I’ve been reading alot of serious shit lately. Or, at least, that’s what folks’ve been trying to tell me. I’m not sure about that, really, because what gives you a kick of laughter as much as August Strindberg telling you in explizit detail how much he hates dogs and how he loathes the people owning them. And Strindberg’s supposed to be hard to read? Depressive? No, no, no. Check out Strindberg and Helium.
Either way, I was looking to read some intentional comedies, not just your average Old Testament, and thought immediately at Douglas Adams‘ Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but I couldn’t find it anywhere.. I asked my brother about this, suspecting he’d read it and threw it away with his books, but he stated that he hadn’t. So, I had to settle with something similar and – if possible – equally funny.
I found Colony by Rob Grant. It begins by introducing us to Eddie O’Hare, probably the most unlucky person alive. We’re at the arctic areas at a artificial city, a genuine Las Vegas, called Afortunado. Eddie here, or more correctly: Eddie’s computer, has stolen an unbelieveable amount of money from an enterprise not too eager to let it all pass. In fifteen minutes he’s spent all of his life savings, trying to win that x amount of millions back in the casino, before the grunts sent out to kill him or retrieve the money actually reach him. Now he’s standing looking out of the window clutching his fists around a fifty dollar chip, which is all he has left. That, and his miserable, miserable excuse for an eventful life.
Eddie is a really amusing character I can tell you. From the very beginning Grant got me on Eddie’s side, especially after mentioning Eddie’s habit of ruining any sexual activities with flashbacks of unarousing incidents, like seeing a desperate gambler eager to sell his penis for a handfull of cash. Still, I’d say the author kind of looses his maincharacter, closing in on the last chapters. Eddie’s changing, and for no apparent reason at all. Why change the only really funny person in the book?
A large chain of coincidents places Eddie among the elite of the human kind that has been picked out (by themselves?) to bring the human race into the future, since Earth is collapsing à la The Day after Tomorrow. Unfortunately, they’re all idiots. It doesn’t end there. Since nobody knows how long it will take for the ship (named the Willflower) to reach another habitable planet, they’ve charted a mating-scheme lasting for generations. Somewhere along the line something has gone wrong, though. Eddie dies, more or less, in Generation I, but is revived in Generation X, to a situation that leaves only a small hope of mankind’s survival. And, after what Eddie’s seen of it, it being inbred over centuries, does he actually wants to save it? You’ll have to read the book.
I had a few really good laughs, but adding it all up now, I can say that this is far from a Hitchhiker’s guide as in memorable events. Eddie is without a doubt the glue in the story, making it worthwhile turning the one page after the other until you reach the oh-so-boring-and-utterly-cliché ending..
Out of six, I’d give it three, allthough five out of one schizophrenics recommends it.