The Salmon of Doubt

5 Ratings: 1.2
The Salmon of Doubt is a unfinished book by Douglas Adams

 The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time is a posthumous collection of previously unpublished material byDouglas Adams. It consists largely of essays about technology and life experiences, but its major selling point is the … see full wiki

Author: Douglas Adams
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Publisher: Ingram Pub Services
Date Published: January 01, 2006
1 review about The Salmon of Doubt

Adams exposed

  • Nov 30, 2003
The Salmon of Doubt is an awful book. You do have to feel a little sorry for Douglas Adams since, being dead, he didn't have much say in its publication, and at least half of the material comprises an unedited (one hopes) early draft for a new Dirk Gently novel, but ultimately he's to blame him for it; he, and no-one else, wrote every word, and with the notable exception of a couple of articles, pretty much every word is dire.

Douglas Adams wasn't a born novelist, after all - he was a radio producer, scriptwriter and general gadfly about town whose enormous, but accidental, success with the radio show The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy obliged him to become a novelist.

As a novelist, he certainly had some nice ideas, a keen eye for social observation, and an idiosyncratic - definitely witty - turn of phrase which sustained itself for the 120 odd pages of the penguin paperback, but had thoroughly worn out its welcome by the end of the second instalment. And there it really all should have ended.

Instead Adams was compelled (no doubt for financial reasons) to promulgate further, increasingly smug and vapid, instalments of the Hitch-Hiker's series, two fully fledged Dirk Gently novels (again, the idea was good, execution irritating as hell), and with each the sense grew that Adams spent far too much time engineering clever-clogs grammatical constructions, and not nearly enough time concentrating on the novel he was trying to write. Instead of murdering his own darlings, Adams smothers the readers with them instead.

Thereafter, career as a novelist seemed to die off, to be succeeded by a unremarkable career of op-ed pieces for broadsheets and computer magazines, together with creation of various pieces of software and computer games. These were the lofty heights attained by such an apparently gifted writer.

This posthumously published book anthologises the post Dirk Gently aspect of his career. I can save those of you who have not caught up with Douglas Adams since Zaphod Beeblebrox a few wasted hours here: You've not missed much.

Just two pieces are worth the paper they're written on; one is a plea for a new global standard universal AC adapter for all electrical appliances, the other is a lengthy ex tempore speech in which Adams, without recourse to his irritating brand of wit, sets out his extremely convincing, well-composed views on religion and atheism. Given my views on his textual over-engineering, I think it is no accident that this piece, which stands head and shoulders above anything else in this book, was spoken on the hoof, apparently without notes.

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