The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

Last updated

The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
Long dark tea time of soul UK.jpg
The front cover of the UK first hardcover edition of The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul.
Author Douglas Adams
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Series Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
Genre Comedy, science fiction
Publisher William Heinemann
Publication date
10 October 1988
Media typePrint (hardback & paperback) & Audio Book (Cassette, CD)
Pages256 (hardcover), 320 (paperback)
ISBN 0-434-00921-0 (hardcover edition) & ISBN   0-671-74251-5 (US paperback edition)
OCLC 59213038
Preceded by Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency  
Followed by The Salmon of Doubt  

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 that 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.

Fantasy Genre of literature, film, television and other artforms

Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction set in a fictional universe, often inspired by real world myth and folklore. Its roots are in oral traditions, which then became literature and drama. From the twentieth century it has expanded further into various media, including film, television, graphic novels, manga and video games.

Detective fiction is a subgenre of crime fiction and mystery fiction in which an investigator or a detective—either professional, amateur or retired—investigates a crime, often murder. The detective genre began around the same time as speculative fiction and other genre fiction in the mid-nineteenth century and has remained extremely popular, particularly in novels. Some of the most famous heroes of detective fiction include C. Auguste Dupin, Sherlock Holmes, and Hercule Poirot. Juvenile stories featuring The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and The Boxcar Children have also remained in print for several decades.

Douglas Adams British author and humorist

Douglas Noel Adams was an English author, screenwriter, essayist, humorist, satirist and dramatist.

Contents

The novel is named for that time on a Sunday, after afternoon but before evening, as the week-end had finished but the week had not yet begun, that occurred to Adams as a listless limbo of the working man:

In the end, it was the Sunday afternoons he couldn't cope with, and that terrible listlessness which starts to set in at about 2:55, when you know that you've had all the baths you can usefully have that day, that however hard you stare at any given paragraph in the papers you will never actually read it, or use the revolutionary new pruning technique it describes, and that as you stare at the clock the hands will move relentlessly on to four o'clock, and you will enter the long dark teatime of the soul. [1]

Plot summary

Dirk Gently, who calls himself a "holistic detective", has happened upon what he thinks is a rather comfortable situation. A wealthy man in the record industry has retained him, spinning a story about being stalked by a seven-foot-tall, green-eyed, scythe-wielding monster. Dirk pretends to understand the man's ravings involving potatoes and a contract signed in blood coming due; when in reality, Dirk is musing about what he might do if he actually receives payment for his "services" – such as getting rid of his refrigerator, which is so filthy inside that it has become the centrepiece of a show-down between himself and his cleaning woman. The seriousness of his client's claims becomes clear when Dirk arrives several hours late for an appointment to find a swarm of police around his client's estate. The aforementioned client is found in a sealed and heavily barricaded room, his head neatly removed several feet from his body and rotating on a turn-table. While at his recently deceased client's house, he discovers that his client had a son. However, after Dirk disconnects the television set the boy had been watching, the boy promptly breaks Dirk's nose.

Holism is the idea that systems and their properties should be viewed as wholes, not just as a collection of parts.

Scythe agricultural hand tool for mowing grass or reaping crops

A scythe is an agricultural hand tool for mowing grass or reaping crops. It has largely been replaced by horse-drawn and then tractor machinery, but is still used in some areas of Europe and Asia.

Refrigerator household appliance for preserving food at a low temperature

A refrigerator consists of a thermally insulated compartment and a heat pump that transfers heat from the inside of the fridge to its external environment so that the inside of the fridge is cooled to a temperature below the ambient temperature of the room. Refrigeration is an essential food storage technique in developed countries. The lower temperature lowers the reproduction rate of bacteria, so the refrigerator reduces the rate of spoilage. A refrigerator maintains a temperature a few degrees above the freezing point of water. Optimum temperature range for perishable food storage is 3 to 5 °C. A similar device that maintains a temperature below the freezing point of water is called a freezer. The refrigerator replaced the icebox, which had been a common household appliance for almost a century and a half.

Nearly incapacitated by guilt, Dirk resolves to take his now-late client's wild claims seriously. During his investigation, Gently encounters exploding airport check-in counters, the gods of Norse mythology, insulting horoscopes, a sinister nursing home, a rhino-phagic eagle, an I Ching calculator (to which everything calculated above the value of 4 is apparently 'a suffusion of yellow'), a god who gives his powers to a lawyer and an advertising executive in exchange for clean linen, and an attractive American woman who gets angry when she can't get pizza delivered in London.

Norse mythology body of mythology of the North Germanic people stemming from Norse paganism and continuing after the Christianization of Scandinavia and into the Scandinavian folklore of the modern period

Norse mythology is the body of myths of the North Germanic peoples, stemming from Norse paganism and continuing after the Christianization of Scandinavia, and into the Scandinavian folklore of the modern period. The northernmost extension of Germanic mythology, Norse mythology consists of tales of various deities, beings, and heroes derived from numerous sources from both before and after the pagan period, including medieval manuscripts, archaeological representations, and folk tradition.

Horoscope astrological chart or diagram

A horoscope is an astrological chart or diagram representing the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets, astrological aspects and sensitive angles at the time of an event, such as the moment of a person's birth. The word horoscope is derived from Greek words hõra and scopos meaning "time" and "observer". Other commonly used names for the horoscope in English include natal chart, astrological chart, astro-chart, celestial map, sky-map, star-chart, cosmogram, vitasphere, radical chart, radix, chart wheel or simply chart. It is used as a method of divination regarding events relating to the point in time it represents, and it forms the basis of the horoscopic traditions of astrology.

Nose organ that smells and facilitates breathing

A nose is a protuberance in vertebrates that houses the nostrils, or nares, which receive and expel air for respiration alongside the mouth. Behind the nose are the olfactory mucosa and the sinuses. Behind the nasal cavity, air next passes through the pharynx, shared with the digestive system, and then into the rest of the respiratory system. In humans, the nose is located centrally on the face and serves as an alternative respiratory passage especially during suckling for infants.

Adaptations

A BBC radio adaptation, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, starring Harry Enfield, Peter Davison, John Fortune [2] and Stephen Moore was broadcast on October 2008. [3]

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters are at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London, and it is the world's oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees. It employs over 20,950 staff in total, 16,672 of whom are in public sector broadcasting. The total number of staff is 35,402 when part-time, flexible, and fixed-contract staff are included.

<i>The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul</i> (radio serial) radio serial

The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul is an Above the Title Productions radio adaptation, dramatised by Dirk Maggs and John Langdon of Douglas Adams's The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. Starring Harry Enfield, Peter Davison, John Fortune and Stephen Moore, it started broadcasting on 2 October 2008 on BBC Radio 4.

Harry Enfield English actor, comedian, writer

Henry Richard Enfield is an English comedian, actor, writer, and director. He is known in particular for his television work, including Harry Enfield's Television Programme and Harry & Paul, and for the creation and portrayal of comedy characters such as Kevin the Teenager and Loadsamoney.

Dirk Gently (2010, 2012) starred Stephen Mangan in the title role in a pilot broadcast on BBC 4 in 2010 and a three episode series broadcast in 2012.

<i>Dirk Gently</i> (TV series) British comedy detective drama TV series

Dirk Gently is a British comic science fiction detective television series based on characters from the novel Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams. The series was created by Howard Overman and stars Stephen Mangan as holistic detective Dirk Gently and Darren Boyd as his sidekick Richard MacDuff. Recurring actors include Helen Baxendale as MacDuff's girlfriend Susan Harmison, Jason Watkins as Dirk's nemesis DI Gilks and Lisa Jackson as Dirk's receptionist Janice Pearce. Unlike most detective series Dirk Gently features broadly comic touches and even some science fiction themes such as time travel and artificial intelligence.

Stephen Mangan English actor

Stephen James Mangan is an English actor. He has played Guy Secretan in Green Wing, Dan Moody in I'm Alan Partridge, Sean Lincoln in Episodes, Postman Pat in Postman Pat: The Movie, and Andrew in Bliss (2018).

Related Research Articles

<i>Dirk Gentlys Holistic Detective Agency</i> 1987 book by Douglas Adams

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency is a humorous detective novel by English writer Douglas Adams, first published in 1987. It is described by the author on its cover as a "thumping good detective-ghost-horror-who dunnit-time travel-romantic-musical-comedy-epic".

<i>The Salmon of Doubt</i> 2002 book by Douglas Adams

The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time is a posthumous collection of previously published and unpublished material by Douglas Adams. It consists largely of essays about technology and life experiences, but its major selling point is the inclusion of the incomplete novel on which Adams was working at the time of his death, The Salmon of Doubt.

Marvin the Paranoid Android character from the Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy

Marvin the Paranoid Android is a fictional character in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams. Marvin is the ship's robot aboard the starship Heart of Gold. Originally built as one of many failed prototypes of Sirius Cybernetics Corporation's GPP technology, Marvin is afflicted with severe depression and boredom, in part because he has a "brain the size of a planet" which he is seldom, if ever, given the chance to use. Indeed, the true horror of Marvin's existence is that no task he could be given would occupy even the tiniest fraction of his vast intellect. Marvin claims he is 50,000 times more intelligent than a human, though this is, if anything, an underestimation. When kidnapped by the bellicose Krikkit robots and tied to the interfaces of their intelligent war computer, Marvin simultaneously manages to plan the entire planet's military strategy, solve "all of the major mathematical, physical, chemical, biological, sociological, philosophical, etymological, meteorological and psychological problems of the Universe except his own, three times over", and compose a number of lullabies.

Professor Chronotis fictional character

Professor Urban Chronotis is a fictional character created by Douglas Adams. He was originally created for the 1979 Doctor Who serial Shada, starring Tom Baker and Lalla Ward. However, the filming of the serial was never completed due to a strike. Adams then re-used the character and many of the themes from Shada in his novel Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, first published in 1987. In both versions, Chronotis is a clandestine time-traveller, whose time machine is disguised as his college rooms.

St. Cedds College, Cambridge

St. Cedd's College is a fictional college, created by Douglas Adams, of Cambridge University. It appears in the Doctor Who serial Shada, and in the novel Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.

Dirk Maggs, a freelance writer and director working across all media, is principally known for his work in radio, where he evolved radio drama into "Audio Movies," a near-visual approach combining scripts, layered sound effects, cinematic music and cutting edge technology. He pioneered the use of Dolby Surround in BBC Radio. He was among the first nominees for the Directors Guild of Great Britain Outstanding Achievement in Radio Award, and in 2005 he was invited to become one of the first Honorary Fellows of the University of Winchester for his work in the dramatic arts.

Robert Duncan is an English actor. He is best known for his television role as Gus Hedges, the jargon-speaking manager, from Drop the Dead Donkey. He also appeared in Casualty as Peter Hayes between 1995 and 1996. He also played Lazarus in 2000 film The Miracle Maker.

Hyperland is a 50-minute-long documentary film about hypertext and surrounding technologies. It was written by Douglas Adams and produced and directed by Max Whitby for BBC Two in 1990. It stars Douglas Adams as a computer user and Tom Baker, with whom Adams had already worked on Doctor Who, as a personification of a software agent.

A dirk is a type of dagger.

Sally Grace is an English actress, who has worked extensively on radio, television and in animation.

Dirk is a stage play adapted from the novel Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams.

Arvind Ethan David, is a Malaysian born, British film producer, founder of Slingshot Productions, and Executive Director of Ideate Media. He is best known for producing David Baddiel’s The Infidel in 2010, and the American adaptation of Douglas Adams' science fiction detective comedy novel series Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency on BBC America, which premiered in October 2016. Other feature films he has produced include Tormented starring Alex Pettyfer and French Film starring Hugh Bonneville and Manchester United football legend Eric Cantona - with the latter winning Best Actor for Bonneville and Best Screenplay for Aschlin Ditta at the 2008 Monte Carlo Film Festival.

Pilot (<i>Dirk Gently</i>) An episode of Dirk Gently

The pilot episode of Dirk Gently is the first broadcast episode of the BBC Four television series inspired by Douglas Adams's novel Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. First broadcast on 16 December 2010 and repeated throughout the Christmas period, it was written by Howard Overman and stars Stephen Mangan as holistic detective Dirk Gently and Darren Boyd as his sidekick Richard Macduff. Recurring actors include Helen Baxendale as Susan Harmison, Jason Watkins as DI Gilks and Lisa Jackson as Janice Pearce.

<i>Dirk Gentlys Holistic Detective Agency</i> (TV series) television series

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency is a BBC America comic science fiction detective television series created and primarily written by Max Landis. The two seasons are inspired by the novel series of the same name by Douglas Adams. The series is co-produced and distributed by BBC America and Netflix, along with AMC Studios, Ideate Media and IDW Entertainment. Filming primarily took place in Vancouver, British Columbia.

References

  1. Adams, Douglas (10 October 1988). The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. UK: Heinemann.
  2. "Above The Title – The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul". Archived from the original on 9 October 2008. Retrieved 23 September 2008.
  3. "BBC – Press Office – Network Radio Programme Information Week 40 Thursday 2 October 2008". Archived from the original on 12 November 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2008.
Preceded by:Series:Followed by:
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency Dirk Gently series The Salmon of Doubt