What do a dead cat, a computer whiz-kid, an Electric Monk who believes the world is pink, quantum mechanics, a Chronologist over 200 years old, Samuel Taylor Coleridge (poet), and pizza have in common?
Apparently, not much: until Dirk Gently, self-styled private investigator, sets out to prove the fundamental interconnectedness of all things by solving a mysterious murder, assisting a mysterious professor, unravelling a mysterious mystery, and eating a lot of pizza - not to mention saving the entire human race from extinction along the way (at no extra charge).
To find out more, read this book (better still, buy it and then read it) - or contact Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.
This international bestseller is the third installment (of five) in the zany space opera known as the Ford Prefect and Arthur Dent have been stranded for five years on prehistoric Earth. They escape from this predicament via a Chesterfield sofa and arrive at a cricket match, where they are immediately faced with their next challenge: preventing the release of an imprisoned race of xenophobic aliens bent on exterminating all other life forms in the universe. Fans of the BBC TV show will be interested to note that the novel is a reworked treatment for a proposed film based on the series. And more detail-oriented types may want to know that the American version of the book has some additional text concerning the galactic rudeness of the word Belgium, which allows Belgium to be used throughout as profanity instead of a four-letter word beginning with F that's used in the British edition.
Although Kingsley Amis's acid satire of postwar British academic life has lost some of its bite in the four decades since it was published, it's still a rewarding read. And there's no denying how big an impact it had back then-- could be considered the first shot in the Oxbridge salvo that brought us , , and so much more.
In , Amis introduces us to Jim Dixon, a junior lecturer at a British college who spends his days fending off the legions of malevolent twits that populate the school. His job is in constant danger, often for good reason. hits the heights whenever Dixon tries to keep a preposterous situation from spinning out of control, which is every three pages or so. The final example of this--a lecture spewed by a hideously pickled Dixon--is a chapter's worth of comic nirvana. The book is not politically correct (Amis wasn't either), but take it for what it is, and you won't be disappointed.
When a passenger check-in desk at Terminal Two, Heathrow Airport, shot up through the roof engulfed in a ball of orange flame the usual people tried to claim responsibility. First the IRA, then the PLO and the Gas Board. Even the British Nuclear Fuels rushed out a statement to the effect that the situation was completely under control, that it was a one in a million chance, that there was hardly any radioactive leakage at all, and that the site of the explosion would make a nice location for a day out with the kids and a picnic, before finally having to admit that it wasn't actually anything to do with them at all.
No rational cause could be found for the explosion - it was simply designated an act of God. But, thinks Dirk Gently, which God? And why? What God would be hanging around Terminal Two of Heathrow Airport, trying to catch the 15.37 to Oslo?
Inside Mr Enderby is a the first volume in the four-book Enderby series of comic novels by the British author Anthony Burgess.
The book was first published in 1963 in London by William Heinemann under the pseudonym Joseph Kell. The series began in 1963 with the publication of this book, and concluded in 1984 with Enderby's Dark Lady, or No End to Enderby (after a ten year break following the publication of the third novel in the series, The Clockwork Testament, or Enderby's End).
The story opens on a note of pure fantasy, showing schoolchildren from the future taking a field trip through time to see the dyspeptic poet Francis Xavier Enderby while he is asleep. Enderby, a lapsed Catholic in his mid-40's, lives alone in Brighton as a 'professional' poet – his income being interest from investments left to him by his stepmother.
Enderby composes his poetry whilst seated on the toilet. His bathtub, which serves as a filing cabinet, is almost full of the mingled paper and food scraps that represent his efforts. Although he is recognised as a minor poet with several published works (and is even awarded a small prize, the 'Goodby Gold Medal', which he refuses), he has yet to be anthologised.
He is persuaded to leave his lonely but poetically fruitful bachelor life by the editor of a woman's magazine, Vesta Bainbridge, after he accidentally sends her a love poem instead of a complaint about a recipe in her magazine. The marriage, which soon ends, costs Enderby dearly, alienating him from his muse and depriving him of his financial independence.
Months pass, and Enderby is able to write only one more poem. After spending what remains of his capital, he attempts suicide with an overdose of aspirin, experiencing disgusting (and rather funny) visions of his stepmother as he nears death. His cries of horror bring help, and he regains consciousness in a mental institution, where the doctors persuade him to renounce his old, "immature" poetry-writing self. Rechristened "Piggy Hogg", he looks forward contentedly to a new career as a bartender.
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