And Another Thing… is the title of the sixth instalment of Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy "trilogy." The book, written by Eoin Colfer, author of the Artemis Fowl series, was published on the thirtieth anniversary of the first book, 12 October 2009, in hardback. It was published by Penguin Books in the UK and by Hyperion Books in the US. Colfer was given permission to write the book by Adams's widow Jane Belson.
Unlike the previous Hitchhiker's works, the title is not a quotation from the first novel but taken from the third chapter of So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, where it appears in the following passage:
"The storm had now definitely abated, and what thunder there was now grumbled over more distant hills, like a man saying "And another thing…" twenty minutes after admitting he's lost the argument."
Original cover blurb
Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy part six of three
- Tricia McMillan
- Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz
- Constant Mown
- Guide Mark II
- Hillman Hunter
Devices, Ships, and Places encountered
Devices and Items
And Another Thing... begins directly at the end of Mostly Harmless with Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Trillian, Tricia McMillan, and Random Dent standing in Club Beta on the alternate Earth which is about to be destroyed by the Grebulons under the influence of the Vogons. Following the mental cues of its secondary master, Random, the Guide Mark II traps Arthur, Ford, Trillian, and Random in a simulated "construct" in which they can live whatever lives they wish while being contained in real life in the exact seconds in which the Earth is being destroyed.
Finally running out of power to maintain their illusions and place in time after what seems to them to be decades, the Guide Mk. II calls them all together, informs them of what happened, and they return to reality – and imminent death at the hands of the Grebulons. Tricia and later the Guide Mk. II are eliminated by the Grebulon death beams, a fate expected by the others, before the sudden appearance of the Heart of Gold and Zaphod Beeblebrox, whose motives for coming to Earth are explained later. Back aboard the ship, it is discovered that Zaphod's second head, Left Brain, is now detached and acting as ship's computer. In a logic debate over the improbability of the Heart of Gold saving Ford and Arthur from doom near Earth twice, Ford accidentally freezes Left Brain and thus stops the ship from saving them.
They are finally, though rudely to Zaphod, brought to safety by Wowbagger, The Infinitely Prolonged's equally sudden arrival, due to his ill-timed attempt to go and insult Earthlings. Angered by Wowbagger's insults, Zaphod promises to try and get Wowbagger killed, something he also desires very much. To try and accomplish this they set off in search of Thor, a class A god and an old acquaintance of Zaphod, and see if a being of that power is able to kill an immortal. Meanwhile, Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz is satisfied to have finally destroyed all Earths from all points on the probability axis, but then is angered to hear rumours of a colony of Earthmen still alive near and created by the people of Magrathea, and sets off to destroy them. Arthur realises about the colony and attempts to try and get Wowbagger to head to stop the Vogons.
On the Earth colony, the deliberately overly Irish leader Hillman Hunter is seeking out applicants to be the new planet Nano's god, from Gaia to Cthulhu, in order to keep Hillman in charge due to divine providence. Meanwhile Zaphod, having reached the godly planet of Asgard tries to reach Thor, instead, he is shot out of airlocks, taunted, and overall not that well treated by the gods. Meanwhile, Jeltz's son Constant Mown is having rather un-Vogon thoughts, actually wanting to save the humans. Wowbagger and Random get into an argument and she is eventually drugged and "tubed" by Wowbagger. Afterwards, Trillian and Wowbagger fight also but in the end. they share a kiss.
Random is less than impressed with her mother and Wowbagger's actions and bemoans them to Ford, who is spending his less than respected employer's money on many extravagant luxuries while drinking. After trying to reassure Random, she walks off thankful and sweet, only for Ford to find that it was a pretence to buy something using his limitless company credit card. Elsewhere on the ship, Arthur ponders with Wowbagger's ship computer, which for him has taken the form of the lost Fenchurch from his memories.
Meanwhile back on Asgard, Zaphod completes two of the tasks assigned to him by the god Heimdall and is struggling to get away from the god's dragons. Attempting to bribe them he accidentally triggers the planet's defence systems which leads to missiles taking out some of the dragons and gives Zaphod a chance to run to complete his final challenge to scale a wall. Angered Heimdall rushes and grabs Zaphod by the throat just before he reaches the wall, but by evoking the god's secret name he learned from Thor, is able to gain access to the thunder god. After comforting the emotionally distraught Heimdall over his name and lot in life Zaphod sets off to have his beer with Thor. Zaphod makes his way through Valhalla meeting reanimated Norse and various other strange and magical things, before finally meeting Thor. After a tense meeting given the reason Zaphod and Thor were no longer friends, Zaphod is able to talk to his old godly acquaintance.
Things on Nano are not going as planned and Hillman is struggling to find his god to keep order, as well as trying to control the Megrathean's building the planet, and his own populace. The book goes into detail about Hillman having created a religion based on salvation from a coming apocalypse in order to get the money of rich people, only for the Grebulons to create such an apocalypse. Having received an offer from the otherworldly Zaphod, Hillman and his followers had actually gone to their now under construction haven of Nano (actually named after Hillman's favourite grandmother). The plan has proven less of a haven then intended with staff abandoning their former rich employers and groups of new rival religions, most importantly the Cheese worshipping Tyromancers, fighting Hillman's rule of Nano. During a battle of this civil war between the Nanites and the Tyromancers, the Heart of Gold and Thor suddenly arrive, waiting to make a video fight that will return Thor to stardom after an ill-advised video made by Zaphod years earlier.
The dark matter travel of Wowbagger's ship has many emotional effects on its travellers. Trillian and Wowbagger's new found affections, Arthur's contemplations with the Fenchurch computer, and Random's further fury. With these thoughts, they land on Nano and are meet by Hillman's Cheese worshipping enemies. Meanwhile, Zaphod negotiates Thor to be Nano's god and reveals that his troubles are caused by a version of himself from a parallel universe which Zaphod also sold Nano too. It was his attempt to do try this yet again that had lead Zaphod to Earth in time to save Arthur and the rest. With Wowbagger organized for show reasons to represent the Tyromancers and Thor representing Nano, not to mention their own conflicts over Wobagger having "stolen" Thor's long ship the Tanngrisnir, the two meet. However, Wowbagger now has something to live for.
The battle begins, with Thor trying his best to make a good show of it, only Wowbagger doesn't die when hit. Thor is concerned about how this will affect his comeback while Wowbagger does not know whether or not he wants to die anymore. Random's package arrives through interstellar freight, the rubber bands involved in Wowbagger's transformation to immortality – and the only thing it seems that can hurt him. Putting the bands on his hammer Mjöllnir, Thor strikes Wowbagger up into the air, causing Trillian to faint in panic. Arthur rehabilitates her, and feeling sympathy with her plight given his loss of Fenchurch confronts Random over what she had given to the god. After forcing the information out of her, Arthur approaches Zaphod and Thor. With Trillian's assistance, Thor is persuaded to let him live. For show Wowbagger denounces the Cheese he was supposed to be fighting for and thus returns stability to Nano with Thor as the one god. Thereafter Wowbagger, now a mortal and Trillian fly off together in his ship to enjoy the time they both have left.
Meanwhile, the Vogons are approaching. Following his contractual obligation to Nano, and to boost his ratings, Thor goes up and deflects the Vogon missiles. Meanwhile, much to Constant Mown's apprehension, Prostentic Jeltz orders the use of an experimental anti-god missile titled QUEST. Trying to deactivate the bomb Thor is apparently destroyed, and the people of Nano await death with Arthur, Ford, and Random wondering if this time the Vogons will actually destroy a planet with them on it. Springing into action on his developing moral doubts Mown takes out the Vogon gunner and uses the argument that their orders are to kill Earthlings and not Nanites, legally two distinct groups, to try and get Jeltz to turn around and head home. Jeltz agrees to his argument and is proud of his son's ability to follow law and bureaucracy, even though he would not approve of his true reasons if known. Zaphod and Hillman tell the people that Thor is Nano's martyr and that all commands he will issue shall henceforth come from Hillman, only for him to be sliced in two by a piece of bomb debris.
Luckily Hillman's death is short as the Heart of Gold medical bay restores him to full health, with only one minor change – the addition of hooves rather than feet. This has helped him win over the populace under his leadership coupled with Thor's martyrdom. Still, he is displeased once he finds himself swamped with civic paperwork. Zaphod sets off to work on his re-election campaign for the Galactic Presidency with Left Brain after saying goodbye to his semi-cousin, who has stayed behind to study and sample the best Nano has to offer – for the sake of hitchhikers reading the Guide. Up in space, a very much alive Thor is pleased to learn of his video rise back to fame, and the success of his "martyrdom" trick. QUEST, as it turns out, was just another scam of Zaphod's. Arthur and Random settle into their new lives on Nano, and Random becomes Hillman's new assistant to help handle the increasing paperwork and to kindle her own political ambitions that started with her life in the "construct."
Constant Mown meanwhile tries to assure himself that he did the right thing, after finally reaching this conclusion, his father calls in and proudly calls his son an "utter bastard." "Not yet" Mown decides, "not yet." Arthur soon grows weary of staying on Nano – despite his daughter's slightly improved temperament – and tries to convince Ford to go travelling with him just like in "the old days." Ford claims to be too busy with his "research" so Arthur goes alone in the guise of checking up on his daughter's chosen university. On the way through hyperspace, he is shocked to see a version of Fenchurch talking absently to him, moving onto a different anecdote she says "and another thing..." before a distraught Arthur finds himself dematerialising from the shuttle. Once, a reemerging Arthur is on an isolated beach – almost identical to the one he lived in inside the "construct" - only for him to discover that even here he has Vogon trouble. The book ends with some contemplation on Arthur's bad luck.
Adams' intended sixth novel
Prior to his death, Adams had felt the need to continue the story: "I suspect at some point in the future I will write a sixth Hitchhiker book...," and "People have said, quite rightly, that Mostly Harmless is a very bleak book. And it was a bleak book. I would love to finish Hitchhiker on a slightly more upbeat note, so five seems to be a wrong kind of number; six is a better kind of number."
In referring to the Dirk Gently book he was then working on, Adams said, "A lot of the stuff which was originally in The Salmon of Doubt really wasn't working." Before he died, Adams had planned on "salvaging some of the ideas that I couldn't make work in a Dirk Gently framework and putting them in a Hitchhiker framework... and for old time's sake I may call it The Salmon of Doubt."
The announcement of And Another Thing… was made on 16 September 2008. Although Colfer spoke of "semi-outrage" at the initial idea of another author contributing to the series, he came to regard the book as "a wonderful opportunity to work with characters I have loved since childhood and give them something of my own voice while holding on to the spirit of Douglas Adams." Adams' widow, Jane Belson, said that she "could not think of a better person to transport Arthur, Zaphod and Marvin to pastures new" and gave the project her full support. Marvin was not in fact featured in the new novel.
When the announcement was made on the BBC Radio 4's news show The Today Programme, a special sketch starring Simon Jones as Arthur Dent (whom he played in the radio and television series) was broadcast. In it, Arthur was angry at the news that he had been "brought back from the dead."
A reception was held at the Penguin offices in London on 9 March 2009 to launch the cover of the book and announce the related marketing activity which is to include the BBC, with their CDs of the radio series, and Pan with their reissues of the first five books of the trilogy. As part of the book's promotion, a website is collecting Twitter-style messages from visitors, to be "transmitted into deep space" on the day of the book's launch.
Waterstones' science-fiction buyer Michael Rowley described the match of Colfer and Hitchhiker's as "an inspired combination", although there were defensive reactions from some Hitchhiker's fans who expressed regret that "a complete unique series can't remain untouched" and hoped Colfer wouldn't "completely ruin the books."
And Another Thing... has been adapted and abridged for BBC Radio 4's Book at Bedtime, in 10 parts, from 12th - 23rd October 2009. It was abridged by Penny Leicester, read by Stephen Mangan, with Peter Serafinowicz as the voice of The Guide, and produced by Heather Larmour.
It was then realized as a full-cast audio drama in early 2018 By BBC Radio 4, with all the surviving actors from the previous radio series reprising their roles. While adhering to the general structure of Colfer's book, this radio adaptation also included some occasional bits of unheard writings from Douglas Adams.