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Author Topic: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, ending of Mostly Harmless *SPOILER WARNING*  (Read 1653 times)
Supernova
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« on: April 03, 2016, 12:55:09 PM »

I had read most of the books years ago but never read Mostly Harmless as I feared the end (I had been told). I finally listened to all of the books including Mostly Harmless in audio-book form and I see a few loose endings.
Firstly Fenchurch - We never actually get to find out what was wrong with her, indeed since she disappeared at the very beginning of Mostly Harmless we never heard from her again. So why was she floating all the time? This was never really answered.

Secondly the fish bowl - In So Long and Thanks for all the Fish, Wonko the sane had alluded to the fact that if they put their ear to their fish bowls they had received, they may hear something they needed to know or find an answer. This however, was never mentioned again.

Thirdly the guide - I assume then that since the guide destructed at the end of the book, the original (proper) guide was also destroyed? Do the Vogons still own it?

Fourthly Zaphod - In one of the earlier books, I forget which, we are told Zaphod and Trillian have kids and are living on a planet somewhere, so why in Mostly Harmless does Trillian say she couldn't have kids with Zaphod as he was a difference species, hence why she had Random?

Since initially Adams had intended this to be the final book, (although he alluded to regretting the ending later and suggested there may be a book 6) there seems to be a lot which went unanswered, so I'm wondering if I just missed the answers, had forgotten a page or two or just completely missed the point.

Any thoughts?
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eytanz
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« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2016, 04:33:56 PM »

My understanding is that Mostly Harmless was written at a time in which Adams was feeling very negative towards the series and its fans. I think he simply didn't mind retconning some of the plot points, such as Trillian/Zaphod, and leaving other threads without closure, such as Fenchurch.
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Fenrix
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« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2016, 11:01:30 PM »

Yeah, internal consistency was already a bit wonky. In Mostly Harmless there was no attempt at in maintaining a semblance of consistency.

The only thing I appreciate the book for was the biting satire of the cyberpunk genre which was burgeoning at the time it was published. I just wish he took those parts and wrote something that was not a Hitchhiker book. A Dirk Gently cyberpunk novel would be pretty keen.
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Supernova
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« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2016, 08:12:48 AM »

Yes, a Dirk Gently cyberpunk novel would have been perfect !

I didn't know he was feeling negative towards the series, that's interesting. I did know he had later said he regretted the ending and had written the book in a what had been a 'bad year'. I know he planned on a sixth book, which was going to be a Dirk Gently until he decided it fitted better as a Hitchhikers novel. Such a shame it never came to be. I do plan on reading the new one, "and another thing" written by Eoin Colfer. I know some fans have a problem with a book which is not written by Adams but personally I don't see the issue. Adams also wrote for Doctor Who for example, but no one complains that it has had countless authors since it's creation in 1963. Why not let other authors have a go. Anyway I digress...

I actually quite liked a lot of Mostly Harmless, I loved the sandwich making with the perfectly normal beasts and Arthur's time spent on Lamuella.  Just annoying how badly it all ended with so many loose ends.
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stePH
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« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2016, 04:13:39 PM »

I like to call that book Mostly Worthless.

And its predecessor So Long and Thanks for All the Money.
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Fenrix
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« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2016, 06:59:00 AM »


I like to call that book Mostly Worthless.

And its predecessor So Long and Thanks for All the Money.


I don't entirely agree with that.

I didn't get this one as a kid and felt it incredibly weak. I recently hunted down a copy of a Hitchhiker collection with just the first three for my niece. It's not easy to find a collection without the last two.

However, coming back to So Long and Thanks for All the Fish older and wiser [sic] I appreciate this now as Arthur Dent's absurdist existential crisis. This one's got a lot of heart and is worth reading, but not until you're over 30.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2016, 07:11:04 PM by Fenrix » Logged

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Supernova
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« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2016, 02:06:01 PM »

Just finished the final book "and another thing" by  Eoin Colfer and am pleased to say I really, really enjoyed it. It ties up so many things and really feels like a proper final installment. He has finished the series on a slightly more upbeat note as Adams said he had wanted before he died. I actually think this book is stronger than So long and Mostly Harmless and I can't think of a better author to have finished the series, apart from Adams himself of course ! I feel much more positive about the whole series now thanks to Colfer.

@ Fenrix I'm nearly in to my forties and still hated the ending of Mostly Harmless. Worth noting Adams himself hated it, regretted writing it and put it down to having a bad year. I do agree though that there are some fun and enjoyable bits in Mostly Harmless, and I did enjoy the book until the end, much more than So Long and thanks for all the fish, which I did find rather weak.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2016, 02:47:56 PM by Supernova » Logged
Fenrix
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« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2016, 07:12:26 PM »

Just finished the final book "and another thing" by  Eoin Colfer and am pleased to say I really, really enjoyed it. It ties up so many things and really feels like a proper final installment. He has finished the series on a slightly more upbeat note as Adams said he had wanted before he died. I actually think this book is stronger than So long and Mostly Harmless and I can't think of a better author to have finished the series, apart from Adams himself of course ! I feel much more positive about the whole series now thanks to Colfer.

@ Fenrix I'm nearly in to my forties and still hated the ending of Mostly Harmless. Worth noting Adams himself hated it, regretted writing it and put it down to having a bad year. I do agree though that there are some fun and enjoyable bits in Mostly Harmless, and I did enjoy the book until the end, much more than So Long and thanks for all the fish, which I did find rather weak.

Thanks for the recommendation. i also went back and made sure my comments about it being better with (the readers) age related just to So Long and Thanks for All the Fish.
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jrderego
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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2016, 09:03:12 PM »

I remember liking Mostly Harmless more than So Long and Thanks for all the Fish, though i have never felt the need to go back and read either of them. I read Mostly Harmless when it came out, back when I was in college (in the time, when dinosaurs roamed the Eaarrrthhhh...) and we had a waiting list for the book as the school library only bought one copy. We all signed a pledge not to talk about it until everyone who wanted to read it, had a chance to read it.

The Perfectly Normal Beast segments are all I really remember, and how funny it was that Arthur's daughter's name was a Random.

All I remember from So Long and thanks for all the Fish is that it inspired the title of a good Fish album, "Rain Gods with Zippos" and the end of it was so weird and funny with the last message that it always stuck with me. That book may have been my introduction to nihilism now that I think about it.
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Supernova
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« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2016, 05:21:52 PM »

@jrderego The Perfectly Normal Beasts are my favourite thing in Mostly Harmless, I love them for some reason, the phrase just makes me smile every time Smiley Mostly Harmless I preferred over So Long and Thanks for all the Fish too, apart from the bleak ending and other loose ends in the story Adams appeared to forget about. I know it's absurd to say something is too silly in an absurd universe which Adams created, but I found all the flying scenes in 'So long' just too far fetched. Just seemed a bit too silly. Just wanted to say also, I love your Union Dues stuff, exceptional writing and stories, big fan Smiley

@Fenrix I really do recommend the latest 'and another thing', a really enjoyable read and I laughed out loud at quite a few times. I do get what you're saying now I realise you are mainly talking about 'so long', I just felt the flying stuff over the top, as Ive already said. There were some potentially interesting things in the book, for example Wonko the Sane and his ideas, and the whole fish bowl thing, but it just seemed to then be totally forgotten by Adams later on.

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