And Another Thing... is the sixth book in the increasingly inaccurately-namedThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy. It's notable for being the first installment of the series not written by its creator, Douglas Adams, but by Eoin Colfernote although it's very difficult to tell at times and painfully easy at others, author of the Artemis Fowl series (not counting Starship Titanic, a tie-in novel written by Terry Jones of Monty Python fame). The book was released on October 12, 2009, to coincide with the thirtieth anniversary of the first book's original publication. Its storyline follows directly from where the fifth book, Mostly Harmless, left off.Seconds before the Grebulons (the clueless, would-be alien invaders from Mostly Harmless) demolish the alternate-universe Earth as part of a crafty gambit set up by the Vogons over the course of the previous books, our protagonists (Arthur Dent, his daughter Random, her mother Trillian Astra, and their friend Ford Prefect) are given one last shot at self-preservation by the Guide Mk. II, who abandoned Vogon Jeltz's side to fulfill Random's dying wish.Almost at once, the gang is rescued by Galactic President Zaphod Beeblebrox, who, apparently, had been up to some very funny business since his last appearance. Now endebted to Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged, an aeons-old immortal, the President embarks on a quest to meet with the Nordic thunder-god Thor to fulfill his part of a very odd bargain. Meanwhile, Arthur Dent is elated, and the Vogons are very displeased, to find that the human species may yet live on, in the depths of a faraway dark nebula... (bohm bohm bohhhhm!!)Features a guest appearance by Cthulhu. It all makes sense in context.Preceded by Mostly Harmless.
And Another Thing... provides examples of the following tropes:
Aborted Arc: So, what about Vann Harl and Infini-Dim Enterprises? Last we heard, they were still utterly in control of distributing the Guide, as there has been no word on whether Ford's attempt to drain the company of its assets by spending excessively from his company-issued credit card came to any success. At one point, Ford himself mentions that he's still working on that, but will the question ever be revisited? It's improbable...
Age-Inappropriate Dress: Arthur's school uniform which Wowbagger's ship forces him to wear. Oddly, it's not really milked for humor all that much.
All Myths Are True: Of the various beings interviewed for the new protector deity of Nano, among them are Thor (in a call back to the second book), Hecate, and Cthulhu, among plenty of others. Norse mythology gets a lot of attention, appropriately.
Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Zaphod suffers from ADHDDAAADHD (ntm) ABT, which his attention span is too short to remember. It causes him to become distracted by twinkly lights whenever people are discussing topics other than him.
Bittersweet Ending: Arthur, sucked into a wormhole just as Fenchurch did between books four and five, finds himself stranded on an island very similar to the one he'd fantasized about in the Guide Mk. II's Lotus-Eater Machine. It's a place of absolute peace... until he's made aware that the Vogons are on their way. Made even more bittersweet by the fact that the story is now almost certainly over. Unless you thought it was funny.
And made even worse when one considers that (A) this happened just seconds after Fenchurch appeared right beside him, talking as if they'd never been separated and (B) EVERYONE ELSE got a happy ending. Trillian, Wowbagger, Ford, Zaphod, Random Dent, Thor, the people of Nano, even Agrajag, even the friggin' Vogons. In one book the universe was actually explicitly stated to hate Arthur.
Made even worse than that when you remember that Douglas Adams was going to have a happy ending in book six (Before the Trope-Naming Author Existence Failure)
Brick Joke: One of the Guide entries near the beginning of the book tells how Fenrir was disintegrated as a result of driving into a white hole (all except for one of his molars, which became an asteroid). He's mentioned in passing (though not by name) near the end of the book, and then a few pages later said asteroid makes a brief appearance.
Broad Strokes: Since the book it follows on from was largely set on an alternate Earth, and established that Earthers jump parallel universe at random, it probably makes sense to Retcon Fenchurch's Earth as being one of these, rather than getting into all the stuff about the dolphins.
Butt Monkey: Arthur, of course. Ford suffers more verbal abuse than usual and becomes a bit self-conscious about his chin, not to mention Wowbagger and the Guide Mk. II both opining that he's not very clever. And the narrative reckons he's out of shape, and Arthur thinks he's not a very eloquent writer...
Camp Straight: Zaphod wears boots with silver high heels, may or may not be wearing eyeliner, and seems very concerned about his hair. Nonetheless, he'd like to go down in history as a "great satisfier of women".
Character Exaggeration: Zaphod has become even stupider, less prone to thinking things through and with a shorter attention span. Explained by the fact that he's had one of his heads removed and as such only has half the amount of brains as before.
The Comically Serious: Arthur, in-universe. Ford (high on a Fantastic Drug) and Zaphod (high on life) find it hilarious that he's startled to hear a knock on the door in a spaceship in flight.
Arthur was kind enough to provide both a delayed reaction and a double take for the entertainment of the Betelgeuseans. "You get it. It's your... arkkkkk!" "You're funny, buddy!" howled Ford, punching his shoulder. "Didnít I tell you, cousin? Iíve been telling you for years. Arthur is a riot."
Continuity Nod / Mythology Gag: Colfer makes numerous references to people and places that Adams originally used as one-off jokes in previous books and adaptations.
The most significant of these is Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged, who becomes a major character in this book after only appearing in three scenes of Life, the Universe, and Everything. And making an appearance in The Salmon of Doubt.
Thor only had one scene in LTUAE. He first appeared in a brief cameo at The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Although clearly, these are two different Thors. In The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, Thor is physically intimidating, but his personality is fairly mild and non-confrontational; he even forms a childlike friendship with Kate. The Thor featured in the Hitchhiker book is an arrogant, boisterous braggart who never passes up a chance to demonstrate his machismo. Really, as a god, he could be interpreted in many different ways, even in the same world as in American Gods (assuming the theory about Ford in The Salmon of Doubt is correct). Just look at our guy.
At the beginning of the book the main characters, meeting after so much time in the stimulated universes, start to argue about how they got away from the destruction of earth. Trillian says their babel fish saved them for her side of the story. This is exactly what happens at the end of the radio show.
Corrupt Corporate Executive: Hillman Hunter. Not corrupt, per se, so much as sleazy. Bonus points for having created a phony space alien-related religion that is totally notScientology. Could be argued it was more like the Heaven's Gate cult. The whole "being taken away by aliens in a spaceship" thing.
Depower: Thor knocks the immortality out of Wowbagger during their big showdown.
Defector from Decadence: Constant Mown, a Vogon who secretly thinks there's more to life than paperwork and displays some decidedly un-Vogonish traits of compassion and basic decency. While he never actually leaves the Vogons, he does in the end dedicate his life to working against their ways within the system and hopefully reduce the amount of harm they do to others.
Dub-Induced Plot Hole: The American printing of And Another Thing... retains the original text that says Wowbagger had previously called Arthur a jerk and a complete arsehole, even though the American edition of Life, the Universe, and Everything had replaced "arsehole" with "kneebiter". Later American releases of the book seem to be unedited in this regard, so it depends on how recent the copy they read was.
House Husband: Arthur is a stay-at-home dad for a while towards the end, although since Random has a job and the intellect of an adult (although she still has the emotional problems of a teenager), he's not especially necessary. So he decides to go traveling, since he's started to actually enjoy it.
How Unscientific!: Although this isn't the first time gods have appeared, there seems to be rather a lot of them all of a sudden and they've become quite important.
Humans Are Morons: Played with: apparently Betelgeusians aren't much cleverer. This hasn't stopped Ford and Zaphod from calling Arthur a moron, although it so happens they're not doing much of that in this one.
Idle Rich: The population of Nano, leading to some of their many problems.
Inadequate Inheritor: Constant Mown, the free-spirited, paperwork-hating, protocol-neglecting son of Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz.
Inherently Funny Words: Instead of inventing inherently funny words the way Adams usually did, Colfer often uses funny-sounding real words and takes them out of context. One example is zenzizenzizenzic, an archaic mathematical term meaning "raised to the 8th power".
Innocent Prodigy: Due to her Lotus-Eater Machine experience, Random is mentally a highly experienced adult, but has the mood swings and fondness for ponies of a teenage girl, so she's basically this trope plus puberty.
In the prologue, Colfer says that if you type "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" into The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, an icon will tell you that there are three results, which is confusing because there are clearly five listed below it. Get it? The five books of the Hitchhiker's Guide trilogy!Fridge Brilliance-tastic!
It gets better: "Each of these five results is a lengthy article accompanied by many hours of video and audio files and some dramatic reconstructions featuring quite well-known actors." Which makes the description of the text-only appendix you will find at the bottom of the page, "with absolutely no audio and not so much as a frame of video shot by a student director who made the whole thing in his bedroom and paid his drama soc. mates with sandwiches", (ending "this is the story of that appendix") Self-Deprecation.
When the Guide Mk II displays "neon stick figures" to explain the plot, this might be a reference to the excellent hand-drawn "computer graphics" of the TV series.
Lotus-Eater Machine: The state of virtual reality the Guide Mk II keeps Arthur, Ford, Trillian, and Random in, as a compromise between the conflicting orders it received from Random and Jeltz. All four of them are given chances to live out long, pleasant lives within a virtual universe, while virtually no time passes in the real world, to compensate for their real lives coming to such an unsatisfying and premature end. This serves as a handy excuse for any personality changes the characters undergo due to the new author.
Inverted: the dragons guarding Asgard are ordered to kill Zaphod accidentally but make it look like a murder in order to make his death particularly confusing.
Almost played straight — but averted at the last moment when Mown manages to talk Jeltz out of destroying Nano. Thor was seconds away from smiting the bureaucruiser (and making it like debris from the earlier attack did it) when they jumped to hyperspace.
As previously discussed, the Universe has an aversion to tenderness and cannot allow it to exist for long, as every loving glance has to be balanced by a short sharp shock somewhere else in the cosmos. Sometimes not so short.
Mortality Ensues: Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged wants to die, but can't because he's been made immortal against his will. At the end he become de-immortalized, so he will eventually die. Close enough.
Oireland: Subverted with Hillman Hunter, who, as the consummate salesman, intentionally plays up every last nostalgic Irish stereotype imaginable in order to earn his clients' trust. He even bases his act on Barry Fitzgerald's character from The Quiet Man. Jaysus an' Begorrah.
Papa Wolf: Arthur tries to be this for Random, although he's naturally too hapless and bumbling to put his impulses into action.
Parental Marriage Veto: When your daughter is president of the galaxy, it's pretty hard to stop her marrying any small furry creature she so chooses.
Playing Both Sides: Zaphod set one up by effectively arming both sides in the human-Vogon conflict, one with a god and the other with a god-destroying weapon. In the end Thor's faked suicide enables them to keep the business of both (remaining Thor's manager and the Vogons' supplier. This may have been unintentional.
Plot-Relevant Age-Up: Random is aged up mentally by spending about a hundred years in a simulation, although she's still physically, hormonally, and more-or-less emotionally a teenager.
Secret Handshake: Between Ford and Zaphod, twice. Seemingly based on the strange dance they do in the film. Apparently they invented it as children.
Sequel Hook: Colfer marks the end of the book as "The end of one of the middles." It's a semi-meaningful gag. Earlier in the book, when talking about endings, there's a quote that says "there is no such thing as an ending, or a beginning for that matter, everything is middle".
Sickeningly Sweethearts: Trillian and Wowbagger realize they've been acting like this even though they don't enjoy it and would rather insult people.
Slap-Slap-Kiss: Or in Trillian and Wowbagger's case — "Snark Snark Kiss."
Sneaky Departure: Zaphod stole some hearts and some gold while on Nano and decides a quiet exit would be best, although Ford shows up to see him off.
''Arthur lay on his bunk looking up at the sky to where Fenchurch hovered on a cloud wearing the same dark jeans, high boots and sodden T-shirt that she wore when he had first seen her, passed out in the back of her arsehole brotherís car. "Does the T-shirt have to be wet?" asked the computer. "What? Oh, God, no. Sorry, of course not. I am such an idiot." "Just trying to be accurate, I expect. I can portray this Fenchurch person naked, if youíd like."
Who Wants to Live Forever?: Wowbagger. Eventually averted, when he gets cured of his immortality without being killed outright, giving him a chance to spend his short-ish life with Trillian.
Writers Suck: Everyone including the narrator's got it out for Ford in this one.
Ford arrived huffing. He was a writer and unaccustomed to physical exercise.
Write Who You Know: Colfer, who is Irish, creates the first Irish character to appear in the Hitchhiker's series.
Yank the Dog's Chain: Arthur. His daughter loves him, he's got a peaceful life, the Vogons have been staved off, and he's briefly reunited with a version of Fenchurch... before he's sucked away in hyperspace and stuck on a beach just as the Vogons are arriving.