A Publishing Event of Electro Proportions

Today’s Guardian Review contains an essay by the journalist Jenny Turner about the upcoming publication anniversary of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (novel).

On 12 October, the first Hitchhiker’s novel will be exactly 30 years old. That apparently is why the Adams estate has chosen the date for what it’s calling “a publishing event of electro proportions”: Eoin Colfer, the author of the Artemis Fowl books, has written an authorised sequel, to be called And Another Thing (Penguin).

Turner makes an interesting point about the impact of the British class system on H2G2. Arthur Dent is a misplaced, upper middle class radio producer whose breeding and politeness mean nothing in the context of planets blowing up and failing to get the girl. The replacement of Simon Jones by Martin Freeman in the Hollywood film – effectively swapping out the upper middle for lower middle class – was critical in the weakening of the material. (The other mistake was the imposition of a three-act narrative structure.)

Frankly, I find any discussion of Adams’s work depressing. I don’t think that any other author has had or will have quite the same effect on me. What to make of Colfer’s new story, I don’t know. Can it be for anything other than money? How can he possibly come out of this with better than a feeling that he hasn’t screwed up?

Does the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy still answer the ultimate question? | Books | The Guardian

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Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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