Last Chance To See

Titel: Last Chance To See
Autor: Douglas Adams
Publisher: Pan Books
Year: 1989

Douglas Adams is known for his science-fiction books. But in his book ‘Last Chance To See’ he doesn’t focus on weird creatures somewhere far in the galaxy, but on weird animals on this planet.

Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine went on a journey for the BBC, all around the world to see a couple of the most forgotten and endangered animals in the world. Mark Carvardine is a passionated zoologist and Douglas Adams a writer who doesn’t know anything about  animals. Because he knows just as much as most of the readers do, it is easy to read and you don’t get the feeling thet Adams wants to teach you tons of uninteresting facts about every moving thing they saw, like most books about nature do. But unconsciously I did learn lots of things!
He writes all the adventures down in a way only Douglas Adams can; highly ironic and funny but without being unrealistic for a second.
He is open to accept every perspective of every case. From Greenpeace-fighter to poachers. I really admired this!
The book is easy to read. But if you look for further description of a word you don’t precisely know, there is a double kakapomeaning which makes it extra funny.

He is also really enthusiastic about everything that I couldn’t be just as excited about, for example, the fascinating lifestyle of the Kakapo. You may think when you see the picture, that this fat parrot can fly. But nothing is less true, and the Kakapo itself finds it hard to believe as well…

“ Sadly, however, it seems that not only has the Kakapo forgotten how to fly, but it has also forgotten that it has forgotten how to fly. Apparently a seriously worried kakapo will sometimes run up a tree and jumps out of it, whereupon it flies like a brick and lands in a graceless heap on the ground.”

Because of these kinds of sentences I loved this book and I hope I will, at one time in my life, be able to write as funny as he can.

The book is separated in different countries where they will look for different endangered animals. The book isn’t only about the animals but also about the attempts to find them. Most of the time this isn’t as easy as it sounds and he talks about it so funny and hopeful, that I was just as glad as they were when they finally found the animals.
The book isn’t only funny, it is also a real eye-opener of how we are ruining our precious planet. During the whole book he writes about his frustration about humanity and how we treat nature.

“ It occurred to me that we had spent a day rapt with wonder watching the mountain gorillas, and being particularly moved at how human the seemed, and finding this to be one of their most engaging and fascinating features. To find afterward that a couple of hours spent with actual humans was merely irritating was a bit confusing”

He also confronts the reader about the fact that some of the animals he is looking for, probably won’t exist anymore in less than 30 years. This really shocked me! It is weird to see, that an animal can mean the world to someone and is worth writing books about, and at the same time the rest of the world doesn’t care at all and destroy lots of species without thinking.
While reading the book I didn’t take it personally, but when I finished the book it really kept me thinking. Now I am more aware of the importance of the ecosystem.

They made these journeys for the BBC in 1988. It became a radio documentary series. Douglas Adams wrote this book afterwards. And also published an audiobook where Adams himself reads out this book.
Because of the great success there now is a tv-series made of it, starring Mark Carwardine and Stephen Fry (who is an old friend of Douglas Adams). Douglas Adams didn’t have the chance to see the tv-series because he died from a heart-attack in 2001.
I didn’t see the tv-series yet but I definitely will because I loved the book!

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