    Prolific British writer and comedian Adams

    Is this the same Douglas Adams we're talking about?

  • So long (Score:5, Funny)

    by JustOK (667959) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @09:23PM (#29141955) Journal

    so long and thanks for all the fiction.

  • done with hitchhiker (Score:5, Interesting)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @09:25PM (#29141971) Journal

    I think Mostly Harmless made it pretty clear that Douglas Adams was more than done with the series. If any further proof was necessary, I had an opportunity to talk with Adams shortly before his death, and got the same impression -- he was sick of the series, and wrote Mostly Harmless because he had to.

    I would much rather have read a third Dirk Gentley novel than a half-hearted Hitchhiker novel, and might have but for rabid Hitchhiker fans. Not that I'm bitter.

    It doesn't really matter what the new novel is like. I'm done with that.

    • by Kingrames (858416)
      It might just be me, but if you hit it big with a book that you enjoyed writing, and people love you for it, why get upset?
      Just let yourself relax a while and get back into it. Mostly Harmless was fantastic up until he decided "Hey, let's go ahead and kill off all the characters everybody loves."
      It was a douche move, and I still don't like it. It's like getting a birthday cake and then a punch to the face. Why forgive that?
  • by realmolo (574068) on Thursday August 20, 2009 @09:50PM (#29142125)

    Look, when I was 12 (in 1984), I though the first 2 books were funny. The third wasn't. The fourth was terrible. I didn't bother with the rest.

    And you know what? Not even the first 2 books are funny anymore. They haven't held up. At the time of their publication, they were fairly ground-breaking, but that style of humor just hasn't aged well at all (which tends to happen to all kinds of humor). It's juvenile and obvious, really. Nothing wrong with that, but it means the books have a shelf-life, and the HHGTTG books are about 20 years past their expiration date. They are cultural artifacts, not "classics".

  • by Alzheimers (467217) on Friday August 21, 2009 @09:27AM (#29145489)

    To quote the man himself,

    "This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move."

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