The Salmon of Doubt

ISBN: 0345460952
ISBN 13: 9780345460950
By: Douglas Adams Terry Jones

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About this book

Douglas Adams changed the face of science fiction (to a uniquely and irresistible funny one) with his cosmically comic novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the x, and its classic sequels. Sadly for his countless admirers, he hitched his own ride to the great beyond much too soon. But for anyone who ever laughed out loud at the absurdist adventures of Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect, chuckled knowingly at the daffy definitions in The Meaning of Liff, or experienced the wonders of encountering endangered species in Last Chance to See, here's a wonderful opportunity to revel in the droll wit, off-the-wall humor, and keenly inquiring mind of Douglas Adams just one more time.Culled posthumously from Adams's fleet of beloved Macintosh computers, this selection of essays, articles, anecdotes, and stories offers a fascinating and intimate portrait of the multifaceted artist--as a devout Beatles and Bach fan, radical atheist, enthusiastic technophobe, crusading conservationist, and of course delightful wordsmith.Join him on an excursion to climb Kilimanjaro...dressed in a rhino costume; peek into the private life of Genghis Khan--warrior, conqueror, and world-class neurotic; root for the harried author's efforts to get a Hitchhiker movie off the ground in Hollywood; thrill to (and laugh at) the further exploits of private eye Dirk Gently and two-headed alien Zaphod Beeblebrox. In the immortal words of The Hitchhiker's Guide, "Don't panic!"--though our friend Douglas Adams is hone, he's left us something very special to remember him by. Without a doubt.

Reader's Thoughts

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

Maggard

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

Jon

Readers beware: The Salmon of Doubt is not a single novel, but rather a collection of goods pulled from Adams' computer after his death--including a draft of the first few chapters of his next Dirk Gently story (also titled The Salmon of Doubt, thus the larger part of this collection's title). Also enclosed in this volume are a series of short stories, essays, travelogues, and other random snippets, some of which date back over a decade, and most of which have little to do with the next entry, except they were all written by Adams.How, then, to review this book? How does one go about commenting on a collection of miscellanea the author never intended to exist in single-volume form? How does one offer criticism on a draft of an unfinished novel? Indeed, how does one offer any insight into a bricolage of material that, pessimistically, smacks of the publishing industry's frantic attempts to make one last posthumous dollar off of a popular writer?I answer through a personal narrative. Any review ever published is, of course, subjective. This one is more so than even most. There's your grain of salt.My wife bought me this book for my birthday, and I took it with me when I flew home (alone; my wife wasn't able to accompany me) the next week to visit my parents. I read the entire book in one day as I shuffled between airplanes and ticket counters, fast-food stands and uncomfortable plastic seats. Much of what appeared in Salmon... was completely new to me, as I'd somehow never read Adams' shorter works--only his novels. But in short, I was both entranced and maddened: the former at the brilliant intelligence and humor that marble-streaked its way through the pages; the latter at the frustratingly incomplete Dirk Gently novel (imagine if Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had only written the first half of "The Hound of the Baskervilles" before suddenly perishing, or if Shakespeare had never completed "Romeo and Juliet"). I saw in Salmon... sides of Adams both familiar to me, as in his intelligent satire, and unfamiliar, as in the extemporaneous and atheistic speech he delivered at Cambridge, sections of which forced me to close the cover temporarily while I pondered my own thoughts about the nature of God. Most importantly, through all of these scattered scribblings I saw the inner workings of a man who truly, admirably loved life. And as I turned the last page and stared helplessly at the blank sheet before me, and realized that I had just read the last "book" Adams would ever "publish," I was overcome with a sadness so deep and painful that I've never yet been able to even pull Salmon... off of the shelf again, much less read it.Douglas Adams never knew I existed: we never met, exchanged correspondence, or even caught a glimpse of one another in a crowded airport. Yet I consider this man one of my dearest mentors, a man whose writing has shaped the last fifteen years of my life in areas too varied and extensive to number. How then to review a book like this? Simply put, I can't. I'm too close. Even now, five years after the only time I managed to read Salmon..., and six years after Adams' death, I'm too close.Why, then, do I give this book five stars?How could I not?

Nathaniel Chew

tragically interrupted :'(

Ippino

Passata l'iniziale diffidenza verso questo genere di operazioni, che mi sembrano sempre molto commerciali e prive di amore verso gli autori scomparsi, mi sono trovato davanti qualcosa di gradevole e gustoso.La prima metà, saggistica, è buona, con articoli ed aneddoti su vari aspetti dell'ingegno umano e dell'umana condizione, che fanno riflettere, sorridere, interrogarsi. Certo, alcuni sono un pò sottotono, ma tutti hanno il pregio di farci conoscere meglio questo autore, le sue idee ed il suo modo di pensare.La seconda parte contiene un breve racconto dell'universo della Guida Galattica ("Sicuro, sicurissimo, perfettamente sicuro") ed i primi capitoli de "Il salmone del dubbio", nuova avventura del detective olistico Dirk Gently, incompiuta.Questa parte è tanto meravigliosa, nella misura in cui amate questo autore: se la Guida Galattica vi ha lasciati indifferenti, non troverete nulla di interessante. Se Dirk Gently non vi è piaciuto, odierete lo spreco di pagine dedicato alla sua nuova avventura, anche se incompiuta.Ma se viceversa li avete apprezzati, troverete "pane per i vostri denti": storie e personaggi assurdi, stravaganti, a tratti follemente divertenti.Personalmente ho gradito molto la parte saggistica, perchè mostra l'uomo, prima dello scrittore. Un uomo arguto e sagace, raffinato nell'intelletto, dannatamente "british", capace di tratteggiare situazioni ed idiosincrasie del nostro tempo.Viceversa il racconto incompleto di Gently, proprio perchè incompleto lascia l'amaro in bocca.

Tortla

Douglas Adams was a clever, intelligent man. This compilation of his essays, short stories, interviews, and what they could scrounge up of the work-in-progress "The Salmon of Doubt" (unfinished due to his untimely death in 2001) makes for a nice homage to the man. Also, it's amusing to see his name abbreviated to DNA in interviews.

ringoallavaniglia

Potrei scrivere un fiume di parole su quanto apprezzi l'Adams scrittore e l'uomo, quanto condivida le sue idee (a parte sulla Apple, ma se vedesse cosa è diventata credo si schiferebbe anche lui)e su quanto la sua scomparsa mi rattristi molto più di quanto sarebbe lecito aspettarsi. Ma non è il caso.Questo libro raccoglie tante interviste, aneddoti ed idee che raccontano molto su chi era Adams; quindi se avete apprezzato i suoi libri e desiderate scoprire qualcosa su di lui è la lettura giusta.Inoltre contiene la prima bozza incompiuta del nuovo romanzo di Dirk Gently.. e accidenti non saprò mai che cavolo doveva combinare con quel rinoceronte!

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.

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.

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.

Alan

Douglas Adams was brilliant—and it pains me to have to put that in the past tense. His novel-in-progress, The Salmon of Doubt, was cut short by Adams' untimely death in 2001. But this posthumous collection of miscellany from his computer's hard drive, also called The Salmon of Doubt, showcases Adams' brilliance, and is a worthy addition to his canon.There's not much of the planned novel here—just a few chapters, and that's not what impressed me most about this collection anyway. The things that amazed me most about The Salmon of Doubt were: first, the breadth and depth of Adams' interests, as revealed here particularly in his discussions of Last Chance to See, written with Mark Carwardine, a serious attempt to document and, perhaps, even save some of Earth's vanishing species. And, second, the evidence of Adams' prescience when it came to computing and the Internet. Far from being just a comedic writer, the interviews and excerpts included here show clearly that Adams had his finger on the pulse of the Internet, more so than many self-acclaimed pundits and insiders. He foresaw the importance of wirelessness, for example, and the utility of thumbs for texting, well before such things were common knowledge.The Salmon of Doubt isn't a complete novel, and never will be now—and that is tragic. But The Salmon of Doubt is one last amazing glimpse into Adams' mind, and for that I am grateful.

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?

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.

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 :-)

Frank

An enjoyable but utterly pointless book.I'm a huge Douglas Adams fan but sadly this book doesn't deserve his name. It's not that it's filth, or worthless. In fact this is has some lovely moments in the book and that's what gets it 2 stars from me.But the issue is it's a book that shouldn't exist. This should be free on the internet, or some other format. You get a large amount of articles, a few random chapters from a book, a book that no one even knows what series it belongs to exactly, and that's about it. The only author I felt worse about passing was Micheal Crichton, and his posthumous book was an almost finished manuscript, this unfortunately is just the building blocks.The worst book in the world would be one you talk about with the author, read all the chapters out of order, and piecemeal, read a rough draft, read an almost final version, and read the final copy. This is just the second step by itself, and because we all know there won't be a final book, it feels like a hollow last hurrah in my mind. I'll always miss Douglas Adams, but I'll honor him with his classics. Not what probably should have remained unpublished and unnecessary tidbits of his life.

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