The Salmon Of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time – Douglas Adams with Peter Guzzardi

January 7, 2005

I really miss Douglas Adams. It has been nearly four years since he died suddenly (at the time of this writing) and I have finally had the courage to read Salmon of Doubt – Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time. As long as I didn’t read it then I could deceive myself that there was still more of his writings to discover; kind of putting off the realization that he was truly gone.

Mind you, I never met him in person. In fact, I had read the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and the rest of the trilogy (before that label didn’t fit) a couple of times before I realized that what I was reading was just brilliant. It was a great story, but hidden under the layer of the story was a commentary and satire on human society that was biting and loving at the same time. In my defense, I did read them when I was rather young and naive; now I’m just old and naive. More adventures of Arthur Dent and company and then wham! Dirk Gently explodes onto the scene! Outstanding.

One of my cherished hardcovers is a first edition of Last Chance to See by Douglas and Mark Carwardine, chronicling the possibly last glimpses of fascinating animals nearing extinction. The view of these animals is wonderful but it is his commentary that brings this journey to life. Here is a glimpse into the mind of Douglas Adams and I was startled to discover just how wonderful a place it must be.

Anyway, Salmon of Doubt is a collection of unpublished works, newspaper articles, biography and other items that sketch an outline of Mr. Adams. There are excerpts from Last Chance To See, which he had professed to be his favorite work. His first published item is there as well, a letter to a magazine when he was but a lad.

The book is organized around the title of one of his novels, Life, The Universe and Everything. I didn’t read it in a single sitting, as I’ve a habit of doing. Instead, I read a story or two at a time and then set it down, picking it up again later in the day for a helping or even the next day. I found myself going back and reading bits because they amused me or were insightful; sometimes just because it felt right.

If you are looking for a critique of the book, well, this is the wrong place. However, if you have even remotely enjoyed any of his books, I suggest you at least check this out from your local library and give it a whirl. Set it in the bathroom, put it in the car for lunch breaks and see if you don’t enjoy it. I dare you.

“Everyone, meet under Adams.”


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