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The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul is a 1988 humorous fantasy detective novel by Douglas Adams. It is the second book by Adams featuring private detective Dirk Gently, the first being Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. The title is a phrase which appeared in Adams' novel Life, the Universe and Everything to describe the wretched boredom of immortal being Wowbagger, the Infinitely Prolonged, and is a play on the theological treatise Dark Night of the Soul, by Saint John of the Cross.
The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul Plot summaryEdit
- The central premise of the book is that gods are created by humans' necessity and desire for them, and, once worshipped by man, don't disappear but remain on earth forever. Because nobody worships them, many become destitute, like the tramps whom Dirk witnesses entering Valhalla.
- Odin makes Thor accidentally transmogrify objects when he gets angry, in a bid to delay him getting to Norway and finding the Draycotts' contract.
- The eagle that pursues Dirk and Thor is the transformed jet fighter that tries to stop him from getting to Norway. Thor's inability to fly to Norway using his hammer is why he needs to visit the airport at the opening of the novel.
- Odin makes contact with the Draycotts after seeing one of Cynthia Draycott's adverts for a soft drink, which seemingly involve various gods promoting the drink; one of these adverts is seen when Dirk confronts Anstey's son early in the book.
- Odin, like all the gods, is naive and quite literally unworldly; this is how the Draycotts are able to take advantage of him.
- One of Dirk's chief characteristics in the novel is guilt—about the fridge and about the death of Anstey, whom he should have protected. At the end of the novel, Dirk's fridge generates a new god of Guilt; it is implied this stops Toe Rag and the green monster from preventing Thor from finally retrieving the contract in Norway.
- The gods' world exists in parallel with our own - where St Pancras railway station is Valhalla.
The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul AdaptationsEdit
A BBC radio adaptation, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, starring Harry Enfield, Peter Davison, John Fortune and Stephen Moore was broadcast on October 2008.
A BBC TV series based on the two completed Dirk Gently novels has also been announced to be in the planning stages.
The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul Release detailsEdit
The original edition of the book was written and typeset on an Apple Macintosh II and an Apple LaserWriter II NTX, while the software used was FullWrite Professional.
- 1988, UK, William Heinemann (ISBN 0-434-00921-0), Pub date 10 October 1988, Hardcover
- 1989, US, Simon & Schuster (ISBN 0-671-62583-7), Pub date 1 March 1989, Hardcover
- 1989, UK, Chivers P (ISBN 0-86220-323-6), Pub date 3 October 1989, Hardcover
- 1989, UK, Pan Macmillan (ISBN 0-330-30955-2), Pub date 13 October 1989, Paperback
- 1990, US, Pocket Books (ISBN 0-671-69404-9), Pub date 2 January 1990, Paperback
- 1991, US, Pocket Books (ISBN 0-671-74251-5), Pub date ? February 1991, Paperback
- 1998, UK, ISIS Audio Books (ISBN 0-7531-0473-3), Pub date ? October 1998, ?
- 2006, US, Phoenix Audio (rerelease, ISBN 1-59777-008-6), Pub date January 2006, compact disc