Douglas Adams was not the most skilled writer of his generation, by far. Nevertheless, his talent was to build incredible and highly entertaining stories that were smart, really funny and imaginative. The way he structured his stories were brilliant, in particular with the Dirk Gently series.
Not as popular as The Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy, the adventures of this insufferable holistic detective are just a delight for those who love a bit of absurdity with a spark of intelligence.
Now, there’s a second TV show and, if I like it, it’s not really the Dirk Gently that Adams created. The writer drew some clear ideas from the books, and some less interesting from the comic books — that he helped write. It lacks the British humor and suffer from to much American sensibility, but it’s still fun to watch. In a way, it’s better than the BBC4 series, but Stephen Mangan was a more convincing Gently. It’s my opinion, of course.
In the end, we are here to talk about the literary version. So, where to start and where to end.
Who’s Dirk Gently?
Svlad Cjelli also known as Dirk Gently is a detective, a holistic detective to be accurate. He uses the fundamental interconnectedness of all things to solve mysteries. Even if he doesn’t want to believe in such things, Gently is a psychic.
Dirk Gently’s books by Douglas Adams
The original material. The novels can be read independently from one another, but it’s better to read them in that order :
- Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (1987)
- The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (1988)
- The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time (2002) – optional. Published posthumously, sadly unfinished, contain short stories.
Dirk Gently’s comic books (IDW)
Same Gently, new writers. The first two TPBs published by IDW are not connected to the TV show, but Max Landis was involved in the writing of the second mini-series, A Spoon Too Short, which happened to be the first to read.
- Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency: A Spoon Too Short – takes place after The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul.
- Dirk Gently: The Salmon of Doubt – written by the producers of the TV show, with characters from Adams books and from the TV Show.
- Dirk Gently: The Interconnectedness of All Kings – The first comic book published, but the story is not really in the continuity after Max Landis put his hands in the Gently universe. It’s just good to read it after for now, maybe it will change at some point in the near future.
Also, Dirk Gently’s Big Holistic Graphic Novel – Containing “The Interconnectedness of All Kings”, “A Spoon Too Short” and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Dirk Gently TV show.