Almost twenty years ago, shortly after The Meaning of Liff was published, a friend of mine called me up and invited me to see Douglas Adams that evening at MIT. When Douglas came on stage he started the evening off with a few stories. He next explained how The Meaning of Liff came to be written and then proceeded to read several definitions. Finally, he went on to read selected excerpts from the Hitchhiker?s Trilogy and afterwards he willingly signed my three paperback books.
I mention the above because I thoroughly enjoyed, and have never forgotten, that wonderful evening. Hearing all the writings/speeches/interviews from The Salmon of Doubt being read was wonderful and it vividly brought that evening back to life for me. So much so that I wanted to listen to Douglas performing live again, so I purchased this audio book.
Unfortunately, this live performance did not captivate me. It is missing the spontaneity and sense of fun that I felt twenty years. This is partly due to my enjoying Douglas?s stories and readings from The Meaning of Liff, missing here, very much. However, I also remember his readings of the Hitchhiker?s excerpts as being funnier and warmer than this performance.
I give this audio book a qualified recommendation. If you have never heard Douglas Adams in person than I think you will enjoy his performance here. However, if you have heard him perform in person then you may feel like me after hearing this.
Almost twenty years ago, shortly after The Meaning of Liff was published, a friend of mine called me up to invited to see Douglas Adams that evening at MIT. A few hours later I met my friend and together we entered Kresge Auditorium and took our seats. When Douglas came out on the stage the first thing he did was to apologize for his jet lag, as he had been flying back-and-forth between England and Los Angles and in fact his appearance was just a short stopover on yet another such journey.
He then started the evening off. He told a few stories, including Cookies, although he properly called them biscuits. He also explained how the Meaning of Liff came to be written and then he proceeded read several definitions to the delight of all in attendance. Finally, we went on to read selected excerpts from the Hitchhiker?s Trilogy and afterwards he willingly signed my three paperback books, apologizing for his poor signature.
I mention the above because I thoroughly enjoyed, and have never forgotten, that wonderful evening. Hearing all the writings/speeches/interviews being read was wonderful and it vividly brought that evening back to life for me.
Three-quarters of the book is made up of these writings, leaving The Salmon of Doubt itself only the last quarter of the book. Despite this, The Salmon of Doubt is an enjoyable, if unfinished draft. As I listened to it I thought how some parts of it belonged to the Hitchhiker?s universe and that it might be Dirk Gently is in the Hitchhiker?s universe and how it would make perfect sense if he meet Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Zaphod Beeblebrox and others from it. As I listened to the book it just sounded so right as Simon Jones narrated it (except for when he used different voices for the American characters).
If you are expecting to hear a complete novel length story this is not for you. However, if you want to listen to the thoughts and ideas of a wonderful writer and storyteller then I highly recommend this book.
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