Now that Penguin sent the first eight chapters to some lucky bast°°°s who won a copy of the proof, the first reviews (for these eight chapters) begin to appear on the web. Here is an extract posted by my friend Kevin Davies who chose it because it sounds a lot like douglas adams : “From “And Another Thing…” by Eoin Colfer, Chapter One: …Ford Prefect found himself deposited in a room composed of blue sky. A familiar figure sat in the opposite corner. ‘Ah,’ said Ford, remembering. Guide Note: Remembering is generally a two-stage process involving dialogue between the conscious and subconscious parts of the brain. The subconscious opens proceedings by throwing up the relevant memory, an act which releases a spurt of self-congratulatory endorphins. ‘Well done, matey,’ says the consciousness. ‘That memory is really useful right now, and I couldn’t remember where I’d put it.” ‘You and me pal,’ says the subconscious, delighted to have its contribution acknowledged for once. ‘We’re in this together.’ Then the conscious reviews the memory in its in-tray and sends a message down to the sphincter telling it to prepare for the worst. ‘Why did you remind me of this?’ it rails against the subconscious. ‘This is awful. Terrible. I didn’t want to remember this. Why the zark do you think I shoved it to the back of my brain?’ ‘That’s the last time I help you out,’ mutters the subconscious and retreats to the darker sections of itself where nasty thoughts are housed. ‘I don’t need you,’ it tells itself. ‘I can make myself another personality out of these things you’ve discarded.’ And so the seeds of schizophrenia are sown with kernels of childhood bullying, neglect, low self-esteem and prejudice. Luckily, Betelgeuseans don’t have much of a subconscious, so that’s all right then. —” An here is the first intelligent review posted by a guy called Roger Plunkett (Humanracer) on several forums and blogs : “The book is very good but not excellent. I don’t think this will win converts among those who have decided that without Adams, the book will disappoint. The book is written in such a way that it follows on from Dirk Maggs radio adaptation of book 5, as well as book 5 itself. Firstly the negatives. The guide sections are generally well written but prefaced only by “guide note”, whereas Adams wrote “The Hitchhikers Guide has a lot to say on the subject of..”. The guide sections in Adams books had a much stronger character. 6 of 3 also suffers from too much sentimentality. We hear about Trillian’s guilt about leaving Random, Arthur’s love for his daughter, Random’s sadness about not having a home etc. Of course this may have been in an Adams novel since he was happily married with a daughter at the time of his death but Hitchhikers works best when it is farcical and even romantic moments in earlier books were played out in a humorous fashion. I would have liked this novel to have been written in the spirit of the first two books, with sentimentality swapped for humour. This is something that was also partly missing from the 5th book. Nearly every paragraph in the first two books was coated with Adams humour and read like a real comedy. Here Colfer spends too much time stating what is happening (Arthur did this, Trillian felt like this etc). Adams kept such explanations to minimum, and when it was used, it was always an excuse for Adams to get another gag in. Of course there should be a reconciliation between Trillian and Random but I think Adams would have made it funny rather than twee. Another criticism is that some of the characters dialogue is a little off. I don’t think Arthur would call someone “mate”, and he wouldn’t use the word “arsehole”. In fact there is a lot of semi swearing in this book. The plot moves along slowly, having finished half the book, the characters are still trying to get out of the same situation they found themselves in after the first few chapters. The book is shaping up to be the longest of the series. Finally, referencing Doctor Who seems a bit far fetched. The positives?. It’s very well written and while the book is not a laugh out loud novel, the book is a pleasant read and less depressing than book 5. Everything depends on the second half though, the book set up some great concepts which could lead to a great conclusion. There are hints that Arthur still has feelings for Trillian and perhaps this should be explored more in the second half, though hopefully with a lot of humour. A lot of major and minor characters are back, which would please Hitchhiker fans. I actually think the dialogue would be more suited to a radio show since a lot of it would sound far funnier if read out in a humorous manner. So overall a very good effort which could have been better. The book will please some fans and disappoint others. I may reassess my view after reading the second half. I have been a big supporter of this project, but it has always been my intention to give a honest and fair review. Let me know what your other half thinks!”