The Salmon of Doubt

From Academic Kids

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The_Salmon_of_Doubt_Macmillan_front.jpg
The front cover of the UK first hardcover edition of The Salmon of Doubt.

The Salmon of Doubt (full title: The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time) is a collection of previously-unpublished material by Douglas Adams, published after the author's death in 2001. English editions of the book were published in the USA and UK in May 2002, exactly one year after the author's death. It consists largely of a compilation of essays, most of which have a technological edge, but its major selling point is the inclusion of the novel on which Adams was working when he died (and from which the collection gets its title).

The actual manuscript of the proposed novel is extremely short and only gives a glimpse of what The Salmon of Doubt would have been. It is composed of the best content out of several drafts (as were many of Adams' books). The book is set a few weeks after the events in The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul. The existing plot involves Dirk Gently, the detective protagonist of two earlier Adams novels, refusing to help find half a missing cat, receiving large amounts of money from an unknown client, and then flying to the United States, although Adams had not yet decided where to, and at this point the story slows down and ends. As promised in the beginning, we do not go through a rhinoceros.

After refusing the case about the missing half of a cat, Dirk Gently pays a visit to Kate Schechter (the first time any character other than Dirk reappeared in a "Dirk Gently" story). Dirk tells Kate that prior to the potential client with half a cat, he had been so bored that he had started a habit of dialing his own phone number, and discovered that he'd answered his own call. This may have been foreshadowing some sort of time travel later on.

One of the interviews reprinted in the book reveals that Adams did not like the ending he wrote to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy "trilogy", and realised that the ideas he had been working on for Salmon of Doubt might work better as a sixth book in that series. In the book, Dirk follows around a ginger haired actor; Ford Prefect is described as having ginger-coloured hair, and his disguise during his stay on Earth includes his being an out-of-work actor. It is possible that this is him, and forms a link between the two series, or that the text was in a state of metamorphosis from one to the other – but no one will ever know.

There are slight differences in varying editions of the book. The UK edition includes a foreword by Stephen Fry, and the US edition, instead, has an introduction by Christopher Cerf. The audiobook edition consists of 7 CDs, mostly read by Simon Jones, but also includes both of the aforementioned introductions, read by their respective authors, as well as the tributes written and read by Professor Richard Dawkins. Paperback editions have yet another introduction, written by Terry Jones, and omit some material due to issues with copyright.


Early editions of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, printed circa 1988, have a blurb on the cover reading, "The Dazzling Bestseller By the Author of The Salmon of Doubt".


Preceded by:
Series:
The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul Dirk Gently series
hu:A kétség lazaca

fr:Fonds de Tiroir

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