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5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to the brilliant mind of Douglas Adams!
What can a person say to describe the talents of Douglas Adams? Well, those who know all about his works, there are no words good enough to describe him. For those who don't know about his works, then now is as good as time as any to find out.
"The Salmon of Doubt" is actually only about 80 pages of a Dirk Gently story. This gives Adams a chance to create...
Published on May 27 2002 by Amazon Customer

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT
Before you all jump on me, let me say that I adore HHGTTG in all its incarnations. I've read the Dirk Gently books, although I'm not as big a fan of those as I am of HHGTTG. I even own (and have read) Last Time to See. So I'm a bona fide DNA fan.
I have seldom looked forward so much and then been so disappointed in a book as I was with Salmon of Doubt. It's okay for...
Published on May 25 2002


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT, May 25 2002
By A Customer
Before you all jump on me, let me say that I adore HHGTTG in all its incarnations. I've read the Dirk Gently books, although I'm not as big a fan of those as I am of HHGTTG. I even own (and have read) Last Time to See. So I'm a bona fide DNA fan.
I have seldom looked forward so much and then been so disappointed in a book as I was with Salmon of Doubt. It's okay for what it is -- a mishmash of previously published articles and columns, random musings culled from DNA's computer after his death, interviews, reprints, and the beginning of his unfinished and incomprehensible novel.
The marketing led me to believe I was going to be reading a new installment in HHGTTG, not an anthology. Even the book itself implied that we'd be getting another installment of HHGTTG, and specifically states that it's not a Dirk book. Well, it may not be Dirk Gently (even if he is the protagonist), but it's also not HHGTTG. And the whole "novel" comprises only 80 or so of the 280 or so pages of the book.
Save your money. Re-read HHGTTG instead.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Audio CD not worth the money., Sept. 13 2003
By 
Jory K. Prum "joryjory" (Fairfax, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This has got to be the poorest mastering job I have ever found for an Audio Book. The actual contents are fine; the recording is good, the reading is good, and the material is moderately intriguing. However, it is without excuse that the 7 CD set contains only 1 track per disc.
Do the producers really think that people want to listen to a book of letters, memoirs, interviews, and miscellany in a single (or 7 1-hour 10-minute) sitting(s)? It is unbelievable that the various chapters of the book have not been given individual track numbers.
For my own use, before I could bear to listen to this audio book, I had to rip the entire 7-disc set and segment it so I could handle it in reasonable chunks. That took me 5 hours. Oh, and there is not even a Table of Contents. I had to find one on somebody's website, so I'd have some sort of clue what I'd find in this book.
This is inexcusable and irritating, especially for an audio book that retails for $45.
If this is how all of New Millennium's titles are, I'll never buy one again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to the brilliant mind of Douglas Adams!, May 27 2002
By 
Amazon Customer "nonblonde" (Blue Springs, MO United States) - See all my reviews
What can a person say to describe the talents of Douglas Adams? Well, those who know all about his works, there are no words good enough to describe him. For those who don't know about his works, then now is as good as time as any to find out.
"The Salmon of Doubt" is actually only about 80 pages of a Dirk Gently story. This gives Adams a chance to create his usual elaborate set-ups, but we will never know of where he was planning on going with it since he has, unfortunantly, passed on from this life. The rest of the 300+ pages is filled with the bits that made up his life: on-line interviews, some short stories, articles that he wrote, and some of his personal writings from his computer journal. These represent the best of Adams. Whether he is jogging with dogs that don't belong to him or learning to cope with Frank the Vandal, his humor and wit shine through like a bright flash light beam in your eyes.
This book is a must have for any Douglas Adams fan or for anyone who has heard of the man, but isn't quite sure if they'll like his work. If such persons have any bit of intelligence left in their beings, then they'll love it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars So long Douglas and thanks for all the laughs!, May 24 2002
By 
J. Surowiecki (Hanover Park, Illinois) - See all my reviews
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I purchased Douglas Adams' posthumous book exactly one year and one day after his extremely untimely passing. I have always thought that there is something inherently wrong about losing one's idols. "Salmon of Doubt" is a prime example of how wrong it truly is.
"Salmon of Doubt" is so absolutely and quite wonderfully Douglas.
This collection of articles, interviews, random thoughts and unfinished novel is an genuine treat to read. His unmistakable voice shines through on each and every page. For someone who professed to agonize over the whole "writing thing", Douglas did it with a style that is often imitated, yet never will be duplicated.
I was delighted to see "Cookies" make its way into this collection. I laughed when he included in the 4th Hitchhiker's novel, and was fortunate enough to hear him retelling this true story. He had everyone at this Chicago hotel bar in absolute hysterics some years ago, reliving the moment. I have never forgotten it.
"Maggie and Trudie" also stands out as one of my other favorite entries here. As does "The Private Life of Genghis Khan". The interviews included also give a further glimpse into this marvelously gifted man.
There is no doubt in my mind that the ever-so brief "Salmon of Doubt" story/novel itself would have been a joy to read had he been around to finish it. It would have worked perfectly well as the next Dirk Gently (or possible 6th HH) novel. I found myself reading this portion quickly, watching the pages dwindle and knowing it was going to abruptly end. It did. Now I'm left wondering what happened to Dirk and Desmond the rhinoceros. It's going to bug me till the end of time. Which I am sure would thrill Douglas to no end.
I'll have to ask Douglas when I see him at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe how it all ends.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Adams's best book in years, but SKIP THE INTRODUCTIONS!, May 21 2002
By 
David Danzig (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
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I always felt it a little unfair to Adams that all of his books get compared to the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." "Hitchhiker's" is one of the best books ever written, and few books can live up to that comparison. Having said that, I think this is Adams's first book since "Life, the Universe and Everything" that does not fall well short of that high mark.
My only complaint about the book are the several introductions, all of which were not written by Adams. Each introducer seems interested only in establihing his credentials as a genuine "friend of Douglas", and each is more anxious than the last to give away the punchline or some other crucial point in one or another essay in the book, ruining the experience of getting to that point the way Adams intended.
But worst of all, the introductions all set a glum tone for a fun book. The introducers seem convinced that this book is all about how tragic it is that Adams died. But what Salmon of Doubt is really about is how wonderful it is that Adams lived.
So, do yourself a huge favor, and read those introductions last, if at all.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Absence of Pretence, May 18 2002
Do not pick up The Salmon of Doubt expecting a complete novel. Given time Adams' would have converted it into a brilliant final product. Sadly, however, that will never happen. The novel is unfinished, but better to be unfinished than completed by someone else.

The book is more than the uncompleted novel, however. The would-be third Dirk Gently installment occupies fewer than 100 pages at the volume's end. The rest is taken up by an amalgam of tidbits from Adams' life. The book's success is the essays, short stories, letters, interviews, many of them in print for the first time in Salmon. They accomplish what no novel ever could; they portray Adams' as a human being.

Salmon is to Douglas Adams' what I, Asimov is to Isaac Asimov. It's not an autobiography, exactly, but it's as close as print gets to establishing a dialogue between the reader and the author. A great many people admire Adams' for is brilliant wit. This book allows us to admire him for much more.
I frequent a message board where a rating of "5" means "Comedy Gold," and that is why I give A Salmon of Doubt five stars. It is hilarious. The essay, "Cookies," used as a plot point in So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish, is a brilliantly narrated anecdote. The reflections on canine behavior in Maggie and Trudie gave me a sleep-preventing giggle fit. The novel portion is jerky in places. An astute reader will spot some filler lines, gaps in continuity, and things that would most likely have been left out of the final version, but no one is pretending that it is whole. Salmon is exactly what it sets out to be; it is a requiem, a tribute to a great man.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Beatles Anthology of Douglas Adams, May 14 2002
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Raise a properly brewed cup of tea (this book shows you how) or perhaps a Margarita to the late, lamented Douglas Adams. His death last May - while excercising at a health club - reads like the kind of demise the author might well have reserved for a character from one of his own novels. Taken far too soon (he was only 49 for Christ's sake), "Salmon" is the kind of book that only ever gets published posthumously. Were he still alive, "Salmon of Doubt" would have been the title of the third Dirk Gently novel. Or would it? Interviews included here, speculate that Adams may have been thinking of turning "Salmon" into the sixth (and final) "Hitchhiker" novel. Based on what was left behind however - eleven chapters amounting to about eighty pages - it sure reads like a Gently novel save the first chapter, which feels somewhat at odds with the other ten. One could easily imagine it holding the seeds of another Hitchhiker book. Nonetheless, these chapters (which cruelly whet our appetite) are but a beginning to something that will never have an end. As Douglas loved the Beatles (as one quickly discovers in essays like "The Voices of All Our Yesterdays"), it seems appropriate to compare what comprises the rest this book to Adams' own version of the Beatles' Anthology, collecting, as it were, a varied track listing of outtakes, B-sides and bonus tracks in its biographical vignettes, interviews, reviews, letters, essays and remembrances of this very funny and very intelligent man. As Adams hadn't put out a new book in years, I had forgotten how witty and articulate he could be. My favourite piece from these was "Riding the Rays", a recounting of a trip to Australia which would have made a strong case for the author one day trying his hand at a full-length book for the travel writing crowd. "Salmon of Doubt" is a book to be savoured at length, followed by a rereading of everything else. My only criticism is that it should have had a contents page for easy future reference to your favourite bits and an index to all the marvelous people, places and things Adams cites. If you loved Douglas Adams, there's no question that you need to read this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful, Bittersweet Send-Off..., May 14 2002
By 
Carl Malmstrom (Monument, CO USA) - See all my reviews
In spite of the book's subtitle: "Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time", what "The Salmon of Doubt" contains, among other things, is the 79 rough-draft pages of what was probably going to be his third Dirk Gently novel. I say probably because he states many times in his various interviews and essays that "The Salmon of Doubt" may have eventually morphed into a Hitchhiker book or, perhaps, an unrelated, stand-alone book. What was included, though (pulled from three different drafts) is definitely Dirk Gently.
The rest of the book, though, is mainly interviews, essays and letters that he wrote over the course of his life and career. Ranging from his views on religion (an avid atheist) to his status as an author and a conservationist to his love of music and his memories of school, the book feels more like a conversation with him than a memorial. This seems to be for the best, though, as it gives a very thorough, balanced view of the man - including some of his shortcomings.
Of special note is the essay he wrote for P.G. Wodehouse's "Sunset at Blandings" - a discussion of the brilliance of Wodehouse's work and what it takes to read an unfinished book. Many of the passages seem especially poignant when reading the Dirk Gently chapters.
Also of note is the lament by Richard Dawkins, longtime fan, friend, biologist and author of "The Blind Watchmaker" and "The Selfish Gene". After reading repeatedly in the first three chapters how Dawkins' books changed Adams' life, it is touching to read how his books had such effect on Dawkins'.
Ultimately, this book is worth reading for anyone who was even a casual fan of Adams. It contains all the intelligence, wittiness and passion that makes his works worth reading (or listening to - or watching), but gives the feeling that you are actually getting to know the whole man for once. The tragedy of Adams' death seems most poignant after finishing the book and wishing that you could sit down and discuss his life, his theories or his opinions with him and knowing that the chance is forever past. If his books have ever interested you, read this one, too.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Essential, If Only for the Dirk Gently Bits, May 14 2002
By A Customer
If you're not an Adams junkie already, go away. Start with the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and keep reading until you're good and hooked, then come back for this short but sweet epilogue to a brilliant career.
"Salmon of Doubt" is a posthumous odds-n-sods collection of Adams's work. The first 2/3rds of the book contains a wide variety of material, ranging from a fan letter he wrote at age 12 to interviews done shortly before his death in April 2001.
To be perfectly honest, a lot of this material is fairly thin, and much of it was previously available at various places on the web. It's nice to have it all in one collection, though, and if you're only familiar with Adams from "Hitchhiker's," you may be surprised to discover the breadth and depth of his interests and passions. To be sure, there are some gems to be mined here -- in particular, a charming essay about some dogs who adopted Adams when he was living in Santa Fe, NM; and an absurd but perfectly Adams-esque quest to test a one-man aquatic sub against a manta ray.
For Hitchhiker's fans, the book also contains the short stories "The Private Life of Genghis Khan" and "Young Zaphod Plays It Safe." Both are amusing, if rather pointless.
Leave all that aside, though. The REAL reason to purchase this collection lies in the last hundred pages or so -- the first 11 chapters of the much-delayed and finally abandoned third Dirk Gently novel, "A Salmon of Doubt." This is vintage Adams -- bizarre, hilarious, and utterly unpredictable. Unfortunately, this fragment ends just as the narrative is picking up steam, and we'll never know how Adams would have tied together the tantalizing and very improbable plot threads he laid out in these too-brief chapters.
Salmon of Doubt, like all of Adams's previous work, is at times frustrating but in the end immensely rewarding. It's a fond farewell from one of the masters, and a sad reminder of what we all lost with his too-soon passing at age 49. Goodbye, Douglas, you are sorely missed.
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4.0 out of 5 stars For those who have read him, and those who have not., May 14 2002
There is a particularly English (ie the Country as opposed to the language) method of writing that, even as it describes sci fi, fantasy or simply The Bizarre World in general, cannot help but conjure images of village greens, stately homes, cups of tea, and cricket matches; PG Wodehouse, Michael Palin, Terry Pratchett and Evelyn Waugh are all exponents of this art, but Douglas Adams was one of my favourite, if not most prolific, authors in this style. His sad death last year has provided his publisher with an excuse to publish this, final, collection of his work.
And quite a mixture it is; here are prologues to books, introductions to events, eclectic newspaper and magazine articles, short stories and one unfinished novel, the work in progress known as 'The Salmon of Doubt', a Dirk Gently book. Would he have approved this book? Well, given that he was willing to pen an introduction to PG Wodehouse's unfinished 'Sunset at Blandings', the evidence very much points (at least, in my mind) to the fact that he would.
Even as an introduction to his work, this book is worth a read - it opens with a biographical portrait and the selection of material covers most of his written life. For Adams enthusiasts, the book is goldmine - perhaps not the mother lode, but certainly a mine containing enough nuggets to make you happy with the purchase.
One point - it is not really 'hitching the galaxy for one last time' as implied on the cover; there is only a short Hitch Hikers story here, and it has appeared elsewhere.
However, to summarise: if you've never read Adams before, this will leave you seeking more. If you already know him, this an affectionate if varied romp through his literary history.
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The Salmon of Doubt by Douglas Adams (Hardcover - May 17 2002)
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