The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time

ISBN: 1590075617
ISBN 13: 9781590075616
By: Douglas Adams Simon Jones

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About this book

Rescued from the Macintosh of the late Douglas Adams, "The Salmon of Doubt" gives listeners the opportunity to linger and frolic one last time with the uniquely entertaining and richly informed mind of the author. Unabridged. 2 cds.

Reader's Thoughts

Lena

This is a delightful and maddening book. This collection of essays, columns, speech transcripts and random musings was culled from Adams' computers after his tragic death at the age of 49. The collection offers new insight into one of the world's most gifted humorists, and there is both pleasure and education to be had in reading his thoughts on such diverse topics as music, atheism, evolutionary biology, conservation and computers.The last section of the book contains the beginning of an unfinished Dirk Gently novel tentatively titled The Salmon of Doubt. Though Adams was an avowed atheist, the frustration I felt at having this tale end so abruptly was enough to make me wish he's wrong about the afterlife and hope some trance channel will track him down in the ethers so we can all find out just who was sending Mr. Gently those wire transfers and what, exactly, the rhinoceros was doing on the highway to Santa Fe.

Eric Hendrixson

Okay, the three star rating requires an explanation. The idea behind this book was to publish an unfinished novel and a number of Adams' uncollected writings in a collection for the fans. This is not a book for casual readers of Adams but for people who have read everything Adams wrote and want more. It was exactly what I thought I was buying, so why the mediocre rating?There was nothing wrong with the writing. It's Douglas Adams, so the writing was good. My issue was with the collection and editing. There are short stories included in the collection that have already been published elsewhere. I know I read "Young Zaphod Plays it Safe" in the leatherbound "More Than Complete Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." Another problem is the republished interviews in which Adams gives extremely consistent answers to similar questions. I don't fault Adams for this. It makes him very credible, but it makes the book repetitive. This repetition makes it a book useful only to Adams completists. However, I guess this is exactly the audience for whom the book was compiled. Had someone told me this beforehand, I still would have picked up a copy of the book.

Adam Heine

So, this is not my kind of book. The first two-thirds are basically a collection of blog posts, and well...there's a reason I don't buy blog post collection books. This was a birthday present :-) And the last third is a wonderfully written, but ultimately unfinished portion of a Dirk Gently novel which honestly makes me sad because now I'm left hanging. Forever.Adams' writing is hilarious, always. The fiction snippets, in particular, were everything I miss about him, but his "posts" were fun to read, too. The book just didn't stick with me because it's not the kind of blog I would have read: dated technology posts (it's not his fault they're dated, of course) and fingers-in-the-ears atheism. Douglas Adams seems like he was an awesome individual, and I would love to have met him, but clearly there are certain topics he and I would've had to avoid talking about, or else spent a couple of days talking about at great length :-)

Traummachine

3.5 stars:This posthumous release was a fun hodgepodge of Adams material. A lot of it is non-fiction: articles and essays about his work, his love of technology and gadgets, his nose, and more. If I remember right, there are only 2 fiction pieces included: a version of the short "Young Zaphod Plays It Safe" and his incomplete novel The Salmon of Doubt."Young Zaphod Plays It Safe" has been included in several Hitchhiker's collections, but apparently the version here is more explicit about who Adams means at the end. The Salmon of Doubt is obviously a work in progress but still fun and still obviously Adams. He said it felt more like a Hitchhiker story to him and that he planned to rewrite it as one, but I really enjoyed it as a Dirk Gently story too. Like the rest of this collection, the version here is a mishmash.The non-fiction was interesting and fun too. Every word is definitely Adams, even when he's talking about decisions Apple made that he's unhappy with, and personally I enjoyed every minute of it. I take that back, the Editor's Note, Prologue, and Forward were by other folks, but I think the very fact that there was an Editor's Note as well as a Prologue as well as a Forward felt very appropriate for Douglas Adams.He'll definitely be missed.

Maggard

This makes a good case for NOT publishing everything found around the house after an otherwise-brilliant author kicks the bucket.

DDog

This was a fascinating book. It took me forever to read it as I only picked it up a few pages at a time, but that allowed me to savor the enjoyment. I hD never read any of Adams' essays or interviews that I can recall, only the fiction, so it was interesting to get another look at the way he thought. Reading things he wrote about computers in the '90s was especially fun, because we're living a lot of his predictions now. In the end the book has an appropriately unfinished feeling; you don't want it to end, yet it does, on a peculiar note and too soon.

Nick Fagerlund

A kind of poor book which just happens to be filled with awesome. I'd really like a well-organized and indexed collection of all of Douglas Adams' short writings. Round up all the columns and editorials he wrote, the text he did for his websites, everything, and get it all tied up with a bow and some context. Salmon isn't that collection; the writings are just tossed into poorly-defined buckets with no real TOC to speak of (and let us not speak of indexes), and there's no real way to tell what's missing or what's even important. There's some occasional interesting serendipity to be had, but eh.On the other hand, it's Douglas Adams, bringer of joy and wry, good-natured English despair, and even inferior collections of his work are crucial.

stormhawk

A book by Douglas Adams. Well, it's not actually by him, except in the sense that they were words that he wrote, mostly in that order. But he was dead when it was published. Collection of some previously published essays and the fragments of his final novel, which was harvested in bits from filing cabinets and from the hard drive of his computer, including some bits that weren't meant to be seen by the general public, as they were deleted, but someone foolhardily recovered the bits and slapped them back together to make money. Adams died so young that my sense of what is right in the world insists that I cling to a conspiratoratical hope that he was a very shy and private man thrust into too many spotlights because of his fame and having failed at politely asking people to just go away and leave him alone, he had to resort to publishing notices of his death so that he could quietly live on the considerable savings from his books.Come on, haven't you read Christopher Moore and wondered about the possibility?

Katherine Furman

If you love Douglas Adams this book is an absolute must read. It's got some great incite into the man who could make a pot of petunias think to itself, 'Not again.' A large part of my enjoyment was finding out about Adams as a person, and in turn finding out that I've got some stuff in common with him. I mean sure I haven't ridden a stingray like he has or written the funniest books of all time and granted I'm not British, BUT we do make our tea the same way, we're both have the same religious beliefs in our complete lack of having them (did you know atheists have conventions? I didn't), and, well I can't think of another one right now, but we're like peas in a pod. Trust me.Plus he recommends some great authors and tells some hysterical true stories. Damn it, I miss him. As much as you can miss someone you never met anyway, which believe me is a LOT.

MJ Nicholls

A collection of essays, speeches, ramblings unearthed on his hard drive(s), one short story culled from a BBC annual, and the titular unfinished Dirk Gently novel. The essays are breezy and witty, often lacking focus when discussing science and technology, but comprise (realistically) the most readable of his non-fiction output. There are some readers, yours included, who feel Adams spent himself on the Hitchhiker’s books: although the Dirk Gentlys were absurdist romps sutured with awesome logic, they didn’t hang together as novels. The short excerpt from The Salmon of Doubt, however, might prove me wrong: the usual warmth and humour is present, although in nascent form, (the narration even slips from third into first person, a sign of Adams’s dissatisfaction). But all in all, nobody who loves Adams could resist reading this book, despite snoozing through the travel/nature pieces to get to the stuff they want. It’s a pleasing gallimaufry. Savour it, because there is no more.

Buck Ward

The Salmon of Doubt is a collection of Douglas Adams’ writings gleaned from his hard drive by his friends and family and published after his untimely death. If you are an Adams fan, I’m sure you will enjoy this.I heard the audiobook version which started with eulogies from some of his notable friends. Most of the book is essays and musings written in the nineties, some of which are clever and amusing. Adams had a penchant for electronic devices, computers and gizmos and he wrote copiously about such things. Unfortunately they are quite a bit dated, being from two decades ago. He would have loved smart phones and iPads.There are two works of fiction towards the end of the book. The first is an inane story having something to do with spaceship beings and lobsters. (This is the only science fiction in the book, and I use that term advisedly.) The second is The Salmon of Doubt, a story with Adams’ character Dirk Gently, an inept private detective. It wasn’t particularly good.

Michael Sentman

It is unfortunate that there are not more books by Douglas Adams. I would love to be able to read more novels, to be surrounded by his humor, intelligence, and imagination but his works are more spread out between different medias than just books. This book is a collection of mostly random letters, anecdotes, and the beginning of an unfinished novel put together posthumously. Some of the stories are very interesting, lending a perspective into Douglas' life and interests and closes it with a reminder of how brilliant his writing was, even when it was unfinished. The book is quick to read as none of the individual works that comprise this collection are very long and it has its insights and wisdom like his other works. While the book is pervaded by Adam's unmatched wit and humor, finishing the novel left me sad, but only because I know that there is no more to be read.

Jenn

I highly recommend this book for any Douglas Adams lover!This book is an amalgam of several of Douglas Adams works, including letters and article he wrote during his lifetime. Made me nostalgic for what could have been if he had lived longer and gave us more.

Melissa Diaz

Published upon his death The Salmon of Doubt is Douglas Adams' final work. It is composed of various interviews, speeches, observations, short stories and the beginning of a new Dirk Gently novel. It is a combination of technology, science, fiction and humor. (It is also the title I assumed would be my fiftieth.) I liked the book, but think I would have liked it more had I heeded the advice on the back cover and not read it straight through. There's not enough continuity to make it that kind of book. (Apparently the fact that it's a compilation of items rather than a story was not a big enough clue for me.)Favorite Quotes:"I only knew that the Beatles were the most exciting thing in the universe. It wasn't always an easy view to live with. First you had to fight the Stones fans, which was tricky because they fought dirty and had their knuckles nearer to the ground.""Obviously the Sub Bug wins some points for being portable up to a point. You can take it on a plane, which you wouldn't do with a manta ray, or at least not with a manta ray you liked, and I think that we probably like all manta rays on principle really, don't we?""He moved his horse slowly forward and surveyed the small group of peasant huts that stood huddled together in the centre of the clearing, trying very hard at short notice to look deserted.""There is a particular disdain with which Siamese cats regard you. Anyone who has accidentally walked in on the Queen cleaning her teeth will be familiar with this feeling."Overall Opinion:Unless you're an Adams' fanatic and looking to read everything he ever wrote on any subject then take it slowly. Read something else at the same time and you'll enjoy The Salmon of Doubt more than I did.Rating:6

Mpr

This work is unpolished, unfinished, and it's totally obvious. It cuts off as abruptly as the final piece of Bach (BWV 1080), leaving a vague disappointment and a void that won't ever be filled. I never met Douglas Adams, and I'll never have a chance to, but perhaps one day I'll visit his grave.Douglas Adams was unique in his ability for existential satire. From his portrayal of transgalactic airports to the way Norse gods would act in modern London, all his work shows a delightful talent for combining the surreal and the mundane. He mixes them, like a fancy drink, garnishes it, and offers you one of the most pleasingly different word cocktails that you'll ever taste.The Salmon of Doubt didn't contain this in the same density as his other novels, and perhaps if I were reading it without the necessary context of his writings I would be left confused and underwhelmed. But knowing Adams' oeuvre makes it almost-make-sense, in the way the first cut-off half of an absurdly complicated mystery novel might. I'm rating this five stars regardless of the unpolished writing because of the emotions it instills in me- the guaranteed sadness, the sense that I lost someone important to me before I'd ever even met him.

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