Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Review - So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams

Short review: Earth is back but the dolphins have gone missing. Dent falls in love and flies a lot.

Dent finds Earth again
But there are no more dolphins
Fall in love and fly

Full review: The fourth book in the Hitchhiker Trilogy is named after the message the dolphins left behind when they abandoned Earth just before it was destroyed by the Vogons. The book finds Arthur Dent back on modern day Earth, which is surprising since the planet was destroyed and he ended the last book on Krikket. It turns out that the Vogons didn't account for alternate probabilities, so alternate versions of Earth exist (restored by the dolphins as part of their Save the Humans initiative), giving Dent a place to live.

Dent wanders about on this restored Earth, and so does the story. He gets a ride from a man named Fenchurch who is beset with a continuous rainstorm that falls upon him, finds the location of the cave that he started the last book in, and locates Fenchurch's "crazy" sister. Dent falls in love with her, does a lot of flying (having learned how in previous book), teaches her how to fly so they can make love in the clouds, and generally engages in not much of substance for the first part of the book. There's a plot line involving a more or less crazy scientist who thinks everyone else in the world is insane, and a mystery involving dolphins that is basically discarded in favor of a giant robot landing in London.

Prefect shows up and convinces Dent to go hitchhiking again to see God's final message. Accompanied by Marvin the Depressed Robot, they find the last message, and Marvin dies, finally happy. More so than any other book in the series, the plot to this book is irrelevant. On the other hand, the satire and humor in the book seems so light as to be almost trivial. Instead of the biting humor of the previous books, it seems like the humor in this book is just silly, and without much of a point. The book reads well though, and even air-light humor that is well-done is enjoyable.

Previous book in the series: Life, the Universe, and Everything
Subsequent book in the series: Mostly Harmless

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