Between Galaxies Far and Near
Douglas Adams’s“Hitchhiker’s Guide” saga has always had a secure place in my heart since a childhood road trip during which my father insisted on putting on the original radio series in the car. When I first heard the idea, it sounded terrible. I think that I only really took notice of the first part of the title, inadvertently ignoring the more fantastical “Galaxy” aspect, which meant that I only expected to be distracted by some monotonous tourist handbook as I focused on Boba Fett’s continuing adventures in the “Star Wars” novels I was reading. Incidentally, those were probably my favourites in that line, but that’s irrelevant in all sorts of ways.
When the “Guide” started playing anyway, I was drawn in immediately, and subsequent years would bring additional enjoyment in the form of literary and cinematic adaptations.
When the “Artemis Fowl” guy came out with an extra book in the series with the blessing of the original author’s widow, aiming to end the story on the lighter note that Adams had considered before his demise, I was vaguely aware, but I didn’t give it much thought. However, I finally decided to give it a try a few days ago, and it was a solid read. On the whole, I probably derived more personal enjoyment from it than I did from the last two entries that Douglas penned, and I got more from its approach to mythological themes than I did from what Adams put forth in the Dirk Gently sequel. Sequels? If you count "The Salmon of Doubt". Whatever. That first Gently book and the early “Guide” works still hold a lofty space in my mind, but this new entry does a brilliant job of filling in that gap between those adored stories and the later, slightly less inspiring ones. None of this has been said with an eye towards objectivity or an appraisal of the latest novel’s worthiness of canonic status, but the pleasure I mention is pure, and that’s what felt meaningful in the moment.
Most doubtful salmon?
Loki. That guy's ability to work a salmon disguise was very dubious. He was much more convincing as a female horse, though.