Best 1988 Adventures (4)

By: Joshua Glenn
March 21, 2020

One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1988 adventure novels.

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Douglas Adams‘s crime/sci-fi adventure The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul.

In Dirk Gently’s second outing, London’s one and only holistic detective is consumed with guilt when his client, a record label executive, is found decapitated; he’s assumed that the man’s ravings about a seven-foot-tall, scythe-wielding monster, and a contract signed in blood, and something about potatoes, were mere delusions. The perpetually broke, intermittently psychic private eye investigates the matter — and in doing so uncovers a pseudo-conspiracy involving (and victimizing) the Norse gods, not to mention an exploding Heathrow check-in counter, a nose-biting eagle, a malfunctioning Coca-Cola vending machine, an I Ching calculator, an attractive American woman, and a god who may have bestowed his powers on a Trump-esque lawyer. All of which are, of course, connected. Can Gently bail Odin, Thor, and the rest of the pantheon out of trouble? Will he ever clean out his refrigerator? Will he get paid? From the sublime to the ridiculous, this might as well be Adams’s motto.

Fun facts: Adams first used the mock-portentous phrase “the Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul” in Life, the Universe and Everything to describe the wretched boredom of immortality. Adams began working on a third Dirk Gently story, which he abandoned. He planned to salvage parts of it for a sixth and final installment in the Hitchhiker’s series; however, he never ended up finishing either book. The unfinished MS was published in the 2002 collection The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time.

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JOSH GLENN’S *BEST ADVENTURES* LISTS: BEST 250 ADVENTURES OF THE 20TH CENTURY | 100 BEST OUGHTS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST RADIUM AGE (PROTO-)SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TEENS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TWENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST THIRTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST GOLDEN AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FORTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FIFTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SIXTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST NEW WAVE SCI FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SEVENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST EIGHTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST DIAMOND AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST NINETIES ADVENTURES (in progress) | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | NOTES ON 21st-CENTURY ADVENTURES.

Categories

Adventure, Lit Lists

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