FSFH Book Review

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Abnett, Dan
Adams, Douglas
Aguirre-Sacasa, Roberto
Allen, Roger MacBride
Allie, Scott
Allston, Aaron
Anderson, Kevin J.
Barclay, James
Barnes, Steven
Baum, L. Frank
Bear, Greg
Bendis, Brian Michael
Bischoff, David
Bisson, Terry
Blackman, Haden
Bova, Ben
Bowen, Carl
Brooks, Terry
Canavan, Trudi
Card, Orson Scott
Chadwick, Paul
Clarke, Arthur C.
Clarke, Susanna
Clemens, James
Collins, Paul
Crichton, Michael
Crispin, A. C.
Cunningham, Elaine
Daley, Brian
David, Peter
DeMatteis, J. M.
Denning, Troy
Dick, Philip K.
Dickens, Charles
Dietz, William C.
Dixon, Chuck
Donaldson, Stephen
Eddings, David
Edginton, Ian
Elrod, P. N.
Erikson, Steven
Feist, Raymond E.
Foster, Alan Dean
Fraction, Matt
Furman, Simon
Gaiman, Neil
Gemmell, David A.
Gerber, Michael
Gibbons, Dave
Golden, Christopher
Goodkind, Terry
Goodwin, Archie
Graham, Mitchell
Grant, Alan
Green, Jonathan
Green, Laurence
Guggenheim, Marc
Hagberg, David
Hambly, Barbara
Hamilton, Laurell K.
Hand, Elizabeth
Harras, Bob
Harrison, Mick
Heinlein, Robert A.
Herbert, Frank
Herbert, James
Hine, David
Hobb, Robin
Howard, Robert E.
Jacques, Brian
James, Charlie Hamilton
Jenkins, Paul
Jeter, K. W.
Johns, Geoff
Jones, J. V.
Jordan, Robert
Jurgens, Dan
Karpyshyn, Drew
Kennedy, Mike
Kerr, Katharine
Keyes, Greg
King, Stephen
King, William
Knaak, Richard A.
Kube-McDowell, Michael P.
Lawhead, Stephen
Layman, John
Le Guin, Ursula K.
Lewis, C. S.
Lieberman, A. J.
Loeb, Jeph
Lorey, Dean
Lowder, James
Luceno, James
Lumley, Brian
Macan, Darko
Manning, Russ
Martin, George R. R.
Marz, Ron
Matheson, Richard
McCaffrey, Anne
McIntosh, Neil
McIntyre, Vonda
Michelinie, David
Millar, Mark
Miller, John Jackson
Miller, Karen
Milligan, Peter
Moench, Doug
Moesta, Rebecca
Moore, Alan
Nicholls, Stan
Nicieza, Fabian
Nylund, Eric
O'Neil, Dennis
Ostrander, John
Paolini, Christopher
Perry, S. D.
Perry, Steve
Pratchett, Terry
Pullman, Philip
Quinn, David
Reaves, Michael
Reed, A. W.
Reed, Brian
Rice, Anne
Richardson, Nancy
Roberts, Adam
Rowe, Matthew
Rowling, J. K.
Rubio, Kevin
Rusch, Kristine Kathryn
Salvatore, R.A.
Shelley, Mary
Shultz, Mark
Simone, Gail
Simonson, Louise
Simonson, Walter
Smith, L. Neil
Spurrier, Simon
Stackpole, Michael A.
Stevenson, Robert Louis
Stewart, Sean
Stoker, Bram
Stover, Matthew
Straczynski, J. Michael
Stradley, Randy
Strnad, Jan
Sutcliff, Rosemary
Tolkien, J.R.R.
Traviss, Karen
Truman, Tim
Turtledove, Harry
Tyers, Kathy
van Belkom, Edo
Veitch, Tom
Wagner, John
Watson, Jude
Whitman, John
Williams, Sean
Williams, Tad
Williams, Walter Jon
Windham, Ryder
Wolverton, Dave
Woodring, Jim
Wurts, Janny
Yeovil, Jack
Zahn, Timothy
Collaborations A - F
Collaborations G - M
Collaborations N - R
Collaborations S
Collaborations T - Z
Anthologies A - R
Anthologies S
Anthologies T - Z
Still to come
Reviewing Literature
The Books of Douglas Adams

Douglas Adams was born in Cambridge and, after laying in a field staring drunkenly at the stars one night, created the multimedia comedy sensation that was 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy'.  He later lived in Santa Barbara with his family, where he died suddenly in May 2001.
Average Review Score: 4.2 out of 5 (5 books)

The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy
Where the legend started.  Arthur Dent is the quintessential Englishman; he can deal with any crisis provided he's allowed three things, 1) the freedom to complain, 2) the freedom to be bewildered and 3) access to a nice cup of tea.  There are so many hilarious moments in this book that I couldn't possibly convey a fraction of it's wittiness here, but phrases like 'the great yellow spaceships hung in the air in exactly the same way that bricks don't' give you some idea.  The comic concepts flow like water as Earth is demolished to build a bypass, a spaceship engine is invented that suspends probability allowing the ship to travel at astonishingly improbable speeds and a spontaneously created bowl of petunias has only time to think 'Oh no, not again' before it is destroyed.  You will literally laugh out loud and unlike Terry Pratchett (who has a similar talent for humourous concept), Adams' prose flows and is easy to read and through it all, the Guide enlightens us about everything from Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters to Vogon grandmothers.
5 out of 5
'Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral Arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.'
The Resaurant At The End Of The Universe
The second book in the Hitch-Hiker series begins with the companions of the first book enjoying a meal at the only restaurant that offers excellent views of the end of the universe.  When they steal a ship and leave however, they soon realise that they chose the wrong vehicle.  Further on in the story we are introduced to a band of intergalactic travellers who are on their way to a new world, only they're all middle-men, beauraucrats, hairdressers and the like, who've been unknowingly tricked into leaving their homeworld by the people who actually do worthwhile jobs.  It is this sorry band, along with Arthur and Ford, who establish the first human colony on a world named Earth.  Although not quite up to the first book's standards, this one is still a delightfully funny read and contains the most brilliant concept ever; (as we all know) the answer to the great question about life, the universe and everything is 42, but in this book Arthur discovers that the question is wrong!
5 out of 5
'There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.'
Life, The Universe And Everything
The third Hitch-Hiker novel.  An ancient intergalactic war launched by the genocidal people of Krikket is all but forgotten, remembered on Earth only but a rather boring sport ("The bit where the ball hits the wickets is especially bad taste.").  However, the Krikket's are stirring once more and only a few people stand in their way; Arthur, Ford, Zaphod, Trillian, Marvin and Slartibartfast.  The story of this book is less inspiring than the previous volumes and, although a clever idea I'm sure, I found the Bistromathics scenes really tiresome.  However, there are some more brilliant moments of Adams genius to be had, such as when Marvin depresses a robot army to death and the reaction of the Krikkets when they first see the rest of the galaxy ("Dear me, no.  It'll have to go.").
4 out of 5
'The regular early morning yell of horror was the sound of Arthur Dent waking up and suddenly remembering where he was.'
So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish
Humourously billed as 'The fourth book in the increasingly inaccurately named Hitch-Hiker Trilogy'.  Arthur Dent is surprised to find himself on Earth (his surprise stemming from that fact that the planet was destroyed by Vogons), where he meets and falls in love with a woman named Fenchurch, who also has a slightly skewed worldview.  In relation to the previous books in the series, this one is fairly mundane, being set mostly on Earth and without much really going on.  There are some very funny moments (God's Final Message To His Creation is brilliant) but in general the book isn't as good as the others, largely owing to the significant shortfall in witicisms from the Guide itself.  The reason for Earth being back is a big disappointment and the appearance of everyone's favourite miserable robot seems to have been thrown in at the last minute.
3 out of 5
'Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral Arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.'
Mostly Harmless
The final book of the Hitch-hiker series.  Arthur is given two new and vastly confusing things to deal with in this book; the first is Parallel Universes and the second (surprisingly - particularly for him) is fatherhood.  Meanwhile Ford Prefect is causing havoc in the publishing offices of the Guide as it is taken over by a big corporation and begins development of a sinister new version of the guide.  Adams manages to recapture some of the comic magic of the first two books here, particularly in his rather scathing appraisal of New York (and the creatures that live in the lower intestines of rats).  The relationship between Arthur and Random makes for some genuinely emotional reading too.  Other great elements include the vast herds of Perfectly Normal Beasts, the boghogs which communicate by biting your thighs, Thrashbarg's deep spiritual insights and a rather satisfied Vogon who gets to see his work (began in the first book) come to fruition.  There is one thing, however, which really pissed me off about this book.  Fenchurch, whose relationship with Arthur was good reading, is immediately removed from the story completely with about two lines of explanation.  It's even worse than the reason for Earth's return in the previous book; which also raises the question what happened to that Earth?  In this book they have to go to an alternate reality to get to Earth.  Annoying.
4 out of 5
'Anything that happens, happens.'

If you enjoyed Adams:
I would definitely recommend the works of Terry Pratchett, who shares Adams' hilariously oblique way of looking at the world and the cliches of the Fantasy/SF genre.

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