And Another Thing: I Really Miss Douglas Adams

Posted by Michael Pinto on Sep 14, 2009 in Pulp Fiction |

And Another Thing...

I missed the announcement last year that there would be an authorized sixth book in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series: However recently I came across a link in the sci fi section of reddit simple titled Fucking Blasphemy… which got my attention. This new book is coming out in october this year and is by Eoin Colfer, and of course pretty much every serious fanboy has already condemned the series. Although I find myself with mixed feelings which are just a bit more complex than condemnation. For starters this book was authorized by Adams’s widow Jane Belson so you get the feeling that his family isn’t against it. Next I don’t think anyone is trying to hide the fact that book isn’t by Douglas Adams; in fact I suspect that the readers will be his hard core fans more so than the general public.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The original book coverSo I can’t honestly condemn the book as it’s what I would call professional fan fiction. In another age this wouldn’t have happened, but frankly The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is more than just a literary work, it’s become one of those dreaded science fiction franchises that’s guarantees a return on investment to the entertainment industry. Although I think that his kind of thinking has killed the industry, because instead of discovering and investing in new talent in a field like science fiction we keep going back to our comfort food. The result is that a genre that should about the future is stuck in the past. If publishing houses in the 80s had taken the same mindset we wouldn’t have had a Douglas Adams in the first place, that or he would have been hard at work churning out lifeless novels based on Buck Rogers and Forbidden Planet.

Douglas AdamsAlthough most of all what this book makes me sad about is that Douglas Adams is gone. He died at only 49 years old in 2001 and I suspect that had he lived for a bit longer he might have had a few more good books in him that we’ll never see. Also while Adams wrote about science fiction his real genius was that he was a brilliant satirist making fun of life in the 20th century. Over the last decade it would have been nice to have had his voice on a post-9/11 world. Adams also had an avid interest in both technology and the state of the environment, so even hearing his ideas on those things would be refreshing. So sadly this is what the book reminds me of, it represents what we’ve lost.

Douglas Adams

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