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<i>And Another Thing... (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Book 6)</i> by <i>Eoin Colfer</i> (read in 2015)
<abstract>Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I've pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I've failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an interest in this book, then I'm happy for you.</abstract> This is the sixth in the increasingly inaccurately named trilogy, the <i>Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy</i>. This installment picks up where Adams left off in <i>Mostly Harmless</i> and reads a bit like Pratchett's <i>Raising Steam</i> in that absolutely everyone from the respective pantheon appears. The good news is that it's a pretty good story and the characters are handled well and feel natural. The dialogue is clever and the writing is funny. Good old Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged features prominently as well as the always interesting Trillian and Tricia McMillan. A planet built by the Magrathean Slartibartfast has been populated by people far too rich for their own good and they're petitioning for a God to rule their planet for them. Wowbagger and Thor both show up and lock horns. Even the Vogons, led by the implacable Prostetnic Jeltz and his son, who's not as enthusiastic as his father about eliminating humanity forever (finally closing the chapter on every possible extrusion in every possible multiverse). A fun romp and an installment that can stand proudly next to the others. <h>Citations</h> <bq caption="Page 7">“Bugger,” muttered the old man as the final crumbs dissipated on his fingertips, then he sat back on a cushion in the room of sky that suddenly surrounded him. Someone would be coming soon, he was sure of it. From the dim caverns of his old memories, the names Ford and Prefect emerged like gray bats to associate themselves with the impending disaster.</bq> <bq caption="Page 23">The Cyphroles are tiny invertebrate free-swimming gastrozoa who absorb the hostile energy emitted by their predators and use it to power their own systems. This makes the predator angry and so the Cyphroles swim faster through the gas ocean. Sesefras Magna gas dragons have learned to approach the Cyphroles casually, whistling a little tune or pretending to search for a few coins they have mislaid. The Cyphroles always fall for these tricks, as nature gave them large energy filters and tiny bullshit detectors.</bq> This is a nice callback. It's one of the nicest lines from the original.<fn> <bq caption="Page 26">“Humans think digital watches are pretty neat,” Ford murmured absently, then turned to face the three humans, who were busy doing their utmost to avoid being the least bit civil to each other.</bq> <bq caption="Page 117">Trillian actually wrung her fingers as the exchange escalated. She was so far in the red as regards good parenting credits that she had no idea where the high moral ground was. Even if she could occasionally glimpse it as a myopic hiker glimpses a mist-sodden hill at night, she had no idea who currently occupied it or how to scale its slopes, should she accidentally bump into them.</bq> Mr. Colfer is pulling the best lines from other works now. This one is from <i>Blade Runner</i>, delivered by the incomparable Rutger Hauer. <bq caption="Page 122">Wowbagger could not hold her eyes. “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.”</bq> And this is a nice citation illustrating Colfer's affinity and feel for the characters, Zaphod in this instance. <bq caption="Page 183">Hillman drummed his fingers on the table, something he hoped the waitress would notice and for God’s sake come and take his order. He stopped in mid-drum. “Well, we have no waitresses for a start. They’re all down on the beach colony with the personal trainers. And they took all the booze.” Zaphod reached for his boots. “Well, it’s been great chatting to you, Hillman. If you could just point me in the direction of this beach colony.”</bq> <bq caption="Page 183">“Every new society has teething problems. You need to work through them with diplomacy and alcohol.”</bq> And again, this time with Ford and Arthur. And, at the end, a callback to good old Marvin, who uttered the original line <iq>Life? Don't talk to me about life.</iq> <bq caption="Page 192">“I guess X marks the spot,” said Ford, a hank of charred meat in his hand. He turned to the nearest cow. “Do you have any sauce? This is a little dry.” Arthur found that he was not as scandalized by this sort of behavior as he once had been. Repeated exposure to Ford Prefect’s rampant gourmandizing had eroded some of his behavioral notions. “I believe that someone mentioned wine,” he said, trying not to sound overly enthusiastic. Random scowled, although no one noticed as it was one of her two normal expressions, the other being a contemptuous curl of the lip. “That is disgusting,” she said, transitioning smoothly into expression number two. “You two are pigs.” “Pigs,” said the cow. “Don’t talk to me about pigs.”</bq> <bq caption="Page 196">“Wasn’t it? I seem to recall you being linked to several starlets.” “That was just physical. Those females meant nothing to me.” This is historically the third worst thing to say to a female of any species. “They meant nothing? Why not?” Wowbagger spread his arms. “How could they? Even as we mated, they were growing old.” There’s number two. Trillian’s eyes flashed. “Growing old. We all grow old, Bowerick. Believe it or not, I’m growing old too.” Wowbagger realized that his lack of intimate communication over the years was doing wonders to increase his chances of dying alone in the very immediate future. “You may be growing old,” he said desperately, “but you have years left before you’re too old to reproduce.” And there’s number one. Badabingo. Green stick in the green hole.</bq> <bq caption="Page 219">Hyperspace cleared its throat and hawked out a Vogon bureaucruiser into the clear swath of satin space .01 parsecs beyond Nano’s thermosphere. Inside the Business End, three thousand members of the Bureaucratic Corps flopped out of their hypercradles and rubbed the belt dimples from their tummies.</bq> <bq caption="Page 225">If you worked on the outside, as a panel scraper or engine plunger, then it was possible to be driven blind or even mad by its sheer symmetrophobia. Most craft give a nod, however brief and unfriendly, toward beauty. Vogon ships did not nod toward beauty. They pulled on ski masks and mugged beauty in a dark alley. They spat in the eye of beauty and bludgeoned their way through the notions of aesthetics and aerodynamics. Vogon cruisers did not so much travel through space as defile it and toss it aside.</bq> <bq caption="Page 231">Ford appeared on the opposite side of the square and barged through the thrumming crowds, making good use of his sharp elbows. As he drew closer, Arthur recognized the look on his friend’s face. “I don’t believe it,” he said, hurling his ice cream to the ground. “Daddy!” said Random, shocked. “There’s a recycler just there.” Arthur was unrepentant. He stood and stamped on the carton. “It doesn’t matter because I have a feeling this planet is about to be destroyed. Isn’t that right, Ford?” Ford arrived huffing. He was a journalist and unaccustomed to physical exercise.</bq> <bq caption="Page 232">“Okay, Ford,” he said urgently. “What should we do?” The question seemed to puzzle the Betelgeusean. “Do?” “About the Vogons. How do we survive?” “Oh. Yes. That’s what I came here to tell you. Did you see me crossing the square? I was all charged up. Didn’t care who I knocked over.” “We saw you. Now, what do we do? Can we hitch?” Ford laughed. “Are you kidding? The Vogons won’t fall for that again. Even their shields have shields.” “So what then?” “We need to run, quite quickly, to the spaceport. There might still be time to board the Heart of Gold.” “I see something,” said Random, pointing skyward at what looked like a cluster of shooting stars heading their way, descending in synchronized loops through the atmosphere. “Or not,” said Ford. He plucked Random’s ice cream from her fist and licked it slowly, savoring every drop.</bq> <bq caption="Page 263">“So you actually thought your one client was dead?” “Of course not. You can’t kill a god. Even that guy who drove into the white hole is still alive, even if his parts are spread across several dimensions.” “What about that special bomb?” Zaphod snorted. “The QUEST? Who do you think sold that to the Vogons? I’m surprised it didn’t fall out of the sky. I put a lawnmower engine on that thing.” Left Brain was quiet for a moment, except for the clicking of spider-bots gathering condensation on the inner curve of his orb.</bq> <hr> <ft><bq>Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the galaxy lies a small, unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly 92 million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.</bq></ft>