Sunday, July 31, 2005

An Original Story That Isn't Exactly Original...

This time around, I decided to re-read Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, by Douglas Adams. I've always been a big fan of Adams' work, and I've got to say that I think I actually like his Dirk Gently books better than his Hitchhiker's books. The story of this particular book is an odd blend of originality and blatant literary recycling; major parts of the plot come from some of Adams' old Doctor Who Scripts.

The episode unaired Shada has a Time Lord named Prof. Chronotis, who has been living in his TARDIS (time machine), disguised as a set of rooms, in an English University for centuries. He also makes a joke when making tea about how many lumps a person wants, followed by asking if they want sugar. All of this is present in Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, except Prof. Chronotis isn't referred to as a Time Lord and his time machine isn't called a TARDIS. The episode City of Death has an alien, who caused his ship to explode in prehistory--causing the primordial slime to become life--and causing himself to be hurtled through time. His great plan is to build a time machine and use it to stop himself from blowing up his ship. In the book, the alien is a ghost, and he tricks Chronotis into using his time machine instead of building one. Otherwise it's the same.

However, the book has a lot of original stuff as well. The character of Dirk Gently, despite some similarities to the Doctor in mannerisms, is a very original character. The Electric Monk is a very novel idea. I also think that an aspiring computer programmer would do quite well to come up with a program like Anthem, which can convert business's financial data into animated logos or music. I also found the part about the couch to be funny.

I give this book 5 yo-yos. Coming Soon, a foray into the world of nonfiction with my rereading of The Complete Books of Charles Fort.

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