Staggeringly, Jaw-Droppingly Bad

Writing a new Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy sequel is bad idea. Really bad. You just won't believe how vastly, staggeringly, jaw-droppingly bad it is. I mean, you might think that writing new James Bond novels is a bad idea, but that's just peanuts to the Hitchhiker's book. Listen...

A new author had been tapped to write a sixth book in the increasingly inaccurately-named Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy. Douglas Adams' widow (Adams died at 49 in 2001) Jane Belson, has given her approval to a plan by Penguin to resurrect Arthur Dent, Zaphod Beeblebrox and Marvin, the Paranoid Android (the antecedent to Futurama's Bender).

Eoin Colfer, the author of the Artemis Fowl novels, will write the posthumous installment, entitled And Another Thing... "My first reaction was semi-outrage that anyone should be allowed to tamper with this incredible series," Colfer told The Times. "But on reflection I realized that this is a wonderful opportunity to work with characters I have loved since childhood and give them something of my own voice while holding on to the spirit of Douglas Adams."

He really should have stuck with his first thought. But of course booksellers are already salivating at the thought: “There’s a ready-made audience of millions for more Hitchhiker’s books," said Michael Rowley, Waterstone’s science fiction buyer. "This is very exciting news for all those fans."

Well, not this one. The Guide was my first pop culture obsession, before The Cure and before The Simpsons. I read all the books, have the original radio show on cassette, the scripts, a towel (I sill know where it is) and I treasure my signed copy of the trilogy from one of Adam's readings. I love the universe Adams created, a place where you learn how to fly by throwing yourself at the ground and missing; where a ship is powered by improbability; where the best drink in existence is the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, which has an effect similar to "having one's brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick." The Guide itself is akin to reading a Wikipedia that has a sense of humour on a Blackberry — a very prescient invention.

So why would I want to read someone else's vision of this place, of these characters? "For years I have been finishing this incredible story in my head and now I have the opportunity to do it in the real world," said Colfer. Wonderful, so why not write your own book? To me, it will just be fan fiction. Well written fan fiction to be sure, but fan fiction nonetheless.

Of course it's all about moving books and trying to revive a franchise that once brought in so much money and perhaps is dwindling off nowadays. Sad, but true. When this comes out, you'll find me reading far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy.


  1. That does sound like a really bad idea.

    Although I found myself wondering the other day when someone will develop an iPhone app that mimics the Guide.

  2. I would love a Guide, bug not this guide.

  3. I agree it's a bad idea. I've always loved the Guide, but I think only Douglas Adams could get it right.

  4. Hey, man, you're one hoopy frood! I've read one of Colfer's Artemis Fowl books, and unless he's really dumbed it down for the youth audience, he just isn't that good a writer. I don't see any way he'd be able to pull off Adams. Even as an homage to Adams, I don't think he's got the stones. There are, I am sure, very few people on this earth who could do the work justice. Better we should feed him to the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal, and just all go back and reread the existing books over again.

  5. Perhaps we could just read them all some Vogon poetry. That ought to put them off the idea.

    Oh freddled gruntbuggley, thy micturations are to me
    As plurdled gabbleblotchits on a lurgid bee
    Groop I implore thee, my foonting turlingdromes
    And hooptiously drangle me with crinkly bindlewurdles, or I will rend thee in the gobberwarts with my blurglecruncheon, see if I don't!