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    Review of THE SALMON OF DOUBT by Douglas Adams (see his website)


    Harmony Books, 2002

    The late author Douglas Adams is a giant in modern SF with his immortal HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY series and the fine Dirk Gently series as well. THE SALMON OF DOUBT is the assembled draft of an uncompleted novel that features Dirk Gently but that Adams had discussed transforming into a HITCHHIKER novel. In addition to the novel fragment (approximately 100 pages), the book includes various descriptions of Adams, some of his humorous writings and interviews, and some general hero worshiping.

    That said, what about the novel fragment itself? Dirk Gently finds that his (always empty) bank account is being unaccountably filled and decides that he is being paid to investigate. Since he doesn't know what he is being paid for, he resolves to follow the fifth person who passes a certain corner and investigate him. With a few digressions into a near-god's hang-glider experience, a rampaging rhino, and Thor--the Norse god of thunder, Dirk sets out on a bizzare adventure. In typical Adams fashion, everything is silly, but everything hangs together with a strange logic.

    Is it worth reading? Of course. It's Douglas Adams, after all.
    Is it wonderful? Uh, not really. It's definitely interesting. Interesting to learn about what makes a writer tick and also interesting in that you get to see the scafoldings of a novel in the making--with what Adams describes as its placeholders (one of the non-novel sections of this volume is Adams' description of an unfinished book by the late P. G. Wodehouse in which Adams describes SUNSET AT BLANDINGS).

    Adams fans will be overjoyed to see one last addition to the corpus. Those not so familiar with Adams should start with his finished (and polished) novels. Everyone should be aware that although this may be 'Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time,' it isn't really in the HITCHHIKER series at all--although Adams might have moved it there had he lived.

    See more reviews of novels by Douglas Adams.

    Two Stars

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