Sunday, 24 February 2013

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish [Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy #4] - Douglas Adams

Title - So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
Author - Douglas Adams

Including everything you wanted to know about the first three books but never thought to ask. "He lost all faith in the straightforward operation of cause and effect the day he got up intending to catch up with some reading and ended up on a prehistoric earth with a man from Betelgeuse and a spaceship-load of alien telephone sanitisers....". Left at the end of Life, The Universe And Everything with the address for God's Final Message To His Creation, Arthur Dent let this crucial information slip his mind. He tries everything to jog his memorymeditation, mind-reading, hitting himself about the head with blunt objects. But none of it works. Of course, as everyone knows, the answer lies in making life flash before your eyes...


Obsession is usually not a good sign, even in my book and reading three books in a row by the same author, in the same series coupled with dreaming about traveling through space with a two headed man rather than a two hearted man, in an old, new, blue, bigger on the inside box is rather worrying. Especially when the chronicler decides to name this adventure ‘’So Long and Thanks for all the Fish’’.

By now I have grown to seriously love Douglas Adams and I was prepared to read whatever crazy adventure he had next therefore when he started with a recap like fashion in which pretty much all the other installments of this book I was not surprised, at least no immediately. However Mr Adams is or rather was indeed a very good at stirring your expectation so wildly out of action that you were unable to trust your own judgment.

This story is about that girl who realised how to make the world happier without anyone getting nailed to a tree unlike two thousand years ago. In fact this girl, who is called Fenchurch because she was conceived in the ticket queue in Fenchurch street station was supposed to have been destroyed by the Vogon ship just as she was supposed to tell the world how to be happy or rather in this version is supposed to be a mad floating woman who figured out that she had lost whatever idea had hit her when the illusion of the Vogon ship had landed on Earth therefore the whole story starts in a terrible mass of confusion in which the Earth was never destroyed and Arthur had only been missing for about six months. 

Confused? Good it gets even better or worse depending on who you are.

Now before I delve into the usual appreciation I must take a breather to explain something that has been bothering me for a whole, although bother might be a bit of a strong word. I am not sure if it is because it was very painful obvious or because I have a very filthy mind is up to your own discretion but I wondered in the eight years Arthur Dent was tossed from one space port to another, not to mention get stuck in prehistoric Earth for five years, whether he had managed to get laid. Perhaps this was not such a very foreign thought as Douglas Adams clearly addressed the audience in saying that it is none of our business. 

When Fenchurch entered the scene it became even more obvious that Arthur Dent had probably remained celibate for the entirety of the journey which explained the way he… reacted towards the girl. When time came for Arthur to finally get laid it was of course in the extravagant Adams fashion, flying on the wings of a boeing 747. A whole new meaning to mile high club, I would think.

Now I am a fan of this pairing, I know most people would say that he should have gotten off with Trillion but somewhere in the past three books I realised that Arthur and Trillion, while they probably made a fairly decent match would not compare to the match made by Trillion and Zaphod, an idea that surprised even me in its painful reality.

This book is drastically different from it's predecessors in the sense that almost the entire book takes place on Earth and there are less mad dashes to and from spaceships but at the same time Adams did what was truly needed of Arthur, he gave him a back bone and even more importantly, he gave him a love story. something that was sorely missing from his life. 

After Arthur had got his rocks off while flying it seems about time to add in odd details about the Dolphins disappearing and meeting a man who was crazier than… well in this book he was just probably just about sane. After several unconnected events where they all end up on a planet I can’t name to see God’s last message to his creation. A very useful message it maybe but again Adams refused to explain why and how the earth was still in one piece, except for several mentions that this might not be the ‘’same Earth’’. 

Helpful Adams. Really Helpful.

So naturally I bloody loved it and feel no guilt in giving it 4 out of 5 stars.

Product Detail
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Pan
Language: English
Author's Website:
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

To be the shameless advertiser - I love this book so much, I made a shit to commemorate it. You can purchase it here on RedBubble and support an artist (that would be me)

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Life, the Universe and Everything [Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy #3] - Douglas Adams

Image result for Life, the Universe and Everything [Title - Life, the Universe and Everything
Author - Douglas Adams

The unhappy inhabitants of planet Krikkit are sick of looking at the night sky above their heads--so they plan to destroy it. The universe, that is. Now only five individuals stand between the white killer robots of Krikkit and their goal of total annihilation.

They are Arthur Dent, a mild-mannered space and time traveller, who tries to learn how to fly by throwing himself at the ground and missing; Ford Prefect, his best friend, who decides to go insane to see if he likes it; Slartibartfast, the indomitable vicepresident of the Campaign for Real Time, who travels in a ship powered by irrational behaviour; Zaphod Beeblebrox, the two-headed, three-armed ex-head honcho of the Universe; and Trillian, the sexy space cadet who is torn between a persistent Thunder God and a very depressed Beeblebrox.

How will it all end? Will it end? Only this stalwart crew knows as they try to avert "universal" Armageddon and save life as we know it--and don't know it!


There is something deeply contradicting about this book. First it made more chronological sense, there was a clear antagonist and an aim to the plot rather than having the characters wonder aimlessly through the galaxy which I am sure is a worthwhile venture. The contradiction emerged when you realise that the fact that there is an aim to the plot does not help the book make any real sense. In fact this book has people throwing themselves at the ground and missing, in other words flying as if by magic and meeting gods in random parties, seriously Thor is in this one. 

To be honest I am not sure about the random moments of Magic which is a statement I thought I would never have to make but part of me believes that the Galaxy as created by Adams is fantastic enough without magical involvements, not that I would say that if I ever met Thor in a party.

In this book the four who have been split apart more and more throughout this installment have to save the galaxy, a slightly typical aim for any hero of a story with added exaggeration from Mr Adams of course which really does make all the deference. The gang have to save the galaxy from some ‘’charming, delightful, intelligent, whimsical, manic xenophobes’’ who have been sealed in a time envelop for obvious reasons whose robots are out to open the said envelop to release their master and with it the total destruction of the galaxy.

As I have mentioned before the characters have been split up a lot in this book. At the start of the story Arthur and Ford are stuck in prehistoric Earth while Trillian and Zaphod are somewhere in space suffering through Zaphod’s lack of aim in life. While this created some interesting moments in which Arthur made intelligent comments and acted more like his own man rather than a dumb struck Neanderthal from Essex however the group dynamic did suffer over this. There was no fun over Arthur’s or Marvin’s expense, at least not enough to satisfy me. However it should be mentioned that I devoured this book in less than a day therefore I must have enjoyed it immensely.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. 

Product Detail
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Pan
Language: English
Author's Website:

To be the shameless advertiser - I love this book so much, I made a shit to commemorate it. You can purchase it here on RedBubble and support an artist (that would be me)

Friday, 22 February 2013

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe [Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy #2] - Douglas Adams

Title -  The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Author - Douglas Adams

Facing annihilation at the hands of the warlike Vogons is a curious time to have a craving for tea. It could only happen to the cosmically displaced Arthur Dent and his curious comrades in arms as they hurtle across space powered by pure improbability--and desperately in search of a place to eat.

Among Arthur's motley shipmates are Ford Prefect, a long time friend and expert contributor to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; Zaphod Beeblebrox, the three-armed, two-headed ex-president of the galaxy; Tricia McMillan, a fellow Earth refugee who's gone native (her name is Trillian now); and Marvin, the moody android who suffers nothing and no one very gladly. Their destination? The ultimate hot spot for an evening of apocalyptic entertainment and fine dining, where the food (literally) speaks for itself.

Will they make it? The answer: hard to say. But bear in mind that the Hitchhiker's Guide deleted the term "Future Perfect" from its pages, since it was discovered not to be!

I am not usually in the habit of reading series so close together, I find I need to wait weeks if not months to work up the same enthusiasm as I originally did for the book however it seems few authors defy expectation, Douglas Adams included.

I read this book in less than a day and I'm well on my way to finishing the next book in the series, ''Life, The Universe, And Everythng ''. While reading the book I finally found the word that described this whole series, Spoof. Yes, I realise that this is a very simple word that should have taken me minutes instead of books to work out but Adams have a way of writing all expectations out of your brain. I also feel the need to mention that this book is the origin of the rather sarcastic and extremely funny quote you see in the picture below.

In this instalment of the book, the company of four find themselves in Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. I feel the need to explain that the proverbial 'at' used in this sentence is not a physical location as in ''at the end of the Universe'' but rather a statement about time as in ''at the end of the universe''. If this makes no sense to you please refer to the book ''The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy'' which to assure you is cheaper than it's alternative Encyclopedia Galactica and has the words 'DON'T PANIC' in large friendly letters for your convenience. 

In this book the chase for the man who rules the universe is finally over and the origin of the human species is revealed. For those of you who are interested, it is not from cavemen or as Ford constantly points out not from not cavemen instead from... well who am I to spoil the surprise of our secret origin. Ford and Arthur are driven mad and brought back to sanity several times by getting stuck in prehistoric Islington. To the comfort of Arthur lovers and indeed those of us who can't help but want Martin Freeman alive and well to make the next Hobbit movie as well as season three of Sherlock I assure you that he will be brought back to present day soon to be extinct Earth in a complicated way in which that made perfect sense to no one but Douglas Adams himself.

The more I read the serious the sadder I becoming knowing that after I read the sarcastic and the rather strange way in which this book seems to be read in my head with the seriously too relaxing voice of Richard Dawking and slightly panicky and sarcastic tone of Martin Freeman , I will never get any more books from Mr Adams' himself, a fact that has never bothered me about any of the hundred and one dead authors whose books I have devoured previously.

Now that I have manage to actually avoid reviewing this book all together I feel that I should say something constrictive. The book much like the previous one had me laughing out loud and in stitches at some points. I found it odder and more mindbogglingly crazier than the first one which only managed to make it ever more entertaining. Personally I wished there was something critical I could say, I simply love ranting about books to people who might actually listen but the chances of me hating this book is at an improbability factor of 1 to infinity against.A reference that is potentially meaningless to all but the 15 million people who have read this book, a number which coincidentally enough is the number of Homo Sapien Sapiens that landed on earth two million years prior to it's destruction. The correlation of those two numbers is at an improbability factor of... oh I don't know something really really big.

I give this book 5 out of 5 with a sinking realisation that not a lot of people will even understand what the hell I am on about in which case welcome to the life of Arthur Dent.

Product Detail

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Pan
Language: English
Author's Website:
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

To be the shameless advertiser - I love this book so much, I made a shit to commemorate it. You can purchase it here on RedBubble and support an artist (that would be me)

Thursday, 21 February 2013

The Fellowship of the Ring [The Lord of the Rings #1] - J. R. R. Tolkien

Image result for the fellowship of the ring book
Title - The Fellowship of the Ring
Author -  J. R. R. Tolkien

Frodo Baggins knew the Ringwraiths were searching for him - and the Ring of Power he bore that would enable Sauron to destroy all that was good in Middle-earth. Now it was up to Frodo and his faithful servant Sam to carry the Ring to where it could be detroyed - in the very center of Sauron's dark kingdom.


Before I begun this book I have never realised how much I was missing out by contenting myself with the movie version of The Lord of the Rings. 

The Fellowship of the Ring takes place sixty years after the event in the Hobbit. It creates a fantastical world with several races, its own language and a richly complicated relationship that ties them all together in the form of a very simple ring. The first time I watched the movies at the age of ten the world of men and monsters scared me as much as if fascinated me. The idea that something as beautiful as the elves poisoned into the vile and hideous Orcs is something that still manages to frighten me.

Despite my admiration for Peter Jackson’s work, I must say that the world of Tolkien is ever more complicated and in-depth that one can have predicted. Tolkien did not just create Middle-earth, he breathed life into it. He created a masterpiece that can not be rivaled.

The characters created by Tolkien are as in-depth and complicated as the landscape they walk on. The protagonist of this trilogy, Frodo Baggins is perhaps one of the best protagonists of the modern era. As a Hobbit he is unlike any protagonists created for epic adventures. He has no magical ability or physical prowess to speak off, in fact Frodo Baggins is unlike any of even his own race. From the beginning Tolkien highlights the goodness in Frodo, his kindness and his endurance of evil when all strong and powerful fail to resist the power of the ring. Even Galadriel and Gandalf whose powers have been glimpsed throughout the book are unable to resist it. In all fairness this continued goodness should make Frodo a rather one dimensional character however Tolkien masterful shows the increasing self doubt and increasing odds that tests Frodo’s character physically as well as mentally. 

One thing that is not mentioned by the movie is the age difference between the Hobbits. By the power of the ring Frodo remained looking young however at the start of this journey Frodo is well into his fifties which gives him an added sense of responsibility for his younger companions.  In a way Frodo’s character is pretty much steeped in Christian allegory, he is the humble, self sacrificing hero who feels responsible for the three companions that have risked their lives to follow him into the one place none of them really want to be in. This distinguishes Frodo from than the Ulysses type hero whose main attribute was physical strength.

 My favourite character and perhaps the most understated when it comes to the movies is Sam Gamgee. He is wise beyond Hobbit expectation and loyal beyond reason which at first might seem rather over the top at first but becomes increasingly more and more important as the burden of the ring grows more and more on Frodo. Sam is more of a typical Hobbit when compared to Frodo however even he has shows the sense of curiosity and wonder that is thought as queer in Hobbiton. Sam often surprises everyone. To quote Frodo ‘’I am learning a lot about Sam Gamgee on this journey. First he is the conspirator, now he is a jester. He’ll end up by becoming a wizard – or a warrior.’’
Gandalf and Aragorn are two characters that are very much alike. Sure one is a wizard and the other one is a man however both hold power and secrets beyond their obvious façade. Gandalf as hinted many times hold enormous power, more than one may expect from a pipe smoking and firework sticking wizard in gray. Aragorn is also the same when it comes to power, behind his ragged exterior he is a very old soul with a lot of knowledge and power.

When reading the book what came most unexpected was the amount to songs that are in the book. Seriously it might as well be a Westend musical. Everyone including Gimli and Aragorn burst into a song at one point or another. While this created a somewhat uncomfortable image in my head it serves an important connection between events in the past and the current occurrences.

Before I conclude this rather long review I want to take time to appreciate the villains in this book. They are truly world class. Sauron. Saruman the white and the Balrog, the Ringwraiths and even Gollum (Sméagol) are truly epic in proportion. Some physically and some in the terror they inspire without their presence. Neither Sauron nor Saruman are physically seen in this book but their powers are felt from the first page to the very last in which Gandalf if forced to fight the mysterious creature of the dark The Balrog. Tolkien is very good at creating creatures that inspire fear with their shadows rather than their swords.

To be honest I could go on and on about the importance of each character and the motifs behind every action however it should be mentioned that that would be longer than the actual book itself. So I would just conclude this by saying that this is simply one of the best books I have ever read and possibly the best example in world creation ever.

I give this 5 out of 5 stars and a recommendation for anyone who loves a good book.

Product Detail
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: HaarperCollins
Language: English

Thursday, 14 February 2013

The Hitchhickers Guide to the Galaxy [The Hitchhickers Guide to the Galaxy #1] - Douglas Adams

Title - The Hitchhickers Guide to the Galaxy
Author - Douglas Adams
The story is legendary. Arthur Dent, mild-mannered, out-to-lunch earthling, is plucked from his planet by his friend Ford Prefect just seconds before it was demolished to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Ford, posing as an out-of-work actor, is a researcher for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Together they begin their now-famous intergalactic journey through time, space and lunch.


I don't really know how to begin to review this book since all words seem to fail me. I found this book rather odd in the sense that there seemed to be no aim to it, no impending quest or foreseeable future other than surviving the immeasurable, well actually quite measurable with the a computer that can calculate an improbability drive which is voiced by a rather too cheerful computer called Eddie, odds that is often against the earth man Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect.

This book is rather nonsensical, the things that happen and keep happening seem to make no sense what so ever and have no real logic, at least to the third smartest being on planet earth. The first being.... well mice. While it might seem very strange, Adams writes this book in a way that is so logical that you could not help but reexamine your intelligence in comparison to the mice in your life.

I found this book entertaining and at times I found myself laughing out loud many times. The book is written in satirical manner with everything from God to '' the meaning of the universe and everything'' which happens to be 42. 

Adams has included improbability drive spaceship called 'The heart of Gold', a manically depressed robot with genuine people's personality, an alien man with three arms and two heads, and so many other rather ridiculous creations that make this book such a freaking delight to read.

Marvin the manically depressed robot 

I LOVED this book and when I say I actually mean this is officially my new favorite book, even more than the Fellow Ship of the Ring which I am currently reading.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars and a a very big recommendation for anyone who loves books.

Product Detail
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Pan
Language: English
Author's Website:
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

To be the shameless advertiser - I love this book so much, I made a shit to commemorate it. You can purchase it here on RedBubble and support an artist (that would be me)

Thursday, 7 February 2013

In My Mailbox #10

Since I haven't posted in two weeks, I have racked up what I think is one hell of a haul which always makes me super delirious but probably doesn't make my bank account all that happy but thankfully for me and my card, I volunteer for Oxfam which happens to have an amazing collection of books for just 1 pound.

Anyway moving on from my rambeling here is my haul

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy 5 set by Douglas Adams
1. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
2. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
3. Life, the Universe and Everything
4. So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
5.Mostly Harmless
Story of O by Pauline Réage
The scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Vintage Stevenson [Robert Louis Stevenson collection]
Before I Die by Jenny Downham
Artemis Fowl and the Eternity Code by Eoin Colfer
Moby Dick by Herman Melvile
The Light Fantastic by Terri Pratchett
A study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle (Now I know I already read this book as an ebook but when I found a battered but very old copy published back in 1912 I HAD to have it and so I did. I get a feeling that I have no real self control but what the hell right?)

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

A Princess of Mars [Barsoom #1] - Edgar Rice Burroughs

Title - A Princess of Mars
Author -  Edgar Rice Burroughs


World to Conquer

Suddenly projected to Mars, John Carter found himself captive of the savage green men of Thark. With him was Dejah Thoris, lovely Princess of Helium. And between them and rescue lay a thousand miles of deadly enemies and unknown dangers.

The book begins in the Arizona dessert in which the protagonist John Carter and his friend have found Gold fortunately they encounter native American kidnappers [trying to be more politically correct than Mr Burroughs]. After a brief tussel John Carter ends up on Mars. Now here is where my problem starts, Boroughs does not even attempt to explain how Carter goes from looking at Mars to getting to it which I find a little lazy.

There are two types of intelligent races on Mars, the green and the red once. Sort of like bizarre M&Ms, if the green M&Ms were fifteen feet tall and had tusks. The red Martians are pretty much humans but it seems everyone on Mars walk around butt-naked and war between themselves like a bunch of savages. If that is not entertaining enough there is also a love interest. Now usually this is usually something that makes me very happy but Dejah Thoris is perhaps the most useless love interest of all time. All she ever does is gets kidnapped and sit there looking all helpless while Carter pines over the most beautiful thing he has ever seen. She is basically the Victorian embodiment of a perfect woman, useless and pretty.

I hesitated in writing this review because to be honest I am very unsure of what I really thought about this book. Sure I enjoyed that strange trip to mars but I found some aspects of the book rather strange, sort of like being in someones psychedelic dream. 

Sort of like this.

Which is always fun I suppose.

Overall I enjoyed the book even if it did make the inner feminist in me roll her eyes. So I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

Product Detail
Paperback: 234 pages
Publisher: CreatSpace Publishing
Language: English
Author's Website:
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Monday, 4 February 2013

Between Two Thorns [The Split Worlds #1] by Emma Newman

Title - Between Two Thorns
Author - Emma Newman


Something is wrong in Aquae Sulis, Bath’s secret mirror city.

The new season is starting and the Master of Ceremonies is missing. Max, an Arbiter of the Split Worlds Treaty, is assigned with the task of finding him with no one to help but a dislocated soul and a mad sorcerer. 

There is a witness but his memories have been bound by magical chains only the enemy can break. A rebellious woman trying to escape her family may prove to be the ally Max needs.

But can she be trusted? And why does she want to give up eternal youth and the life of privilege she’s been born into. 


For today's review I am going to break away from the trend because I am such a hipster like that. I wanted to introduce a book I featured on my first TeaserTuesday, Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman. 

I have to admit when I first picked up this book I was expecting more Arabian Nights and less Artemis Fowl but nevertheless I enjoyed the new take on a fairy tale. The fairies or rather the Fae as put by Newman are far from the cutesy pixied little girls in green leaf frocks as put by Disney, in fact they are so far that. In a way they remind me of Victorians or a similar time period where people were concerned with social hierarchy, class systems, local politics and putting up a front for the society. 

The heroin of the book Cathy has had enough of the pretense of grandeur and civility in the Nether so has escaped into Mundanus [that is where us muggles live] in order to live an ordinary collage life but after an encounter with Lord Poppy she is forced to go back to a life where she has no choice in any occurrences that affect her. Ever the feminist I was rooting for her from start to finish.

The hero, if you can call a soulless and therefore emotionless Arbiter [a police of some sort] is Max. I suppose Max is an okay sort of character but he felt a little mechanical and not as fleshed out as Cathy but that might be probably because the whole emotionless thing.

I actually really enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would after the slightly slow start, once the action began it was one hell of a page turner. As with all first of series there are slow moments and a lot of details that need to be absorbed but I felt that Newman did a very good job of introducing and creating a world of dangerous politics, magic and a resentment for those of us that were born on the wrong side of the barrier. 

Overall I give it 3 out of 5 stars for an interesting journey to a fae society.

Product Detail
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Angry Robot
Language: English
Author's Website:

Saturday, 2 February 2013

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Title - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Author - F. Scott Fitzgerald


In 1860 Benjamin Button is born an old man and mysteriously begins aging backward. At the beginning of his life he is withered and worn, but as he continues to grow younger he embraces life -- he goes to war, runs a business, falls in love, has children, goes to college and prep school, and, as his mind begins to devolve, he attends kindergarten and eventually returns to the care of his nurse.


I am not sure what I thought of this book, if it could be described as a book since it is such a short book. It is one of those books that you read with so much expectation because of the romanticised dramatization of the Hollywood reproduction so I was surprised to see that while the basic idea was the same, it might as well have been two different books.

F. Scott Fitzgerald writes a frank and completely unromaticised. It gives an account of Benjamin who is forced in to complying social convention from the moment he was born as an old man to the day he was too young to understand that he was alive. You see Benjamin lived his life in the opposite order, born as a 5 feet 8 old man; the physics of which I hesitate to think about, Benjamin grows younger every day.

At twenty and with a face of a fifty something year old, he marries young and beautiful Hildegard who defies social convention to marry what she though was a fifty year old man but as time grows and Benjamin becomes younger, he grows bored of his wife. So it should go unsaid that I pretty much lost respect for Mr Button from this point on until the day that his son disrespects him enough to get my sympathy.

This book despite being rather cold and factual was surprisingly enjoyable, even if Benji turned out to be a bit of an ass rather than an eternal romantic but I suppose that does reflect the realism of what would happen rather than trapping us in a sudoromantic idea of a every de-ageing young man, shackled with his ageing wife.

Before I complete this review I have to do a quick movie comparison. Despite my usual cynicism towards Hollywood productions, this time I must give credit to the creators who took it from F. Scott Fitzgerald and gave it a body and life.

Overall it is a very quick and fun story, as long as you don’t take it too seriously. I give it 4 out of 5 stars for telling a realistic story of human nature set in an unrealistic premise.

Product Detail
Paperback: 64 pages
Publisher: Scribner
Language: English