Home > Book, Genre, humorous, Review, scifi > Book Review: So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams (Series, #4)

Book Review: So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams (Series, #4)

Dolphins in the sky along with a green glob holding a towel and giving a thumbs up.Summary:
Although the planet Earth definitely blew up, Arthur Dent has found himself back on it again, and not in the prehistoric past like before.  Everything seems about the same, except that the dolphins all have disappeared and apparently there was a mass hallucination of the planet blowing up caused by a CIA experiment.  You’d think this would require all of Arthur’s attention, but instead he’s rather highly focused on a woman named Fenchurch who claims the Earth really did blow up and insists something has felt off ever since.

It’s no secret that one of my favorite comedic books is The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, the second book in this series.  While I felt that the third book suffered a bit, it was still pretty damn funny in my opinion.  I really wish I could say the same about this.

I still enjoy Adams’ writing style.  It’s tongue in cheek, snarky, and self-referencing.  It is a pure pleasure to read.  This still holds true here, but the problem is that it’s just not laugh out loud funny.  Oh, there are bemusing moments, but mostly it’s a case of jokes falling flat.  I think the reason for this is that what makes the books funny is Arthur Dent–average British dude–stuck into the bizarre situations that are the rest of the universe with only the equally bizarre Ford Prefect as a true companion.  Indeed, my favorite bit of this book is when Arthur and Ford are reunited.  Without that Arthur stuck in outerspace element, you wind up with a rather run-of-the-mill, “huh, something odd is going on on planet Earth” book.  It’s cute, but it’s not surprising, and the element of surprise is what makes the rest of the series so funny.

I also wasn’t fond of Adams’ obvious response to the fan question, “Does Arthur ever have sex?!” with the addition of the love interest, Fenchurch.  He may think it is witty to reference this and answer it, but I was disappointed.  I enjoyed wondering if poor Arthur spent 8 years devoid of sex.  It added a certain element of mystery to him.  This whole part felt kind of like a cop-out.

I don’t want to sound like I hated the book, because I didn’t.  When compared to books not written by Adams, it actually holds up quite well.  It’s enjoyable and has some unique scenes.  It’s just, in comparison to the rest of the series, I was left a bit disappointed.  I still plan on finishing reading the series, though.

3 out of 5 stars

Source: PaperBackSwap

Previous Books in Series:
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Life, the Universe, and Everything

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  1. March 30, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    I remember also being disappointed by this one. It just can’t stack up to R@tEotU, which is, imho, one of the all-time great humor books.

    • March 30, 2010 at 5:39 pm

      I sort of wish Adams had just kept each book as sort of another episode of Arthur being stuck in outerspace instead of feeling like he had to have an overarching story. I think it would have helped.

  2. March 30, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    Hmm I think this was the last book I read of this series (my dad doesn’t have the next one but does have the last one or something like that lol) however I really don’t remember it all that well…clearly didn’t make a huge impression. Like you it was amusing but not laugh out loud, I still practically wet myself when I re-read The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy 😀

    • March 30, 2010 at 5:41 pm

      Now I’m even more intrigued to find out if the next book is better but just suffers from a loss of following due to the averageness of this one. Guess we’ll both find out!

  1. June 10, 2010 at 1:33 pm
  2. May 2, 2017 at 5:01 am

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