Douglas Adams’s Starship Titanic

ISBN: 0345368436
ISBN 13: 9780345368430
By: Terry Jones Douglas Adams

Check Price Now


Comedy Fantasy Fiction Humor Humour Sci Fi Science Fiction Scifi Sf To Read

Reader's Thoughts


I found a audiobook on cassette of this novel in a library book sale. Terry Jones does a fantastic job of narrating it, doing all the voices. While not up to the brilliance of Hitchhikers Guide at its best, this is a lot of fun. I particularly like the red-eyed alien journalist, who is not allowed to use his personal name, so he is just called "the journalist." And inevitably, becomes "The" for short. "The" has a mad passion for the earthling woman lawyer who has been accidentally stranded on the seriously damaged Starship Titanic, upon which a talking mega-bomb is in countdown. The prospect of impending death brings the two together in a frantic lust-fest, after which "The" keeps going on and on, in front of his inamarata's boyfriend, at how marvelously uninhibited human morals the boyfriend's annoyance. Don't know how this book would read, but I recommend the recording highly.

Cheryl in CC NV

Y' know, I honestly don't remember much about this except that I wasn't impressed. I suppose fans of Adams would get more out of it.


I enjoyed it. There was a ring of Hitchhiker's about it but I really just liked it on its own merits. I thought the first few chapters were trying too hard to be Adams & Python but then it turned into more of a Dr Who in his current incarnation, extraordinarily silly but sweet, naughty & fun as well.back cover:At the centre of the galaxy, a vast, unknown civilization is preparing for an event of epic proportions, the launch of the greatest, most gorgeous, most technologically advanced spaceship ever built - the Starship Titanic. An earthling would see the ship as something really, really big, but rather less provincial onlookers would recognize it as the design of Leovinus, the galaxy's most renowned architect. Before the launch Leovinus is having one last little look around and begins to find that things just aren't right; poor workmanship, cybersystems out of control, robots walking into doors. How could this have happened? The Starship Titanic is THE SHIP THAT CANNOT POSSIBLY GO WRONG... While the galaxy's media looks on the following morning, hugely, magnificently, the fabulous ship eases away from the construction dock, picks up speed, sways a little, wobbles a bit, veers wildly and just before it can do untold damage to everything around it, appears to undergo SMEF (Spontaneous Massive Existence Failure). In just ten seconds, the whole, stupendous enterprise is over. And our story has just begun...The Starship Titanic and SMEF first appeared in Douglas Adams' Life, the Universe and Everything. Adams was busy working on the Hitchhiker's graphic computer game so Monty Python's Terry Jones agreed to write this novel to be released at the same time.


This book's concept/authorship tag-team was better on paper than it actually delivered. Part of it might be because I had played the CD rom game on which it is based back in the '90s and much of the story, such as it is, is derived directly from game-play and in-game character interactions with which I was already familiar. Frankly, I thought they were funnier in the game. My opinion might be higher if the gags were new to me. That said, it does have it's amusing bits albeit not nearly as many as one would reasonably expect given the book's pedigree. There were smiles and chuckles and moments of, "oh, cute," but I am hard pressed to remember any good, solid belly-laughs.


I have to say I was kind of disappointed in this book. I absolutely adore my compendium of the Hitchhiker's saga (is saga the right word?), and was hoping that this would be a nice little addition to the world Douglas Adams created in that. Or else that it would be somehow similar to that episode of Doctor Who with Ten, although that's probably because I've been re-watching the series on Netflix.The whole idea of the Starship Titanic was a one-off joke in the Hitchhiker's novels, and so while this book is 250-ish pages, it reads quickly and feels more like a short story. It's predictable and somewhat blasé- the books it's spawned from are hilarious and unexpected, and Starship Titanic feels like a pale mockery of that. One of the big problems is definitely that this book isn't really a "collaboration," despite what the description says. It's Douglas Adams's idea hashed out by someone else. Terry Jones isn't a horrible writer or anything, but he lacks the hilarity, whimsy, and humanity that Adams put into all of his works. But since there are clear echoes of things that are Adams' ideas, the fact that it is written instead by Jones makes it almost feel like a sub-par fanfic. The book is a quick read, and isn't terrible, but don't expect to be wowed by it. It does have its share of good humour and cool scenes, but ultimately it falls far, far short of what you'd expect when you hear the name "Douglas Adams."

C. Patrick Neagle

Douglas Adams passed the writing of this story (based on a throwaway line from one of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books) to Terry Jones because at the time, he was busy working on the video game of the same title. Although Jones does an adequate job, it doesn't reach the level of super-cool/super-clever/super-rolling-in-the-floor-laughing funny that it likely would have reached had Adams penned the tale. That said, there are some very funny bits and some naughty bits, too, so it's worth the read. Just don't expect to be doing any of that rolling about on the linoleum.

LammothДа събереш Дъглас Адамс и Тери Джоунс на едно място е все едно да събереш селитра и сяра, и само малко въглен за писане ти трябва за да получиш експлозивен смехотворен барут. Титаник - звездният кораб" веднага ще влезе в класацията ми за петте най-забавни и несериозни истории, които съм чел. Тя е толкова абсурдна, че е трудно да се опише.Най-гениалният ум във вселената построява най-великолепния кораб. Построяването му предизвиква финансова криза на цяла планета, става жертва на заговор, а в крайна сметка е завършен от неомъжените майки-тийнейджърки. По случайност там попадат трима земляни, а главният мозък на кораба е сериозно повреден....

Marina Dubois

This book can be very hard to read, especially for people who rarley read.It kind of demands that the reader has an imagination beond reason to appriciate it. This is because of the bizarre style of writng the author uses to imitate Douglas Adam's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It is well written but at times a little heavy to read, but mostly it has the same flow as The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.The story is not as twisted as Adam's masterpice, but more realistic even if you must overlook the earthings mild reactions towards the aliens. On the other hand this book is not suppose to be realistic and that is one of the reasons why to read this book. The wierdness and the bizarre fantazy is liebrating.


Take a computer game written by hilarious author Douglas Adams, get Monty Python's Terry Jones to write the novel (naked), and you get...a novel that reads like it was based on a computer game. Some talent shines through, but not worth it for me.

Caroline Berg

I'll be honest, this book is nowhere near as humorous as the computer game. What? You didn't know the game existed? I highly recommend you go and find yourself a copy, get an emulator (the game is old, but not too old) and sit down for some awesome fun. The book only captures a small sliver of the game, and sadly, perhaps because I have played the game too many times, the book just doesn't catch me like the game does. Yes, it is slightly different from the game, and yes, it was written by Terry Jones (of Monty Python) while Douglas Adams was busy writing the game script, but you'd think with that great pedigree it would turn out to have more humor, not less... ah well, I still have it to round out my collection of books by Douglas Adams, and it is worth reading at least once.


I had always thought this book was more of a close collaboration (à la Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens, one of my all-time favourites). However it turns out that Adams spent his time on the computer game of the same name, with Terry Jones writing this novel based on the setting pretty much on his own.So it's somewhat unfair to compare it with other works actually written by DNA. That's fortunate, because it doesn't stand up too well. There are a few great Adams-esque elements - the bomb springs to mind. But much of the book is taken up with unexpected raunchiness and dull relationships.This would probably have been a 2 star review for the book, but it gets bumped up one because I listened to the audiobook version, recorded by Terry Jones himself. He does a great job with that at least, including some hilarious screaming!

Todd Martin

Douglas Adams's Starship Titanic is a book based on a video game of the same name, and was written by Monty Python member Terry Jones. Don't let the fact that there aren't very many Pulitzer Prize winning novels based on video games negatively bias your view of the book. Let the first first few chapters negatively bias your view of the book instead. Then, if you dare, you may continue to plod through the text before thinking to yourself ... I really should have known that basing a book on a video game was a very bad omen. Especially, one written by the least funny Python ... a very bad omen indeed.


I found a copy of Douglas Adams's Starship Titanic at a half-price book store last December, and picked it up. I'd played the related computer game when it came out back in 1997 and was curious to see how (what I remembered of) the storyline played out in book format. The story opens with Leovinus - the genius designer of the Starship Titanic "the ship that cannot possibly go wrong" - taking a last-minute tour of the ship, only to find that some very serious corners were cut in its construction. He tracks down the project manager, who is being pointedly questioned by The Reporter - a struggle ensues, during which the ship suffers from SMEF (Spontaneous Massive Existence Failure); winking out of existence from its launch point, crashing into Earth - where 3 humans board it (and Leovinius apparently disembarks), and winking out again. The ship's artificial intelligence is damaged, there's a sentient bomb aboard, and the original builders are massing outside, ready to take the ship as plunder. Terry Jones does a serviceable job writing from the basic outline of the game that Adams designed - but he just doesn't have the subtle & absurd way with language that we see in Hitchhikers or Dirk Gently. It does make me want to try re-loading & playing the game, however. Overall, I'd rate Starship Titanic as a decent, if light, sci-fi read - and recommend it to Douglas Adams completists.


I went into this book wanting to enjoy it. Well, more than that—I was expecting to enjoy it. After all, it was written by Terry Jones and based on a game by Douglas Adams.What wouldn't there be to enjoy?Spoiler alert: the answer is "A lot."It wasn't good. It was short, though, which does count for something, but it wasn't short enough. It started off promisingly, but a few chapters in, it felt like the story just diverges from the plot of the game. This being said, I've yet to go through the game—it's on the to-do list—so I'm not sure how true this actually is.But it is at this point that it seems like Jones' plot properly kicks in, and it is simply convoluted (well, not actually simply).The complications begin with a love triangle which expands to a love pentagon for the majority of the novel, briefly expands to a hexagon, then back to a pentagon before resolving itself in the way you've been expecting for the past three-quarters of the novel. I use the word "expecting", but what I really mean is that Jones has been nudging you painfully in the ribs, winking at you and whispering in your ear that the main two couples are going to swap partners by the end. Which is what happens.The only really surprising thing here for me was that it didn't happen sooner, or, indeed, before the events of the novel, though there are a few references to partner swapping already happening in the past.There's a sub-plot about insurance fraud which was enjoyable, but wasn't really adequately explored. The character of Leovinus, the ship's creator, was entertaining, yet underused, simply due to the plot keeping him out of the way for a good two-thirds of the novel. And when he returns, he's instantly smitten with Nettie, as is almost every other male character with more than three spoken lines.And right there is one of my main issues with the novel. It's Nettie. She starts off widely regarded as a bimbo and transforms into this genius, ostensibly because she's just hidden her cleverness under a 'dumb blonde' exterior (she's even blonde!). I'm not saying that doesn't happen. It's just annoying how she becomes the only human character capable of rational, non-sexual thought, and is also the one whose physical form is most described. There is a drinking game, I'm sure, to be made out of how many times her breasts are mentioned unnecessarily.Beyond the whole Mary Sue nature of Nettie, there's the tension between the two human females, Lucy and Nettie, and the jealousy of the love dodecahedron. It's tiresome and reads almost as if Jones was trying to outdo Adams' last venture on the Awkward Love Affair scale, So Long and Thanks for All the Fish.Even the writing seems sub-par. Of all people, Terry Jones should have been able to deliver us so much more. At times, the writing slips into a poor emulation of Douglas Adams' (something which Eoin Colfer has since demonstrated can actually be done successfully). Other times, it's simplistic and almost seems written for children (the high level of sexual content really ought to suggest otherwise, though). A hell of a lot of the time, there are far too many exclamation marks in speech and narration alike.I did have high hopes for Starship Titanic when I picked it up as a novel and never read it, and I kept those high hopes up till the day when I bought the e-book and finally read it because I'd lost my physical copy. In the end, though, those hopes were dashed by bosoms, unnecessary love triangles and not enough entertaining science fiction.I was properly disappointed.


The name Terry Jones was so discrete on this novel that I thought I had discovered a book by Adams that I had not read, and bought it home in triumph. Instead, it is a book written by Jones, but thought up by Adams. The obvious problem is I kept wondering who had thought up which bit. Adams was unable to write the story himself because he was working on the computer game Starship Titanic - so he tells us in the preface. I wondered if perhaps his reputed writing block might had had something to do with it. Anyway, I loved it. It has been a long time since I read a book by Adams, and maybe that's a good thing, because I found the book to be very much as I remembered Adams style to be.

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *