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

Author: Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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