Douglas Adams's Starship Titanic

Douglas Adams's Starship Titanic

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Overview

Arguably the greatest collaboration in the whole history of comedy!

Bestselling author Douglas Adams wrote the storyline based on his CD-ROM game of the same name (as this novel, not as him, obviously).

Terry Jones of Monty Python wrote the book. In the nude! Parents be warned! Most of the words in this book were written by a naked man!

So. You want to argue with that? All right, we give in.

Starship Titanic is the greatest, most fabulous, most technologically advanced interstellar cruise line ever built. It is like a cross between the Queen Mary, the Chrysler Building, Tutankhamen's tomb, and Venice. Furthermore, it cannot possibly go wrong. . . .

Sadly, however, seconds after its launch it undergoes SMEF, or Spontaneous Massive Existence Failure. And disappears.

Except, everything's got to be somewhere.

Coming home that night, on a little known planet called Earth, Dan and Lucy Gibson find something very large and very, very shiny sticking into their house. . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345368430
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/27/1998
Edition description: FIRST
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 544,414
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 10.60(h) x 0.58(d)

About the Author

Terry Jones is one of the original creators of Monty Python's Flying Circus. He is also a film and television director, a scriptwriter, a medieval scholar, and author of various children's books, including the award-winning The Saga of Erik the Viking and (with Michael Palin) Dr. Fegg's Encyclopedia of All World Knowledge. He lives in London.

Read an Excerpt

None of them could have told you how long the attack went on for, but it seemed like several lifetimes to the three figures huddled on the Captain's Bridge. The noise, the vibration, the crashing and bucking of the giant Starship went on and on. . . .

When it was all over, they waited and then stood up, trembling and shaking. The first wave was returning to the main fleet; meanwhile, a second wave was peeling off.

"Here they come again!" yelled Dan, and he and Lucy ducked down once more beneath the console. But The Journalist remained standing, with a curious expression on his face.

Lucy and Dan braced themselves for the gunfire . . . but it didn't come. Instead there was an odd "rather unmartial" banging on the hull of the ship.

"Yassaccans!" muttered The Journalist. Both Lucy and Dan assumed this was another alien expletive and remained under cover, but then The Journalist nudged Dan and said: "Look!"

Dan cautiously put his head above the console and peered out of the window: the second wave of spaceships had pulled up all around the Starship, and an army of short and stocky spacesuited figures were swarming over the hull, hammering and welding as they went.

"What the blazes?" asked Dan.

"They're repairing the damage," explained The Journalist. "Yassaccans are like that! They hate injuring hardware!"

Meanwhile the voice boomed out over the loudspeakers again: "We shall recommence our attack as soon as the first damage has been repaired! If you do not surrender, we shall board and dispose of everyone we find!"

Interviews

On Wednesday, November 19th, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Douglas Adams and Terry Jones, author of DOUGLAS ADAMS' STARSHIP TITANIC.



Moderator: Welcome, Douglas Adams and Terry Jones! We're glad we could catch you for a minute during your busy tour. How are you tonight?

Terry Jones: We're having a great time tonight. In my opinion, this is the greatest tour I've been on. Though Terry says it's a bit like the Second World War.


Lucy from Virginia: Doug, I see your picture here and think you're really cute. Any chance you're single?

Terry Jones: It's very sweet of you -- but I'm married with a child. If anything should happen to them, I'll be online to you instantly.


George from Florida: Isn't there a new Dirk Gently novel out in Europe? When is that due here?

Terry Jones: No, there isn't. I started THE FAMINE OF DOUBT but dropped it to do the CD-ROM Starship Titanic. I may rework him into a Hitchhiker novel soon, where I think he'll fit better.


Fred from New York: Terry, I loved your Lady Cottington books. Any other ones forthcoming? What else are you working on right now?

Terry Jones: No other Lady Cottington books are on the way, but I am working on STRANGE STAINS AND MYSTERIOUS SMELLS with Brian Froud. At the moment I've got a film called "The Wind and the Willows," which was released last week and got rave reviews. I'm writing a new film called "Longitude" and a children's historical epic called "Knight and the Squire," about a boy in 1359.


Barry from Columbus: What is it like to go from writing about medieval times to futuristic events?

Terry Jones: Well, it's not so much a great leap as you might imagine. When you're writing about the Middle Ages, you're writing about right now; you're writing about what interests you and what you like. I like writing about fantasy whether it's in the past or future.


Tom from Ohio: Terry, you're one of the voices on the video game, right? What was it like working on the CD-ROM?

Terry Jones: It was very humiliating. I was given a huge amount of dialogue with no purpose, no meaning, and no end. It was like life, really. And I was being a parrot, which again is a lot like life.


Charlie Miller from Corning, New York: What is it like working with Douglas Adams?

Terry Jones: Well, Douglas and I have known each other for 25 years, and we always knew we would collaborate on something, but until now it was only dinners. It came as a surprise to both of us, but it's been really good fun!


Elizabeth Fregget from London: Has this book been published in Britain? Do you two find that Americans receive your work differently than the English? What's the difference in senses of humor?

Terry Jones: The book isn't out in England. A lot is made of the difference, but I think it's more apparent than real. We get the best of American comedy in England, Friend, "Seinfeld," and so on, and a lot of English humor makes it here -- Python, Benny Hill, and so on. There is some humor that doesn't make it. Johnny Carson didn't make it because of the opening dialogue about what was happening in America. In translation I think the Hitchhiker books do really well in German but terribly in French.


Dylan Flipse from Williamsport, PA: What was your most and least favorite part about making the game?

Terry Jones: The most favorite part was the first meetings when everyone would get together to chuck in ideas about what should go into the scenes -- it was riotously fun. The worst part was testing things that just wouldn't work.


Matt from New York: Douglas, I loved your travel book LAST CHANCE TO SEE. I thought it was brilliant. Any chance for a follow-up along those lines?

Terry Jones: I'd love to do something like that. It won't be in the immediate future because I have a three-year-old daughter, so I don't want to be away for months at a time...maybe when she starts taking drugs....


C. Owen Marshall from Columbus, Ohio: How did you two meet?

Terry Jones: I met Terry when I turned up to be an extra at a Python shooting in 1975. He was wearing a pink frock and helping to load a nuclear device into the back of a truck. I remember thinking, When I do my first multimedia CD-ROM, this is the man I want to write the novel of it.


Michael from Nashville: Who's your favorite fiction/fantasy author?

Terry Jones: My favorites are two: P.G. Wodehouse and Kurt Vonnegut. This should not be surprising.


Doug from Avon, CT: Mr. Adams, why did you not want to write this book entirely yourself? I am a big fan of your Hitchhiker's Guide books.

Terry Jones: Because I was committed to write the game, and I couldn't write both simultaneously. Terry happened to come in and look at the stuff and asked if he could do anything else besides the parrot voice, and I said sure, write the novel. I'm not giving up writing, I just couldn't do this one, and I always wanted to collaborate with Terry. It turns out we've influenced each other in many ways over the years, and so it's a mutual thing.


Stephanie Selbert from Maryland: Which of you had more say over the final version of the book? Terry, was it difficult to write someone else's story?

Terry Jones: The way it worked out, a clear story arose from the game, which I then developed into a film treatment. And then Terry took that and wrote the novel from it. I specifically said, Take your freedom, you should not make it like the game.


Charlie Miller from Corning, New York: Who is the green life-form on the cover of the Hitchhiker books, and why is he/she/it not in the story?

Terry Jones: That green guy was nothing to do with me, it was the invention of the artist who did the covers.


Owen from Columbus Ohio: What do you do when you aren't writing?

Terry Jones: Well, I read, I play with my daughter, I play music, and when I can I scuba dive -- though I can't do a lot of that in London.


Fred from Nevada: Doug, I loved the adventure computer game based on HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE. Did you have anything to do with that? What did you think of it?

Terry Jones: I had a great deal to do with it. It was a collaboration between me and Steve Meretzky, who was the implementer who worked with me on it.


Vivica from Los Angeles: Terry, did you have anything to do with the CD-ROMs based on the Monty Python works as well?

Terry Jones: Not very much. Seventh Level produced those, Terry Gilliam had a big influence, and I came up with a few ideas.


Dylan Flipse from Williamsport, PA: What are your feelings on your old Monty Python days?

Terry Jones: Well, they were great fun. They don't seem that long ago, so I don't spend much time looking back on them. Like memories, they are my friends. I had quite a lot of laughs.


KDebbie from Texas: Terry, do you think people tend to overlook your writing talents because of your huge success with Monty Python.

Terry Jones: Well, if Python hadn't been such a big success, I might not have had a chance to exercise my writing talents!


Charlie Miller from Corning, New York: Are you planning any sequels to the book or game?

Terry Jones: No, we've got no plans at the moment, though we have talked about the film. We'll have to see how people will like it.


Dylan Flipse from Williamsport, PA: What will set this game above the rest of the schlock on the market right now?

Terry Jones: I think the graphics are superb and the animation...but also I think the linguistic component. The principal thing we've tried to do is bring into a game that's otherwise a graphics game, a natural language engine, which means you have a conversation with any character in the game. So then the characters respond in character, in context to whatever you've said. The games's still not finished so sometimes the results are spooky.


Susan from homeroom.com: Mr. Adams, have you been a fan of Monty Python?

Terry Jones: Oh, very much so! I'm a comedy generation after the Pythons -- they're ten years older -- so I was a fan in high school, kind of a rabid fan actually. They were a great influence on my writing, and Terry says on my laundry too....


Mitch from Oregon: Any plans for a full-length feature film based on HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE?

Terry Jones: Well, it's curious you should ask. We are in full negotiations right now and should have an announcement before Christmas.


Charlie Miller from Corning, New York: When will Starship Titanic (the game) be released?

Terry Jones: Early March. It's a great shame it's not out with the novel, but game development is always longer than you think it will be.


Tom from California: Can you tell us a little bit about what the video game is like? Should I read the book beforehand or will that ruin the game?

Terry Jones: No, reading the book will not help with the game. The game and the book are based on the same basic situation, but what actually happens is very different.


Dylan Flipse from Williamsport, PA: Any chance of Arthur, Ford, and the rest coming back from the dead for a sixth book?

Terry Jones: At some point, it's quite likely, though no time frame at the moment.


Moderator: Thanks to both of you for responding to our inquiries tonight! Best wishes for the rest of your tour. Goodnight!

Terry Jones: Thank you very much.


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Douglas Adams's Starship Titanic 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Terry Jones....I think no one but hime could have possibly mastered (or atleast came close to) the Adamsesque form of writing....A wonderful book for not being written by adams himself
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book! Written by a Monty Python with Douglas Adams providing the idea is a recipe for greatness! It's funny, wierd, wacky and silly, all at once.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a great book for people who like action stories, but still like to laugh. It is about the greatest luxury cruise starship in the known galaxy, or so it was rumored. It was designed to be built by the Yassacans, a humble race of highly acclaimed craftsman, but materials were too costly, and the planet Yassaca went bankrupt trying to complete it. So, the construction was moved to Bleratonia, where corners were cut. Scralontis, Leovinius's accountant, cut down on expenses by leaving things out and buying cheaper materials. Upon the launch, the ship undergoes SMEF and dissappears. Or so everybody thinks. the Starship Titanic ends up crash-landing on Earth, right in the middle of Dan and Lucys rectory. There, Dan, lucy, and Nettie board. It turns out that the whole ship is nothing but a giant spaceship shell. Also, the ship has a bomb planted on it. The only way to shut the bomb is to get Titania, the ships centeral intellegence core running again,and Titania is missing a brain piece. If they can't defuse the bomb, not only will they be taken to their fiery death, but Yassaca will not be able to collect money for the starship....
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Starship Titanic was a comical story by Terry Jones following the tradition of Douglas Adam¿s Hitchhiker¿s Guide books. It is a mock science fiction novel that takes every little aspect a real science fiction and tears it to shreds with odd plot twists and nonsense explanations of technical ideas. Robots have insecure personalities and can never seem to make sense, and the off-world aliens are so strange that one can¿t stop laughing. The story starts on a distant planet where the so called 'Galaxy¿s Greatest Genius' Levonius has just designed the biggest, most expensive, most fantastic starship ever built; the Titanic. Levonius had supervised the entire project from his home using advanced virtual-reality. On the night before the big launch Levonius decided to finally visit the ship without his virtual reality goggles. The starship looked beautiful on the outside, but he found that the inside wasn¿t even finished yet! Floors had gaping holes in them, heavy machinery was still all over the place, and worst of all, the electronics were in a chaotic conduction. Talking elevators only wanted to go up, dust sweeping robots were spilling dust instead of cleaning it up, and doorbots were trying to usher Levonius into open cement mixers. As it turned out, the builders had shown Levonius a false virtual world and had cut costs on the ship. They were going to scuttle it for the insurance money. Levonius was mad. On the day of the launch, the ship suffers Super Massive Existence Failure. The author¿s description falters here and the reader never really understands what SMEF is. Maybe that is the authors intent. Somehow though, the ship winds up on earth, and the adventure begins. Terry Jones does a very good job in his story telling. The plot he develops is basically just a bunch of out of order mumbo jumbo, but this is on purpose, and the finial effect is hilarious. Jones greatest strength is in his characterization. Not one character is without depth in the book. One even hears the sorrows of a talking bomb that can never seem to keep his countdown straight. (He never wanted to blow up anyway.) Jones shows the differences between the interplanetary cultures well, with each side thinking the others are completely out of their mind. The Starship Titanic was an entertaining work. It provided the reader with even mix of adventure and comedy. While Terry Jones plot lines and characters are a bit out of the ordinary, the reader still closes the book with an immense feeling of satisfaction. I recommend the book to anyone looking for a good laugh.
pauliharman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Passed the time. Novelisation of a computer game
patcorbett on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An odd little book, but necessary to complete the Adams collection.
Meggo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A quick read in the style of Douglas Adams. A little light, but a pleasant read.
TheDivineOomba on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It reads like as if a Douglas Adams Book was crossed with a Dr. Who episode - It is a fun read, doesn't take itself seriously. Although, it does read like a computer game script - I can just see the computer game making you run around looking for pieces of the Ship's Brain, and when a new level is triggered...
airship on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I like Terry Jones and I like Douglas Adams, but I don't particularly like 'Starship Titanic', a book written by Jones based on ideas by Adams. It's a run-of-the mill book with a few bright spots, but not as much fun as you might think. Maybe because of the names involved, I expected too much. The whole 'huge passenger starship that's doomed, kind of like the Titanic' thing was done much better, in my opinion, in the film 'The Fifth Element' with Bruce Willis and Milla Jojovich.
hrissliss on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Based on a line from D.A.'s Hitchhiker's Guide, and the computer game spinoff. Terry Brooks, of Monty Python fame. About the Starship Titanic (surprise surprise!) which seems to undergo SMEF - Spontaneous Massive Existence Failure. I'd gotten my hopes up before reading it, since it is a collaboration between two people whose humor I hold in very high esteem. But it just...fell flat. It's sort of amusing. But not. Several of the gags are ones which would make good skits (One of the characters reminds me of the skit where a couple goes to a marriage counselor, and the wife winds up hooking up with the counselor.) but horrible book premises. And Brooks seems to think that the funny name gag is just mega-hugely-HIGHlarious! Maybe if it was being read out loud or something - but if a name takes me a full minute to pronounce, I don't care how silly it is, I'm just going to skip it. While Adams' hand is obviously visible, it isn't enough to turn the trick. It's simply yawnworthy. Not hard to finish, but that's just because it's a quick read. Besides the lack of real humor, I think I hate some of the characters. I mean, the way that they're presented, it's obviously meant to make them comical - but they just come off as shallow, self-involved, manipulative. And I find myself asking the question - "Why do these people stay in these relationships?" He tries to save it in the end by explaining some of their actions - but it's too little, and far far too late. I should see signs of these emotional patterns long before page 230 of a 240 page book. While Adams might not make his characters mega-super-heroes, but he at least makes them generally sympathetic. Or understandable. 3/10
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a kid I always saw my dad reading douglas addams books. We then got a game called starship titanic I loved that game. I was told there was a book that inspired it and I just had to get it. I enjoyed the story and I recommend it.
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I love Douglas Adams. I love Monty Python. This book is absolute trash. I can't put it any more clearly than that. It should simply never have been written.
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