Is it an audacious thing to say that Mr Douglas Adams is hit or miss Yes Well, audacious not really Good Here is a fun and I mean FUN book, rife with what is absurd and comical in certain sciences that dictate what the world is I know my math teacher in high school was mad about him And it does seem as though there is an intended niche audience already built for this type of literature literary than, say, Piers Anthony but not character driven, nor truly dearly dramatic There is much confusion, and this is also part of its whimsical charm, but the coming together seems so tight, so like a mathematical equation solved and, just, done for although there is that infamous to be continued at its conclusion this is giving nothing away I am caustic toward these post Lewis Carroll productions wasn t a rabid fan of Hitchhiker s for instance, but I won t mind reading Dirk Gently 2 When that type of mood actually finds me. He instituted this Chair of Chronology to see if there was any particular reason why one thing happened after another and if there was any way of stopping it Since the answers to the three questions were, I knew immediately, yes, no, and maybe, I realised I could then take the rest of my career off Books by Oscar Wilde, Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams have at least one thing in common I can easily pick funny, witty, interesting quotes from every page The above quote represents Adams surreal sense of humour quite nicely, I think Dirk Gently s Holistic Detective Agency is of course, Douglas Adams lesser known series, compared to the incomparable but often compared to Hitchhiker s Guide to the Galaxy series Still, there are only five Hitchhiker s books, excluding Eoin Colfer s And Another Thing, which in all fairness I have not read, but I am not that big a fan of Colfer s Artemis Fowl, so the idea of a sequel by him is a nonstarter for me.So how does Dirk Gently s Holistic Detective Agency compare to The Hitchhiker s Guide to the Galaxy What kind of question is that Damn you Sorry, I m feeling a bit schizophrenic Anyway, the answer to that question would be favorably It does not have the epic space opera setting of Hitchhiker s, but then Adams wanted to write something different rather than retread old ground so the smaller scale of the setting is understandable Dirk Gently s Holistic Detective Agency is not really about the eponymous Dirk Gently s, I would not even call him the protagonist He is one of the central characters As the book has to be called something the title Adams went with is a suitably intriguing one The plot of the novel is a combination of several seemingly unrelated plot strands It starts with an Electric Monk looking for a Door the capital D distinguishes from any old door , then the scene switches to a dinner at St Cedd s College in Cambridge where Professor Urban Chronotis performs a seemingly commonplace magic trick is for a child Soon after that a horse is found in the professor s bathroom A wealthy businessman is shot dead for no reason, and his ghost starts to roam An alien spacecraft accidentally lands and soon blows up.The disparate plotlines are actually interrelated, and the only man who can find the connection between them is Dirk Gently, the world s first Holistic Detective , which means that he understands the fundamental interconnectedness of all things Sherlock Holmes famously saidOnce you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth , Dirk Gently goes one better by not even eliminating the impossible see one of the selected quotes below His ability to make intuitive leaps verges on being a superpower Dirk Gently s Holistic Detective Agency reminds me a little bit of Kurt Vonnegut s Breakfast of Champions, another novel with different plotlines that seem to bear no relation to each other I thought that was a bit of a mess, but a funny, admirable and beautiful one by the time I finished it Dirk Gently s is similarly messy, but the eponymous Dirk untangles all the plot strands by the end of the book For the most part, it is easy enough to follow, and always funny, but the climax and denouement are a little convoluted If your attention strayed during some seemingly unimportant scenes some of the expositions at the end may be confusing For the most part Dirk Gently s Holistic Detective Agency is a madcap surreal comic novel with a lot of sci fi elements that you can expect from Douglas Adams However, a shade of sadness, melancholy and loneliness permeate the last few chapters of the book.The characters are mostly well developed, with Dirk, being the standout due to his eccentricity and superhuman intuition Not far behind is the enigmatic Professor Urban Chronotis who is much than he seems, and he also appears in Doctor Who Shada, based on Adams Doctor Who TV episode script.If you are a fan of The Hitchhiker s Guide to the Galaxy but have read all the books already you should not miss this book On the other hand or perhaps the same hand but different fingers if you have not read all the Hitchhiker s books, or have not read any, or never heard of Douglas Adams, you should still not miss this book Who then, should give this book a miss I don t know, dead people perhaps Notes There was a BBC adaptation of Dirk Gently s Holistic Detective Agency in 2010, only a few episodes were made Quite good as I recall A new adaptation is being made by BBC America announced March 2016 I am looking forward to reading the sequel The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul soon. I last read this when I was really young and was shortly getting off a fantastic kick of HHGttG wanting MORE, as, I assume, most people do when they get on a Douglas Adams kick.Like the other series, every page is filled with wonderfully witty and fascinating and wise crack quotes that will delight and amaze and generally blow most writing away by the sheer audacity.To think that Douglas Adams never considered himself a writer Truly amazing And of course us fans just snicker at that and keep reading.I admit to really liking this but not loving it as much as the Hitchhiker series I don t know Maybe I just wanted of the idiot and less of the incomprehensible mystic in systems theory sheep s clothing What can I say As an adult, I m doing an about face and saying that this might be better by far It s still wacky and zany and full of oddball moments, but it s closer to Earth mostly just not always in the same time zone And on top of that, it was fun as hell getting into all the old computer stuff and getting into the poetry and the music and ESPECIALLY the problem of the couch.The couch stayed with me all these years and it was such a wonderful character It almost reaches the same heights as a certain fridge in the next book Of which I m doing a re read next Now, to be sure, I probably wouldn t have done a re read at all if it hadn t been for the BBC tv production of the same name, and even as I was watching it I was going Is this remotely the same Definitive answer SOME lol Not all that much Characters, some Situations, hints Zany That s full tilt All said, no complaints on either side of the tv screen I m glad to be doing all of the above. In Xanadu did Kubla KahnA science fiction book decreeWith plot purloined from Doctor WhoA cross between a witches brewAnd a nice cup of tea.So several chapters serially were wroteUntil the text was finished, good and wholeA sovereign remedy or antidoteAgainst the long dark teatime of the soulAnd there were geeks who answered alien prayersWhile moving house accompanied by their boxes And there were sofas stuck upon the stairsIn curious angles causing paradoxes.But oh the changes made to historyA tricky deed for any witch or warlockEven when travelling by time machineAnd claiming to be resident in PorlockA ghost and an Electric Monk in a dream I saw apartThey were the most eccentric pairI ve come across most anywhereBut still they touched my heartIf I could piece togetherThe fragments I find nowThen all around would marvelAnd open mouthed avowWeave a circle round him thriceAnd never mind his extra headFor he of Adams books has readAnd fables heard from Paradise I am a firm believer that a bit of British humor is good for the soulAnd I am quite American, in case you did not knowDon t you understand that we need to be childish in order to understand Only a child sees things with perfect clarity, because it hasn t developed all those filters which prevent us from seeing things that we don t expect to seeDouglas Adams has a highly quotable, laugh out loud writing style which I adore I seem to remember a blurb describing this book as The Hitchhiker s Guide to the Galaxy with significantly fewer spaceships I apologize that my memory fails on whom I heard this from I can t think of a better description myself.This book will forever be on my list of favorite books of all time.There s really not much I can say about it which could express my love Some of My Favorite Moments view spoiler Hello, Michael Yes, it s Susan Susan Way You said I shouldcall you if I was free this evening and I said I d rather be dead in aditch, remember Well, I suddenly discover that I am free, absolutely,completely and utterly free, and there isn t a decent ditch for milesaround Make your move while you ve got your chance is my advice toyou I ll be at the Tangiers Club in half an hour The teacher usually learns than the pupil Isn t that true It would be hard to learn much less than my pupils, came a lowgrowl from somewhere on the table, without undergoing a pre frontallobotomy he walked a little like an affrontedheron.The other was small, roundish, and moved with an ungainlyrestlessness, like a number of elderly squirrels trying to escape froma sack It seems odd,don t you think, that the quality of the food should vary inverselywith the brightness of the lighting Makes you wonder what culinaryheights the kitchen staff could rise to if you confined them to perpetual darkness Well, said Reg, in a loudly confidential whisper, as if introducing the subject of nipple piercing in a nunnery, I hear you vesuddenly done very well for yourself, at last, hmmm Did you know, young lady, said Watkin to her, that the Book of Revelation was written on Patmos It was indeed By Saint John the Divine, as you know To me it shows very clear signs of having been written while waiting for a ferry Oh, yes, I think so It starts off, doesn t it, with that kind of dreaminess you get when you re killing time, getting bored, you know, just making things up, and then gradually grows to a sort of climax of hallucinatory despair I find that very suggestive Pink valleys, hermaphrodite tables, these were all natural stages through which one had to pass on the path to true enlightenment.The door was the way to to The Door was The Way.Good.Capital letters were always the best way of dealing with things you didn t have a good answer to.By means of an ingenious series of strategically deployed denials of the most exciting and exotic things, he was able to create the myth that he was a psychic, mystic, telepathic, fey, clairvoyant, psychosassic vampire bat.What did psychosassic mean It was his own word and he vigorously denied that it meantanything at all Or maybe she decided that an evening with your old tutor would be blisteringly dull and opted for the exhilarating course of washing her hair instead Dear me, I know what I would have done It s only lack of hair that forces me to pursue such a hectic social round these days Gordon Way was dead, but he simply hadn t the slightest idea whathe was meant to do about it It wasn t a situation he had encountered before I bet that even the very lowest form of dysentery amoeba shows up to take its girlfriend out for a quick trot around the stomach lining once in a while Richard reflected that Dirk s was a face into which too much had already been put What with that and the amount he talked, the traffic through his mouth was almost incessant His ears, on the other hand, remained almost totally unused in normal conversation Exploiting asked Dirk Well, I suppose it would be if any body ever paid me, but I do assure you, my dear Richard, that there never seems to be the remotest danger of that Let us go Let us leave this festering hell hole Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not effit after all Don t you understand that we need to be childish in order to understand Only a child sees things with perfect clarity, because it hasn t developed all those filters which prevent us from seeing things that we don t expect to see Sir Isaac Newton, renowned inventor of the milled edge coinand the catflap The what said Richard The catflap A device of the utmost cunning, perspicuity and invention It is a door within a door, you see, a Yes, said Richard, there was also the small matter of gravity Gravity, said Dirk with a slightly dismissive shrug, yes, there was that as well, I suppose Though that, of course, was merely adiscovery It was there to be discovered He took a penny out of his pocket and tossed it casually on to the pebbles that ran alongside the paved pathway You see he said, They even keep it on at weekends Someone was bound to notice sooner or later But the catflap ah, there is a very different matter Invention, pure creative invention If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family Anatidae on our hands Now Having saved the entire human race from extinction I could do with a pizza hide spoiler I discovered Douglas Adams by coincidence I found his book Last Chance to See, co written by Mark Cawardine, about animals near extinction and Douglas and Mark s trip around the world to see some of them, in a box with M ngelexemplare old books, sometimes not in top condition that are therefore sold at a reduced price His humour stood out even in the German translation and when I told a friend about it, she told me all about an odd sounding story about a guy hitchhiking across the galaxy and something about the number 42 Since I ve always been an odd duck, I went and bought that book too in the English original this time and have read The Hitchhiker s Guide To The Galaxy once every year May 25th to be exact ever since.However, despite having heard of Dirk Gently too, I have never picked up these books, for some weird reason I m glad I rectified this now because although I LOVE Hitchhiker, this is actually better Douglas Adams has not just been a British author with the usually expected British humour Sure, he had a dry wit, but also a mind as sharp as a katana and the observations about humanity that he put into his books, while being disguised as silly dialogue or even sillier happenings, are always very deep, reflective and spot on.So this story is about the titular Dirk Gently, although that is only the most recent in a long list of names he s used He doesn t even make an appearance for the first quarter of the book, actually Mr Gently believes in the interconnectedness of all things, therefore he named his detective agency Dirk Gently s Holistic Detective Agency.It s this interconnectedness that has to be proven when a former friend of his with a sofa being stuck halfway up the way to his apartment gets bored half to death at the annual reading of a Coleridge poem THE Coleridge poem, I should say at Cambridge university, then witnesses a conjuring trick by one of his old professors, finds a horse in the bathroom of that same professor after it finally got rid of its rider, an Electric Monk , and finally gets caught up in a very weird murder involving his boss, followed by people acting strangely indeed You re confused Good It s a bit like watching Doctor Who and getting all of your brain in a tight knot, but you know exactly that it will all make perfect sense in the end.As I said, silliness abound in DA s book, but all the silliness serves a purpose and that is what makes this book not only entertaining, but actually intellectually challenging and bloody perfect Especially eccentric Dirk Gently himself with his weirdness actually makes perfect sense it s the world that is bonkers.Thus we end up with gems like the following some of my favourite bits that I marked in the book Electric Monks believed things for you, thus saving you what was becoming an increasingly onerous task, that of believing all the things the world expected you to believe.It is difficult to be sat on all day, every day, by some other creature, without forming an opinion about them.On the other hand, it is perfectly possible to sit all day, every day, on top of another creature and not have the slightest thought about them whatsoever.So two legs were held to be both suitable and cheaper than the normal primes of seventeen, nineteen or twenty three the skin the Monks were given was pinkish looking instead of purple, soft and smooth instead of crenellated They were also restricted to just one mouth and nose, but were given instead an additional eye, making for a grand total of two A strange looking creature indeed But truly excellent at believing the most preposterous things.She tried to worry that something had happened to him, but didn t believe it for a moment Nothing terrible ever happened to him, though she was beginning to think that it was time it damn well did If nothing terrible happened to him soon maybe she d do it herself coincidences are strange and dangerous things there is a huge difference between disliking somebody maybe even disliking them a lot and actually shooting them, strangling them, dragging them through the fields and setting their house on fire It was a difference which kept the vast majority of the population alive from day to day.This was a public telephone so it was clearly an oversight that it was working at all.Only a child sees things with perfect clarity, because it hasn t developed all those filters which prevent us from seeing things that we don t expect to see normal English condition, that of a damp and rancid dish cloth he believed with an instant effortlessness which would have impressed even a Scientologist It disturbs me very greatly when I find that I know things and do not know why I know them Maybe it is the same instinctive processing of data that allows you to catch a ball almost before you ve seen it Maybe it is the deeer and less explicable instinct that tells you when someone is watching you And Mrs Roberts How is she Foot still troubling her Not since she had it off, thanks for asking, sir Between you and me, sir, I would ve been just as happy to have had her amputated and kept the foot I had a little spot reserved on the mantlepiece, but there we are, we have to take things as we find them The cry I could have thought of that is a very popular and misleading one, for the fact is that they didn t, and a very significant and revealing fact it is too Charitable, ha said Dirk I pay my taxes, what do you want One thing I could also identify with immensely was this description of Susan She had an amazing emotional self sufficiancy and control provided she could play her cello He had noticed an odd and extraordinary thing about her relationship with the music she played If ever she was feeling emotional or upset she could sit and play some music with utter concentration and emerge seeming fresh and calm.Only in my case the cello has to be replaced by books and playing music by reading But yes, a very precise description of me.Oh, and despite me being too young to know too much about what it was like with the very first computers being sold, it was so cool to read about all the technical stuff because I know from interviews and Neil Gaiman s biography of Douglas Adams what a techie computer enthusiast he was plus, from a historical point of view alone it must have been pretty exciting.So you see, not just a thrilling writing style with engaging and quirky characters, but also wit dry enough to start a wildfire that illuminates a wide range of important topics, making the reader not only laugh but also reflect, all while you re having the time of your life.Honestly, no idea why this is rated lower than Hitchhiker, because despite me being a huge fan I even bought a towel and stitched 42 and Don t Panic onto it and carry it with me every Towel Day , I am firmly sold on Dirk Gently and think this first volume beats the first of the 5 volumes in the Hitchhiker trilogy. What Do A Dead Cat, A Computer Whiz Kid, An Electric Monk Who Believes The World Is Pink, Quantum Mechanics, A Chronologist Over Years Old, Samuel Taylor Coleridge Poet , And Pizza Have In Common Apparently Not Much Until Dirk Gently, Self Styled Private Investigator, Sets Out To Prove The Fundamental Interconnectedness Of All Things By Solving A Mysterious Murder, Assisting A Mysterious Professor, Unravelling A Mysterious Mystery, And Eating A Lot Of Pizza Not To Mention Saving The Entire Human Race From Extinction Along The Way At No Extra Charge To Find Out , Read This Book Better Still, Buy It, Then Read It Or Contact Dirk Gently S Holistic Detective Agency A Thumping Good Detective Ghost Horror Whodunnit Time Travel Romantic Musical Comedy Epic The Author Douglas Adams underated masterpiece leads Dirk Gently from a search for a missing cat to unlocking the secrets of time travel and saving the human race from total extinction I thought no one could write a better comic novel than The Hitch Hiker s Guide to the Galaxy until I first read this I ve subsequently re read this novel countless times and it never fails to entertain, I m still finding references to literature and popular culture that I ve previously missed That a novel can be re read despite the reader knowing what is about to happen is a testement to any novel but this one can be re read with a suspition that something different will happen this time From the title you would think this is possibly about a detective agency Well there is an agency but they don t detect things in the normal matter You should probably guess that since it is a Douglas Adams book and when has he written anything really normal I mean that in the best way.Nope for this bookLet s think the unthinkable, let s do the undoable Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all There is craziness, absurdity, the interconnectedness of all things and Dirk is smack dab in the middle of it all He will somehow figure out how a horse in a bathroom, a ghost making telephone calls, a undoable magic trick, the cat in Schrodinger s Box and an alien electronic monk who can believe anything all have to do with one another.It is a crazy and fantastic ride that if you just hang back and not think about it too much everything will just all into place Most of the time Dirk Gently seems to make no sense until he makes hysterical sense There were times I flat out belly laughed at some of the general obscurity of it.I will never think of Sir Isaac Newton the same again or Bach but that is a different matterSir Isaac Newton, renowned inventor of the milled edge coin and the catflap The what said Richard The catflap A device of the utmost cunning, perspicuity and invention It is a door within a door, you see, a Yes, said Richard, there was also the small matter of gravity Gravity, said Dirk with a slightly dismissed shrug, yes, there was that as well, I suppose Though that, of course, was merely a discovery It was there to be discovered You see he said dropping his cigarette butt, They even keep it on at weekends Someone was bound to notice sooner or later But the catflap ah, there is a very different matter Invention, pure creative invention It is a door within a door, you see I read both the Dirk Gently books years ago and they are some of the few books that I come back to years later and love for different reasons all over again If you were a fan of the Hitchhikers series or Monty Python then this kind of humor might be exactly what you need for a good laugh. Hysterical If you liked The Hitchhiker s Guide but thought it could do with fewer spaceships, try this If you re shaking your head in bafflement, thinking Fewer spaceships Do you want to ruin the whole thing, woman try this If you ve never read any Douglas Adams at all, try this If you like things that are good, try this On the other hand, I am pretty sure my best friend hated it, and she does often like things that are good, so maybe it s not for everyone But try it anyway He was rounder than the average undergraduate and wore hats That is to say, there was just the one hat which he habitually wore, but he wore it with a passion that was rare in one so young By means of an ingenious series of strategically deployed denials of the most exciting and exotic things, he was able to create the myth that he was a psychic, mystic, telepathic, fey, clairvoyant, psychosassic vampire bat What did psychosassic mean It was his own word and he vigorously denied that it meant anything at all.
Hitchhiker s Guide to the Galaxy series Hitchhiker s began on radio, and developed into a trilogy of five books which sold than fifteen million copies during his lifetime as well as a television series, a comic book series, a computer game, and a feature film that was completed after Adams death The series has also been adapted for live theatre using various scripts the earliest such productions used material newly written by Adams He was known to some fans as Bop Ad after his illegible signature , or by his initials DNA.In addition to The Hitchhiker s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams wrote or co wrote three stories of the science fiction television series Doctor Who and served as Script Editor during the seventeenth season His other written works include the Dirk Gently novels, and he co wrote two Liff books and Last Chance to See, itself based on a radio series Adams also originated the idea for the computer game Starship Titanic, which was produced by a company that Adams co founded, and adapted into a novel by Terry Jones A posthumous collection of essays and other material, including an incomplete novel, was published as
- Mass Market Paperback
- 306 pages
- Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
- Douglas Adams
- 20 October 2019 Douglas Adams