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And Another Thing is the sixth book in the increasingly inaccurately-named The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy trilogy. It's notable for being the first installment of the series not written by its creator, Douglas Adams, but by Eoin Colfer[1], author of the Artemis Fowl series (not counting Starship Titanic, a tie-in novel written by Terry Jones of Monty Python fame). The book was released on October 12, 2009, to coincide with the thirtieth anniversary of the first book's original publication. Its storyline follows directly from where the fifth book, Mostly Harmless, left off.

Seconds before the Grebulons (the clueless, would-be alien invaders from Mostly Harmless) demolish the alternate-universe Earth as part of a crafty gambit set up by the Vogons over the course of the previous books, our protagonists (Arthur Dent, his daughter Random, her mother Trillian Astra, and their friend Ford Prefect) are given one last shot at self-preservation by the Guide Mk. II, who abandoned Vogon Jeltz's side to fulfill Random's dying wish.

Almost at once, the gang is rescued by Galactic President Zaphod Beeblebrox, who, apparently, had been up to some very funny business since his last appearance. Now endebted to Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged, an aeons-old immortal, the President embarks on a quest to meet with the Nordic thunder-god Thor to fulfill his part of a very odd bargain. Meanwhile, Arthur Dent is elated, and the Vogons are very displeased, to find that the human species may yet live on, in the depths of a faraway dark nebula... (bohm bohm bohhhhm!!)

Features a guest appearance by Cthulhu. It all makes sense in context.


This book includes examples of:

  • All Girls Like Ponies: Random's version of their rescue from Club Beta involved unicorns.
  • All the Myriad Ways: Except for "our" versions, every single Arthur, Ford and Trilian in the multiverse is killed, apparently out of sheer spite on the part of the multiverse itself. Many of these are also Necro Non Sequiturs.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Arthur, sucked into a wormhole just as Fenchurch did between books four and five, finds himself stranded on an island very similar to the one he'd fantasized about in the Guide Mk. II's Lotus Eater Machine. It's a place of absolute peace... until he's made aware that the Vogons are on their way. Made even more bittersweet by the fact that the story is now almost certainly over. Unless you thought it was funny.
    • And made even worse when one considers that (A) this happened just seconds after Fenchurch appeared right beside him, talking as if they'd never been separated and (B) EVERYONE ELSE got a happy ending. Trillian, Wowbagger, Ford, Zaphod, Random Dent, Thor, the people of Nano, even Agrajag, even the friggin' Vogons. It seems like the Universe just hates Arthur.
      • In one book the universe was actually explicitly stated to hate Arthur.
    • Made even worse than that when you remember that Douglas Adams was going to have a happy ending in book six (Before the Trope-Naming Author Existence Failure)
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Thor.
  • Broad Strokes: Since the book it follows on from was largely set on an alternate Earth, and established that Earthers jump parallel universe at random, it probably makes sense to Retcon Fenchurch's Earth as being one of these, rather than getting into all the stuff about the dolphins.
  • Continuity Nod / Mythology Gag: Colfer makes numerous references to people and places that Adams originally used as one-off jokes in previous books and adaptations.
    • The most significant of these is Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged, who becomes a major character in this book after only appearing in three scenes of Life, the Universe, and Everything.
      • And making an appearance in The Salmon of Doubt.
      • Thor only had one scene in LTUAE.
      • He first appeared in a brief cameo at The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy, but Adams had already written an entire Dirk Gently novel about Thor, so was it really necessary for Colfer to feature Thor again?
      • Clearly, these are two different Thors. In The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul, Thor is physically intimidating, but his personality is faily mild and non-confrontational; he even forms a childlike friendship with Kate. The Thor featured in the Hitchhiker book is an arrogant, boisterous braggart who never passes up a chance to demonstrate his machismo. Really, as a god, he could be interpreted in many different ways, even in the same world as in American Gods (assuming the theory about Ford in The Salmon of Doubt is correct). Just look at our guy.
  • Froody Ship: The Tanngrisnir.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Hillman Hunter. Not corrupt, per se, so much as sleazy. Bonus points for having created a phony space alien-related religion that is totally not Scientology.
    • Could be argued it was more like the Heaven's Gate cult. The whole "being taken away by aliens in a spaceship" thing.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Zaphod. He's genuinely stupid, but it turns out he manipulated a good amount of the events in the book.
  • Death of the Old Gods: Cthulhu applies for the job as a new world's god but he can't close the deal because, since nobody is currently worshiping him, he's technically dead.
  • Death Seeker: The main reason for Wowbagger's actions.
  • De-Power Thor knocks the immortality out of Wowbagger during their big showdown.
  • Deus Ex Machina: Thor.
  • Did You Just Turn Down A Job Application From Cthulhu?
  • Discontinuity Nod: The beginning of the book to the ending of the radio series.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Tricia and the Guide Mk. II.
    • The second one may count as a Continuity Nod as the Guide Mk. II spontaneously disappeared from existence at the end of Mostly Harmless, meaning that it was Doomed by Canon in a sense.
  • Dub Induced Plot Hole: The American printing of And Another Thing... retains the original text that says Wowbagger had previously called Arthur a jerk and a complete arsehole, even though the American edition of Life, the Universe and Everything had replaced "arsehole" with "kneebiter". Later American releases of the book seem to be unedited in this regard, so it depends on how recent the copy they read was.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Zaphod once does this to himself.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Bowerick "Bow" Wowbagger.
  • Goth: What Colfer unfortunately identifies Random as, when he really should have said Emo Teen.
  • Jerkass Realization: Random gets a rather heavy-handed one towards the end.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: Constant Mown, the free-spirited, paperwork-hating, protocol-neglecting son of Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz.
  • Inherently Funny Words: Instead of inventing inherently funny words the way Adams usually did, Colfer often uses funny-sounding real words and takes them out of context. One example is zenzizenzizenzic, an archaic mathematical term meaning "raised to the 8th power".
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the prologue, Colfer says that if you type "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" into The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, an icon will tell you that there are three results, which is confusing because there are clearly five listed below it. Get it? The five books of the Hitchhiker's Guide trilogy! Fridge Brilliance-tastic!
    • It gets better: "Each of these five results is a lengthy article accompanied by many hours of video and audio files and some dramatic reconstructions featuring quite well-known actors."
      • Which makes the description of the text-only appendix you will find at the bottom of the page, "with absolutely no audio and not so much as a frame of video shot by a student director who made the whole thing in his bedroom and paid his drama soc. mates with sandwiches", (ending "this is the story of that appendix") Self-Deprecation.
    • When the Guide Mk II displays "neon stick figures" to explain the plot, this might be a reference to the excellent hand-drawn "computer graphics" of the TV series.
    • "That's like fictional hero lucky."
  • Lotus Eater Machine: The state of virtual reality the Guide Mk II keeps Arthur, Ford, Trillian, and Random in, as a compromise between the conflicting orders it received from Random and Jeltz. All four of them are given chances to live out long, pleasant lives within a virtual universe, while virtually no time passes in the real world, to compensate for their real lives coming to such an unsatisfying and premature end. This serves as a handy excuse for any personality changes the characters undergo due to the new author.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Inverted: the dragons guarding Asgard are ordered to kill Zaphod accidentally but make it look like a murder in order to make his death particularly confusing.
    • Almost played straight - but averted at the last moment when Mown manages to talk Jeltz out of destroying Nano. Thor was seconds away from smiting the bureaucruiser (and making it like debris from the earlier attack did it) when they jumped to hyperspace.
  • Mortality Ensues: Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged wants to die, but can't because he's been made immortal against his will. At the end he become de-immortalized, so he will eventually die. Close enough.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Constant Mown, a Vogon with a conscience and a sense of aesthetics.
  • Oireland: Subverted with Hillman Hunter, who, as the consummate salesman, intentionally plays up every last nostalgic Irish stereotype imaginable in order to earn his clients' trust. He even bases his act on Barry Fitzgerald's character from The Quiet Man. Jaysus an' Begorrah.
    • Write Who You Know: Colfer, who is Irish, creates the first Irish character to appear in the Hitchhiker's series.
  • Outlived Its Creator
  • Punny Name: A Hillman Hunter is a 1960s British car. There is, of course, precident for H2G2 characters being named after vintage British cars.
    • Also, "Aseed Preflux" sounds like "acid reflux".
      • "Constant Mown" is quite a lot like "Constant Moan"
  • Rubber Forehead Alien: The alternate universe Fenchurch whom Arthur very briefly sees at the end.
  • Sequel Hook: Colfer marks the end of the book as "The end of one of the middles."
    • It's a semi-meaningful gag. Earlier in the book, when talking about endings, there's a quote that says "there is no such thing as an ending, or a beginning for that matter, everything is middle". It was a bit of Fridge Brilliance for this troper.
  • Slap Slap Kiss: Or in Trilian and Wowbagger's case - "Snark Snark Kiss."
  • Snicket Warning Label: Stop reading at the Title Drop.
  • There Is Another: Nano.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: A Mr. A. Grajag is mentioned at the end of the book as having won the lottery, marrying his childhood sweetheart, and having two well-adjusted children.
  • Title Drop: Fenchurch's only words.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Wowbagger. Eventually averted, when he gets cured of his immortality without being killed outright, giving him a chance to spend his short-ish life with Trillian.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Fridge Logic reveals Zaphod of all people set one up by effectively arming both sides in the human-Vogon conflict, one with a god and the other with a god-destroying weapon. In the end Thor's faked suicide enables them to keep the business of both (remaining Thor's manager and the Vogons' supplier. This may have been unintentional.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Arthur. His daughter loves him, he's got a peaceful life, the Vogons have been staved off, and he's briefly reunited with a version of Fenchurch...before he's sucked away in hyperspace and stuck on a beach just as the Vogons are arriving.

Notes

  1. although it's very difficult to tell at times and painfully easy at others
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