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Last Chance to See (1990)

by Douglas Adams, Mark Carwardine

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4,087832,884 (4.25)127
"Very funny and moving...The glimpses of rare fauna seem to have enlarged [Adams'] thinking, enlivened his world; and so might the animals do for us all, if we were to help them live." THE WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD Join bestselling author Douglas Adams and zooligist Mark Carwardine as they take off around the world in search of exotic, endangered creatures. Hilarious and poignant--as only Douglas Adams can be--LAST CHANCE TO SEE is an entertaining and arresting odyssey through the Earth's magnificent wildlife galaxy.… (more)
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English (79)  German (2)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  All languages (83)
Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
Douglas Adams was, of course, the famous humorous science fiction writer. Last Chance to See is one of his lesser known works though really deserves much more recognition. Adams teams up with biologist Mark Carwardine to travel to different parts of the planet in search of endangered species - see find them before they go extinct.

This book was remarkably bittersweet. It is slyly funny, with Adams' characteristic ability to wring humor from circumstance, whether it was about snake anti-venom, trying to find condoms to create a makeshift underwater microphone, or the author's nervousness about China. I smiled and laughed reading his and Carwardine (and the revolving BBC audio tech who ended up on their trips)'s adventures. At the same time, the book was incredibly sad because I was keenly aware that since its publications, we have lost at least one of species that Adams and Carwardine looked for, the Baiji aka the Yangtze River Dolphin which, if not actually extinct, is at least functionally extinct. I fear that other species mentioned in the book may soon follow.

Still, Adams doesn't preach or lecture. He instead entertains and through that entertainment creates teachable moments. I am incredibly impressed that throughout the book, he never lapsed into soapboxing about the need to protect any of the species, but instead lays out the uphill battle that those working on those species face and that these handful of species mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg.

A very short but powerful book that made me think Adams was wasted on science fiction, and that he should have really done more science writing or travelogues. Here is where he really shines. ( )
1 vote wisemetis | Sep 15, 2022 |
Douglas Adams' inimitable style shines through in a book that's engaging, funny, yet ultimately depressing.

It's interesting because of the exotic locales, the zany characters, and the situations that Adams finds himself in. Even more so, it's the way Adams perceives them that steals the show. His trademark humor shines through every page (well, page turn in my case) that I read.

The animals were easily the stars of the show. Their situations are dire, more so now than ever before. He draws on his experience to educate and offer insight into their plights and the ways we can help them. And it's for that reason the book is depressing: the world is going to hell, and we are to blame for it. :( ( )
  bdgamer | Sep 10, 2021 |
Nobody writes like Douglas Adams writes. He's one of the few guys that can have me laughing uproariously while also pondering something deep and important. Or pondering the sad legacy of humans while laughing. Or shaking my head at the sheer stupidity of humans.

That being said, while there are many funny moments in this book, overall, it's heartbreaking book to read. In anyone else's hands, I believe it would have been pleadingly maudlin.

With Adams, instead, it's hopeful.

Nobody writes like Douglas Adams writes. I miss him. ( )
  TobinElliott | Sep 3, 2021 |
Douglas Adams, the witty author of the hilarious series The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, joins forces with zoologist Mark Carwardine to travel around the world. They visit the darkest parts of Africa to the lush island of Mauritius and some places in between to find and photograph animals that are endangered and close to extinction.

The duo visit the elusive silverback gorillas in Zaire and are astonished at how human-like our distance ancestors are, noting one of the apes contemplating life as it lay on the ground looking at a swaying leaf blowing in the wind. They also visit the creepy looking aye-aye, the dangerous Komodo dragon, the chubby flightless Kakapo parrot and the rare northern white rhino. Their travels allows them to also visit other animals as well.

If you are familiar with Douglas Adams then you should be familiar with his witty, sarcastic and his British dry humor. There were parts where I laughed out loud at the adventures these guys would come across as they made there way around the different countries. Other chapters will make you feel guilty and a bit ashamed of what our fellow humans have done in the past concerning the health and safety of our fellow animal friends.

Adams is very descriptive and you can almost feel as if you are right next to him on this journey. I googled some of the animals and while most of them did manage to thrive thanks to the efforts of the hard working conservationists and other groups however one of the species was sadly listed "functionally extinct" which means that if any are left at all, there isn't enough in the population to sustain them for much longer before they are fully gone.

Global warming and the continuous burning of fossil fuels increases the likely-hood that more species may become lost forever unless we can come together and continue to do our part with maintaining the jungles and forests and oceans of our planet. Let's try to not add any more animals to the endangered list and learn from our mistakes! ( )
  ProfessorEX | Apr 15, 2021 |
This book was fascinating. Douglas shines when he is describing the people places, and situations encountered during the quest to see endangered animals all over the world. I laughed out loud when he described his aftershave purchases on the plane to China, and Mark’s dry comments on marking territory with scent. I was glad that Mark added an epilogue with updates on all the stories. ( )
  Vividrogers | Dec 20, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Douglas Adamsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Carwardine, Markmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Böttcher, SvenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
le Garsmeur, AlainPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This isn't at all what I expected. In 1985, by some sort of journalistic accident I was sent to Madagascar with Mark Carwardine to look for an almost extinct form of lemur called the aye-aye. None of the three of us had ever met before. I had never met Mark, Mark had never met me, and no one, apparently, had seen an aye-aye in years.
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"Very funny and moving...The glimpses of rare fauna seem to have enlarged [Adams'] thinking, enlivened his world; and so might the animals do for us all, if we were to help them live." THE WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD Join bestselling author Douglas Adams and zooligist Mark Carwardine as they take off around the world in search of exotic, endangered creatures. Hilarious and poignant--as only Douglas Adams can be--LAST CHANCE TO SEE is an entertaining and arresting odyssey through the Earth's magnificent wildlife galaxy.

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