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Douglas Adams's Starship Titanic
by Terry Jones
ISBN 0609601032 / 9780609601037 / 0-609-60103-2
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In this thoroughly satisfying and completely disorienting novel based on a story line by Douglas Adams (author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), Terry Jones recounts an unforgettable tale of intergalactic travel and mishap. The saga of "the ship that cannot possibly go wrong" sparkles with wit, danger, and confusion that will keep readers guessing which reality they are in and how, on earth, to find their way out again.
At the center of the galaxy, a vast, unknown civilization is preparing for an event of epic proportions: the launching of the greatest, most gorgeous, most technologically advanced Starship ever built-the Starship Titanic.
An earthling would see it as a mixture of the Chrysler Building, the tomb of Tutankhamen, and Venice. But less provincial onlookers would recognize it as the design of Leovinus, the galaxy's most renowned architect. He is an old man now, and the creation of the Starship Titanic is the pinnacle achievement of his twenty-year career.
The night before the launch, Leovinus is prowling around the ship having a last little look. With mounting alarm he begins to find things are not right: unfinished workmanship, cybersystems not working correctly, robots colliding with doors. How could this have happened? And how could this have happened without his knowing?
Something somewhere is terribly wrong.
On the following day, in an artificial event staged for the media, the Starship Titanic will leave its construction dock under autopilot and, a few days later, make its way to the terminal to pick up passengers for its maiden voyage. Although the ship will be deserted during its very first flight, it is nevertheless a major event, watched by all the galaxy's media.
Hugely, magnificently, the fabulous ship eases its way forward from the construction dock, picks up speed, sways a bit, wobbles a bit, veers wildly, and just before it can do massive damage to everything around it, appears to undergo SMEF (Spontaneous Massive Existence Failure).
In just ten seconds, the whole, stupendous enterprise is over. And our story has just begun.
Somehow three earthlings, one Blerontin journalist, a semideranged parrot, and a shipful of disoriented robots must overcome their differences. It's the only way to save the Starship Titanic ("The Ship That Cannot Possibly Go Wrong") from certain destruction and rescue the economy of an entire planet-not to mention to survive the latest threat, an attack by a swarm of hostile shipbuilders. . . . [via]