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September 17, 2008 2:48 AM   Subscribe

And another thing... Author Eoin Colfer (best known for the Artemis Fowl books) has been commissioned to write a sixth Hitchhiker's Guild to the Galaxy novel.

So far, the Guide has nothing to say on the matter.
posted by crossoverman (123 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
...sixth Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Can someone fix that please? That's terrible. As if Douglas Adams wasn't already turning in his grave... I can't get the name of his books right!
posted by crossoverman at 2:51 AM on September 17, 2008


Oh, the Guild is not going to be happy to hear about this!




















42...plus 1!
posted by humannaire at 2:56 AM on September 17, 2008


No, he won't he'll be writing the book that will be marketed as th 6th Hitchhiker's Book. Douglas Adams is Dead.
posted by Rubbstone at 2:56 AM on September 17, 2008 [10 favorites]


It's hard to imagine that it'll be worse than the fifth book of the Hitchhiker trilogy.
posted by sour cream at 3:15 AM on September 17, 2008 [5 favorites]


No.
posted by milquetoast at 3:17 AM on September 17, 2008


It's really too bad that and ex-someone had to ruin these books for me forever. Meh. I miss out on everything cool.
posted by IvoShandor at 3:19 AM on September 17, 2008


Aside from the pulp shelves this is something that seems to be getting more common. Here's Sebastian Faulks talking about his work writing a new James Bond book in the style of Ian Fleming.
posted by athenian at 3:23 AM on September 17, 2008


God I can't type today, and should be an.
posted by IvoShandor at 3:24 AM on September 17, 2008


This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
posted by mandal at 3:29 AM on September 17, 2008 [69 favorites]


No.

I concur with that assessment.
posted by tracert at 3:31 AM on September 17, 2008


Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
posted by Phanx at 3:39 AM on September 17, 2008


Was Adams cremated? He must have been, otherwise it would be much simpler for his publishers to physically rape his corpse. Instead, they have to do this.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:47 AM on September 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


The only thing of Adams' that I've enjoyed after his death is The Twilight Zone, a bat habitat at the Chester Zoo. That place is awesome.

Still, I enjoyed what Artemis Fowl books I've read (I was surprised that a kids' book featured sucking chest wounds and gunplay) and will give this a chance when it's in the Border's remainders section.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:48 AM on September 17, 2008


oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

For heaven's sake, Colfer, if you need the money couldn't you do some more farting dwarves or something?
posted by Phanx at 3:53 AM on September 17, 2008


The problem is that behind the "more inside" there is no "only joking."

Please fix this problem.






Please.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:55 AM on September 17, 2008 [5 favorites]


The other major problem is that the title isn't a significant quote from the first book, the way all the others had been (and the Dirk Gently sequel, for that matter, was also titled a Hitchhiker's Guide quote)
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:58 AM on September 17, 2008


sour cream has it right. Boy, did DA loathe his created universe in that book.

But please, no more hitchhiker books. You know "Clive Cussler?" Clive's early books were fun mindless pulp to while away a day at the beach. They became worse and worse, and now they're "with" another author. The collaborative books are (somehow) a magnitude worse than the last solo stuff he did, which I would have thought impossible given the limits of the English language.

So, yeah.
posted by maxwelton at 3:58 AM on September 17, 2008


Liff and let liff. It doesn't have to be your ballycumber...
posted by Smart Dalek at 4:00 AM on September 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


D'Arvit.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:12 AM on September 17, 2008


Douglas Adams doesn't care anymore. And the commissioned book will probably be total shit, there's a possibility that it'll be good, and so I will withhold judgment.
posted by Dave Faris at 4:23 AM on September 17, 2008


Good thing I had my towel handy to muffle my outrage.
posted by JaredSeth at 4:24 AM on September 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


.
posted by robcorr at 4:42 AM on September 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


On a non-obscure-reference-snark note, I read some of Colfer's books when I was younger and enjoyed them as a darkly funny mix of fantasy, whizbang spycraft antics, and SCIENCE! He did his thing well, and I can see him adapting his style to cover Adams's universe. I can also see how terrified he'd be to take on this task, despite (or because of?) his great admiration for the man and his work. I wish him all the best in achieving the goal of respectful closure to the story that we all seek.

(and eoin i swear if you mess this up i will hunt you down and no amount of mesmer or strapping eurasian bodygaurds will save you)
posted by Rhaomi at 4:46 AM on September 17, 2008


I don't know anything about this writer, but I can't imagine it'll outrage me any more than the really-quite-forgettable film adaptation a few years ago.
posted by zardoz at 4:52 AM on September 17, 2008


Don't panic.
posted by dirty lies at 4:56 AM on September 17, 2008 [7 favorites]


Can't be worse than Starship Titanic, can it?
posted by Jimbob at 4:59 AM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure how this book could be worse than the last two or three in Adam's series. The first and second were great but his quality went off a cliff after those. I read through the whole series a few years ago and can't remember much about the later books at all, it seemed pretty obvious that he was just going through the motions for the benefit of his publisher.
posted by octothorpe at 5:07 AM on September 17, 2008


I'm actually looking forward to this, on the off chance that it's as good as I hope. Colfer's pretty good at what he does (the non-Fowl books have had a pretty good range, and he's not someone who can only write 'kids' books), so I'll reserve judgement.

Am I outraged that someone else would try and 'take over' DNA's work? Meh. I'm interested in seeing the story, and how it fits. As long, that is, as Douglas gets his fair due.
posted by pupdog at 5:09 AM on September 17, 2008


A bunch of mindless jerks who'll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:12 AM on September 17, 2008 [8 favorites]


NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!

HHGTTG is Douglas Adams. It stopped when he died. This is a horrible concept.
posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar at 5:20 AM on September 17, 2008


You know "Clive Cussler?" Clive's early books were fun mindless pulp to while away a day at the beach. They became worse and worse, and now they're "with" another author.

Another neat trick they are doing with his books is to re-release the very old ones with no indication they are very old. So the airport bookstore has 3 Cussler paperbacks, two from the "other author" series, and one from 1981.
posted by smackfu at 5:24 AM on September 17, 2008


As if the rewritten/new material for the tacked on radio series post Adam's death weren't bad enough, they want to go for a new book too? His estate (Jane I guess) should really be all over stopping this...

Then again, anyone who cares should be all over not reading it too.
posted by opsin at 5:28 AM on September 17, 2008


HHGTTG is Douglas Adams. It stopped when he died. This is a horrible concept.

The movie premiered well after his death. And it wasn't that bad.
posted by hoskala at 5:38 AM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


My towel doesn't seem to be helping. I keep wiping the screen and yet the words are still there.
posted by elfgirl at 5:41 AM on September 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


Nothing about this cries 'Necessary!' or 'Good Idea!' This is instead much more reminiscent of every seventies band whose lead singer died in the eighties, and are now launching tours starring karaoke stars at the helm.

It's not Queen anymore, damn it, and it won't be HHGTTG with Karaoke-Adams botching the words.
posted by palindromic at 5:43 AM on September 17, 2008


Eh. This just gives true fans (like true Scotsmen) another way to differentiate themselves from the lowly average reader -- you can scorn it without reading it because it's not part of the canon, you can read it and then scorn it because it's not as good as or not part of the canon, etc.

Or you can just ignore it.
posted by pracowity at 5:48 AM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Last Chance to See: New updated edition with the latest endangered animals!
posted by smackfu at 5:52 AM on September 17, 2008


The movie premiered well after his death. And it wasn't that bad.

It was however mostly written by him before his death. And the second part is debatable.

More to the point though, the radio adaptation Dirk Diggler, or whatever his name is, did for radio 4, featured new writing to make them fit as radio shows rather than the books. And while I had enough problems with them adding orchestrated music over the antics of Arthur and Ford and such (which goes against everything about the joyous production of the original pair of series), the writing not sounding even remotely like Adams was far, far worse.
posted by opsin at 5:53 AM on September 17, 2008


I'm dubious, but having read the Artemis Fowl books and found them fairly enjoyable I am willing to give this the benefit of the doubt until I actually get my hands on it.

He seems to be well aware of the sacred nature of the Guide to many and hopefully he'll do a good job. I did hear him say on the radio that he wouldn't be writing this in an "Eoin Colfer writing as Douglas Adams" style, but it would be Douglas' characters in an Eoin Colfer book.

I'll give it a chance. If he fails, then so what, it was never a real part of the series anyway, if he succeeds... well so much the better.
posted by knapah at 5:55 AM on September 17, 2008


This must be Thursday*. I never could get the hang of Thursdays.

*somewhere.

posted by ersatz at 6:05 AM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Colfer seemed like a funny enough guy the one time I got to eat breakfast at the same table as him, but there really don't need to be new Hitchhiker's books.
posted by drezdn at 6:36 AM on September 17, 2008


H2G2 Fan Fiction? No thanks.....

I'd be slightly less appalled if someone decided to finish the 3rd Dirk Gently. I thought the posthumous "Salmon of Doubt" was borderline corpse raping, but at least it was in Douglas' own words.
posted by TechnoLustLuddite at 6:36 AM on September 17, 2008


>> HHGTTG is Douglas Adams. It stopped when he died. This is a horrible concept.

> The movie premiered well after his death. And it wasn't that bad.

The movie was a disappointment. They managed to leave out the funny. I'm one of the few people on Earth who actually enjoyed the first TV adaptation, so I'm not that hard to please.

(BTW I have NOT yet heard the original BBC radio series of HHGTTG - anyone know how/where can it be had?)

Douglas Adams was a big, complex, brilliant, witty, flawed, generous fellow, and it's my belief that he'd have been happy to see a kindred spirit pick up the concept and riff on it. I will most likely buy the book (like I bought everything DA wrote), and i hope that it will be good.

My favourite DA quote: "I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they go past" (forgive me if I've paraphrased it)
posted by Artful Codger at 6:38 AM on September 17, 2008


I dunno, in retrospect I'm not nearly as impressed with Adams as I was when I first read him. I just re-read HHGTTG and found it to be ok, but nothing amazing. And, IIRC I never managed to finish more than the first fifty or sixty pages of the fifth book, it was a dull slog.

I think its just that, for me anyway, his work hasn't aged very well. It was brilliant the first time (well, except for books 3-5 which seemed go get progressively worse), and with each re-reading it seems steadily less so.

On topic, while I'm generally opposed to the whole "hey, a famous writer died, let's churn out a few dozen sequels by hacks!" publishing strategy, frankly I can't see how anyone could do a worse job than "Mostly Harmless"
posted by sotonohito at 6:44 AM on September 17, 2008


A quote from the first Hitchhiker's book to serve as the title for the sixth?

How about, "Oh no, not again."
posted by MinPin at 6:50 AM on September 17, 2008 [11 favorites]


While I can understand why a publishing company, which is, after all, merely some mutant form of intestinal parasite, would want to suck as many dollars, pounds, euros, and yen from unsuspecting readers as possible, it boggles [OF bogglier, to strike with an amphibian] my mind why an apparently intelligent writer would want to participate in such a scheme.

Presumably the actual Eoin Colfer no longer exists, but a pod-creature bearing his likeness walks the earth.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:54 AM on September 17, 2008


The only time that anyone has come close to approximating Douglas Adams required two gods - Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett - and I have no idea how any single mortal can hope to pull it off.
posted by cimbrog at 7:02 AM on September 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


DNA joins Tolkien and Herbert in the pantheon of writers who get to have their reputations besmirched by those who place profit in front of quality. Wonderful.
posted by tommasz at 7:10 AM on September 17, 2008


Has anyone read the article on the third link, written by Colfer? No?

Jane Belson is the one who comissioned him to write this, for starters, not one that will be shimmying with rage at the rape of DA's legacy.

And all that - do you really think he'd be so precious with it, anyway? He's not rolling in his grave with indignity at this, he's rolling around because he's impatient, get the fuck on with this story please as I'm sick of waiting around.
posted by setanor at 7:19 AM on September 17, 2008


frankly I can't see how anyone could do a worse job than "Mostly Harmless"
Well, Mostly Harmless should have at least done a really excellent job of completely burying the motherfucker once and for all, game over. So maybe you can regard exhuming the corpse as "worse" in that sense.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:24 AM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Belgium.
posted by Tesseractive at 7:28 AM on September 17, 2008 [6 favorites]


Yeh, hopefully Colfer will just miss his deadlines by years.
posted by bonaldi at 7:31 AM on September 17, 2008


There's nothing sacred about the Hitchhikers universe. Just as there's nothing sacred about the Star Wars, James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, Dune or any other fictional universe. Just because another author is writing a sequel (or prequel or whatever) it doesn't mean the pre-existing books will suddenly begin to suck. Just don't buy the new book(s).

A great example are the Dune prequels written by Frank Herbert's son. I bought one, tried it, realized it was utter crap and am now ignoring all of the new books.
posted by schwa at 7:43 AM on September 17, 2008 [5 favorites]


Dear Mr. Colfer et al,

Fuck you.

Signed,
Fuck you.
posted by jewzilla at 7:46 AM on September 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


There's nothing sacred about the Hitchhikers universe. Just as there's nothing sacred about the Star Wars, James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, Dune or any other fictional universe. Just because another author is writing a sequel (or prequel or whatever) it doesn't mean the pre-existing books will suddenly begin to suck. Just don't buy the new book(s).

Right. I mean, is it any different when an author starts to suck years in? (I'm thinking specifically of Anne McCaffrey, but I'm sure there are others)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:46 AM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I liked Mostly Harmless. A lot. Perfectly Normal Beasts? The n-dimensional bird guide?? The Grebulons???
To me it cements Adams' reputation as one of the best SF writers of his generation.
I don't mean "best SF parody", just "best SF". I see a lot of his ideas and tone in, for instance, Ian Banks.
posted by signal at 7:52 AM on September 17, 2008


The first book was a game-changer. My seventh-grade self and my friend Joel would pass it back and forth in class, shnorting with ill-stifled laughter. Adams' irreverence, his compassion for the goofy-ass human condition, and Marvin...it was a revelation.

I managed to get through the fourth book, never bothered with number 5. As for Colfer, I couldn't get 90 pages into the first Fowl book I picked up.

I don't imagine Douglas cares at this point; it just seems like a move he would have satirized were he still kickin'.
posted by everichon at 7:54 AM on September 17, 2008


So unhoopy.
posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 7:56 AM on September 17, 2008


"Who would want to bomb a publishing company?"
posted by mikepop at 7:58 AM on September 17, 2008 [6 favorites]


Colfer? He's just this guy, you know?
posted by schoolgirl report at 8:09 AM on September 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Hey guys, I've just been asked to record a new Velvet Underground album!

Stranger things have happened, right?
posted by Dr-Baa at 8:19 AM on September 17, 2008


The movie was terrible. This book will be terrible.

It's always been a secret of mine that I never finished the second half of the fourth book and never even touched the fifth. I thought I was the only one.
posted by lunit at 9:07 AM on September 17, 2008


The movie was a disappointment. They managed to leave out the funny.

But, they did include the whale scene almost verbatim from the book, something which I never expected to see in any film version.

I've been pleasantly surprised by established authors venturing into universes that they didn't create, and which I hold close to my heart, so I'm willing to read Colfer's efforts before I call it an abomination.
posted by quin at 9:09 AM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Arthur Dent, God-King of Dune.
posted by rusty at 9:10 AM on September 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


palindromic: "It's not Queen anymore, damn it, and it won't be HHGTTG with Karaoke-Adams botching the words."

To give Queen their due - they're currently touring as "Queen with Paul Rodgers" - no sense that Paul is actually taking Freddie's place or anything...

Back on topic, Douglas felt weighed down by HHGG after the second book... He put off writing any new Hitch-Hiker's material as best as he could, save when his publisher applied far too much pressure. If he were alive today he'd be glad someone else was taking that pressure off him...
posted by benzo8 at 9:14 AM on September 17, 2008


(BTW I have NOT yet heard the original BBC radio series of HHGTTG - anyone know how/where can it be had?)

If you're averse to torrenting, both amazon.com and .co.uk have the primary and secondary (ie. the original two) radio series available.

WRT: the topic. I'm really not that bothered and I'm quite the fan myself. Adams collaborated on words with some HHGG projects (the first radio series with Lloyd, the computer game with Meretsky) and they both came out fine. I'd be interested to see what another author of similar sensibility can do, and if Adam's wife is happy, who am I to second guess?

WRT: declining quality of the books. I don't think anyone in their right mind would accuse Adams of being a born writer - though he was occasionally very good at it. The sheer effort it took to extract words out of him, when he'd rather be fiddling with his macs or having dinner parties, is legendary. If he wasn't writing to survive, he was recycling old ideas (Krikkit in _Life_ was based on a Doctor Who script he came up with, as were a large part of _Holistic_). When he wasn't enjoying himself, it showed in his work - _So long_ is him at his most miserable after a relationship break-up and its cynicism is alienating (arf arf). But when he was - as in Last Chance to See, it was infectious.

He certainly never mastered the art of narrative in HHGG, which is far more episodic* - a collection of neat things strung together on a pretence of plot, and when he tried other things he was fairly experimental - as in the tendency in Dirk books to miss describing the climax entirely and just pretend that the reader had picked up on all the clues so far and knew what had to happen. This is great if you like weird ideas applying in a metafictional sense, not so great if you just want more pan-galactic gargle blasters. Mostly Harmless was a bit of both: When his idea machine was firing on all cylinders, you got the Guide Mark II, spreading its darkoned talons pan-dimensionally, when he was filling in pages, you got Elvis showing up (possibly the laziest idea in the oeuvre of a very lazy man indeed).

And returning to his books is never easy, especially if you read them voraciously and repeatedly when you were younger. There aren't that many jokes per se, there are clever twists and turnings of meanings and vocabulary with which you are now overly familiar - and like all comedy - times change and the revelatory becomes pedestrian. The movie (and I think 'not that bad' is, though true, the very kindest thing you can say about it) while visually interesting in quite a good way, made the mistake of assuming the humour was in the concepts alone, rather than in their agonisingly arrived at linguistic expression, and it mercilessly gutted set-ups, asides and minor pay-offs for punchlines and slapstick (and shouting - my god! the shouting. I thought Freeman was a great choice but he desperately needed a volume control and an angst-dimmer). Plus the ending just looked cheap, as if they ran out of money at Magrathea.

But the first time you come across Adam's work in whatever form, it's indeed a revelation, clever and playful and twisted in just the right kind of way. I don't think Colfer is trying to take anything away from that - the article shows he knows it first hand and his line about making sure the cover is pretty made me laugh - that's a good start. I haven't read any Artemis Fowl books, knowing them only by reputation, so perhaps I am overly unconcerned about the impending follow-up. It'll be interesting to see, however, everything has at least a chance at greatness, and if the inevitiable adverrtising onslaught awakens an interest in the old stuff that the movie failed to do, enriching his widow and daughter, so much the better. If it sucks, well, go ahead, panic; after all, worse things happen at sea.

*As opposed to Pratchet, who just kept plugging away and eventually discovered a single narrative arc he has used ever since to great effect.
posted by Sparx at 9:18 AM on September 17, 2008 [8 favorites]


Douglas Adams was never ashamed to milk The Hitchhiker's Guide books for every penny he could. And I say that as a rabid fan of the man's works.

Here's the thing though...

They were his books to milk.
posted by lekvar at 9:38 AM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Arthur Dent, God-King of Dune.
posted by rusty


For the record, I would actually read that, if only because it pokes me in the same nerve that makes me look at car-wrecks and watch the occational bit of wrestling and sometimes listen to a bit by Marilyn Manson (which are all the same thing when you really think about it).
posted by mephron at 9:38 AM on September 17, 2008


I'd rather see a new Gently book. It's far less sacred canon and its standalone format is more compatible with a new author picking it up. Like many detective stories, there's pretty much no relationship between the installments except for the main character being in them.

Blasphemy time: In a lot of ways I enjoy Dirk Gently more. Don't get me wrong: Like many here, I reread the first 3 books when I was younger until the pages fell out. But revisiting his work recently, I found it didn't hold up as well for me (I know all the jokes already, after all). On the other hand, it was actually a joy to reread the cleverly crafted detective stories (the first more than the second, admittedly, although there are some great bits with Kate). I wish he had done more with it.

And for the record, the movie was pretty bad. The only part I enjoyed was their interpretation of high improbability drive when someone pukes yarn.
posted by cj_ at 9:52 AM on September 17, 2008


Here's another vote for Mostly Harmless being pretty decent.
posted by alexei at 9:58 AM on September 17, 2008


Yes, why stop now just when I'm hating it?
posted by designbot at 10:06 AM on September 17, 2008


I'd rather see no more Hitchhiker books and no more Dirk Gently books (and no more James Bond books, and so on).
posted by kirkaracha at 10:20 AM on September 17, 2008


This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.

favorited to get it up to 42. no one better favorite or unfavorite at this point, or my favorite will have been for nothing.
posted by jermsplan at 10:23 AM on September 17, 2008


Mostly Harmless gets way too much crap. It's not as good as the other books, and its humor is a lot darker, but it's still eminently readable.

I'm somewhat disdainful of the idea of somebody else taking up the mantle (and I really wish the widows of wealthy writers would stop whoring out their husbands' corpses -- I'm looking at you, Janet Asimov), but I'll probably read it, just out of curiosity. Who knows; it might even be good.
posted by Target Practice at 10:26 AM on September 17, 2008


>They were his books to milk.

And now they're his estate's to milk.

>While I can understand why a publishing company, which is, after all, merely some mutant form of intestinal parasite, would want to suck as many dollars, pounds, euros, and yen from unsuspecting readers as possible, it boggles [OF bogglier, to strike with an amphibian] my mind why an apparently intelligent writer would want to participate in such a scheme.

Because Adam's widow asked him to?

And maybe you're being unnecessarily harsh with publishing companies, what with the fact that you wouldn't have books, let alone high quality, well written literature, without them.
posted by Caduceus at 10:27 AM on September 17, 2008


This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
posted by mandal at 6:29 AM on September 17 [42 favorites +]


I was going to favorite this, but... 42 favorites! I couldn't ruin it.
posted by shmegegge at 10:32 AM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


shmegegge, I did exactly the same thing.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:41 AM on September 17, 2008


As did I.
posted by mephron at 10:46 AM on September 17, 2008


I would favorite this statement but it's stuck at 42 favorites. That seems all too appropriate.
posted by Sandor Clegane at 11:02 AM on September 17, 2008


shmegegge - beat me to it!
posted by Sandor Clegane at 11:03 AM on September 17, 2008


Metafilter: I would favorite this statement, but...
posted by Target Practice at 11:05 AM on September 17, 2008


meanwhile, in mandal's head:

oh fine! enjoy your 42, you bastards. BUT WHAT ABOUT MY MISSING FAVORITES!
posted by shmegegge at 11:17 AM on September 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


Sacred legacy or no, Mostly Harmless was pretty conclusive, wasn't it?
posted by Jpfed at 11:28 AM on September 17, 2008


the sixth one will be told from the point of view of the Hyperintelligent Shade of Blue present when Zaphod stole the Heart of Gold.
posted by shmegegge at 11:30 AM on September 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


either that, or it will detail Marvin's time spent on Magrathea (and eventually the Restaurant At the End of the Universe) waiting for Zaphod, Arthur et al. to return for 576,000,003,579 years.
posted by shmegegge at 11:34 AM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Chapter 1:

This is the diary of me, Marvin the Robot, while I wait for my masters to return. I am waiting on Magrathea. I have been for one year. It has been, unsurprisingly, the worst year of my life.

Chapter 2:

Year 2 has been, to no one's surprise, even worse than the last one.

Chapter 3:

Year 3 worse still, if you can believe it. And I can.
posted by shmegegge at 11:36 AM on September 17, 2008 [5 favorites]


The movie premiered well after his death. And it wasn't that bad.

It was pretty bad.
posted by Artw at 11:51 AM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hitchhikers/Dune crossover!
posted by Artw at 11:52 AM on September 17, 2008


...Adams' early death ended the series with all the main characters seemingly meeting a grizzly end.

Was there a version of Mostly Harmless in which the entire cast was mauled by bears?

Because I would like to read that.
posted by maqsarian at 12:07 PM on September 17, 2008


Hitchhikers/Dune crossover!

In which Arthur Dent wraps himself in sandtrout, gaining the superpowers necessary to combat the alliance of Brian Herbert and the ghola Frank Herbert (commissioned from the Bene Tleilax by Tor Books).

I would read that.
posted by everichon at 12:16 PM on September 17, 2008


And then I want to see some Bene Gesserits or at least some Honored Matres come in and make short--but sexy--work of Palin. Kull wahad!
posted by everichon at 12:18 PM on September 17, 2008


The Hitchhiker's movie: Actualy I quite liked it.
posted by Reverend John at 12:27 PM on September 17, 2008


Gosh, I'm glad I'm not the only one. I expect Penguin and Colfer assumed that fans would be pleased that the story would be carried on, that we'd be happy to simply spend the time with familiar characters no matter who the author is. What they haven't realised is that for many of us, this is personal. For some of us, particularly those of us who are Doctor Who fans too, Adams is or rather was something of a folk hero, and the story of the actual writing of the books as important a tapestry and part of the narrative as the books themselves (which I agree didn't hang together as a narrative, but that was never really the point).

Douglas found the books pure torture to write. He never kept to deadlines, often recycled ideas often from his Doctor Who and was, like Woody Allen, very self deprecating about the results. The Allen comparison is interesting, because like Woody who dumped the whole original first version of his film September, Adams substantially rewrote Life, The Universe and Everything to make it less dark and introspective. Except of course, arguably Allen is industrious to a fault whereas all of Douglas's words are precious -- even the final short chapter of the first Hitchhiker's Book.

But there's no denying that there is a kind of ramshackle structure to the series and though he toyed for ages with writing a sixth book and resolving the story, I think I read in an interview somewhere that he decided that it was best left as it was (insert the discussion from Kevin Smith's Clerks about life being a series of down endings). He began and got part way through a third Dirk Gently instead (found in The Salmon of Doubt). My favourite is 'So Long and Thanks For All The Fish' because its that most unexpected of things, a love story, and a touching and bittersweet one at that. Also it ignores Zaphod, who was never his bestest character and I assume Colfer will spread liberally through the new book like a rash, because again, he has his fans.

I've already heard the radio adaptation justification which works somewhere along the lines of 'well Dirk Maggs gave the series an ending there and introduced new material for the radio series so what's wrong with this Artemis Fowl bloke doing the same?' The difference there was that Maggs was adaopting text for a new medium, and very carefully either deployed some of Adams's ideas to fill in the narrative gaps or else produced material entirely in keeping with the original -- having known Douglas he already had a good idea of what he going to do himself with adaptations (some of which he'd already had a go at writing). In his ending for the Quandary phase (or Mostly Harmless), he was completing the radio series.

The problem with this sixth book is that it's Colfer's idea of how the story might end. As far as we can gather he's not working from Douglas's notes (presumably because there weren't any) and will be writing them in his own style rather than a faux version of Adams. Which is fine, he can do what he likes. The problem is that its being targeted and marketed as some official sequel to the series and will presumably turn up in future omnibuses and boxsets and have a paperback cover which pays homage to the originals somehow and have a title which like the other books spring from the pages of the text. And since this is basically fan fiction, there'll be all of the temptation to boxtick, explain inconsistencies, tie up loose ends, none of which Douglas himself was all that interested in doing.

I don't know, but how do Frank Herbert fans feel about all of the Kevin Anderson additions? Or the writers who've left their muddy footprints in Asimov's universes? Another point worth making is that this smells of attempting to turn the Hitchhiker's verse into a franchisable shared universe ala Doctor Who. The difference is that even though Sydney Newman is nominally listed as creator, Waris Hussein and Verity Lambert had as much to do with its development as did the original pilot writer David Whitakker and Terry Nation and every other writer whose worked on the series. Gallifrey wasn't their idea and neither was regeneration or the timelords. It's a shared universe without a single creator and is built to withstand it. I'd be horrified to thing that there'll be Young Slartibartfast novels in its future.

The point is, I don't care what happens to Arthur after Mostly Harmless, unless Douglas is writing it. And that's not likely now is it?
posted by feelinglistless at 12:28 PM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh and the film was rubbish, mostly because it had the audacity to throw out most of Douglas's agonised over, finely tuned, quotably funny dialogue in favour of something which was inferior and often had the ring of being improvised.

But I'll admit that Zooey's Trillian was the best of the lot, with apologies to Sandra and Susan.
posted by feelinglistless at 12:32 PM on September 17, 2008


“Just as there's nothing sacred about the Star Wars, James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, Dune or any other fictional universe.”

I suppose I’d be more affected if the HHGTG universe wasn’t created specifically for me. (Is that a piece of fairy cake? I'm really hungry.)

Although I disagree about the later work not screwing up the former work. To differing degrees, less or more.
But that is absolutely true in the case of Star Wars in terms of retcon (It was all midichlorians!) and in the literal sense of going back and recutting the film.

But yeah. Don’t have to buy them. It was pretty much all about DA’s wit anyway. The story lines, etc. etc. didn’t matter much. He didn’t strive to create a world that can stand on its own.
Which, really, is why this new stuff will fail. DA turning a phrase - interesting. The HHGTG story itself - meh.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:47 PM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


meanwhile, in mandal's head:

oh fine! enjoy your 42, you bastards. BUT WHAT ABOUT MY MISSING FAVORITES!


The 42 is lovely, in a full circle kind of way. Someone needs to drop me though.
posted by mandal at 12:49 PM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


it was, as i understand, douglas adams who did most of the writing for the movie. I liked the movie. I thought it was exactly as deviant from the books as the books were from the radio show and the tv show from all of the above. I thought they got more of the spectacular narrative humor in than the tv show did, and I liked a lot of the new gimmicks, like the empathy ray and the thinking trap. it had weak points, but it also had the a magrathean workshop that bettered what I imagined when I read about it originally. and when adams' face appeared at the end, I choked up a bit.
posted by shmegegge at 12:50 PM on September 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


"How many books will be published in the inaccurately named Hitchhiker's Guide the the Galaxy trilogy?"
posted by erniepan at 12:57 PM on September 17, 2008


I refuse to believe Douglas Adams wrote the final script to the movie.

I'm sure he wrote a script; one that was largely thrown out after his death.

If he really did write the final script to the movie, well... maybe it's not such a bad thing that he never got a crack at doing a sixth book.
posted by Target Practice at 1:15 PM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


"it was, as i understand, douglas adams who did most of the writing for the movie."

Actually its his structure which generally survived -- including the use of the gun. The script, however, went through many, many revisions before it reached the screen, ultimately by Karey Kirkpatrick, who having said in this interview with himself how important Douglas's words are, dumped most of them before it reached the screen.
posted by feelinglistless at 1:23 PM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I can believe that. I don't know what to say. I still kinda dug it. Is it as good as the books? Of course not. I also think the tv show is flat out horrible, and the radio show, while kind of awesome, is still less awesome than the books. So yeah, I think the movie is ok, even though it's not as good as the books.
posted by shmegegge at 2:25 PM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Look, can one of you lay down in front of his typewriter? The rest of us are going to the pub.
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:42 PM on September 17, 2008 [7 favorites]


The movie is... not as entirely horrible as it could be.
posted by Artw at 2:50 PM on September 17, 2008


Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Eoin Colfer the literary equivalent of a mugging.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 3:27 PM on September 17, 2008


Well, I dunno. I want to preface this by saying that I'm not anywhere near as attached to these books as many of you are. I don't think I ever read the whole series, for one thing; I remember losing interest around the fourth one, as my reading tastes veered toward horror and Adams seemed to be losing his flair anyway and I was also around fourteen, to properly contextualize all of this. But Hitchhiker's is one of the first books I remember checking out of the grownups' section of the library, and I loved it. This is gonna sound really stupid, but I'm not sure I knew how really funny a book could be until then, and I'd be lying if I neglected to mention Adams's humor and deep, dark cynicism about society struck a major chord in me, affected both my outlook on the world and my own writing (for better or worse) at an age so young as to have irreversible consequences, and basically, in a way that may seem small but probably really wasn't, changed me as a person. So. I have a lot of love for these books -- the ones I read, and the way I remember them, as incomplete and as not entirely accurate as those memories surely are -- but.

While I personally have no real interest in a fanfic sequel (by this writer, at least; I'd also be lying if I said I'd definitely lack interest in a fanfic sequel by someone else, even though I'd prefer that good writers work with their own material), I don't see the harm. I just...don't. Some readers miss these characters enough to want to read new stories about them, even if they know it won't be the same; certainly Adams's survivors would like the money. Who's getting hurt? Not Adams's books. Which, actually, I'm thinking of rereading now.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:10 PM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


So when is the New New Testament coming out? I mean, we have other people writing followup Heinlein books, sequels to Gone With the Wind, new Bond books... now this?

Note: When I say "New New Testament", I don't mean Scientology, The Book of Mormon, or any Star Trek novels.

Fuck all this noise.

Can't people write THEIR OWN FUCKING ORIGINAL IDEAS ANYMORE!!! GOD DAMNASDFASD;LAKDJF;LDFKSAHF2!!#!!

This makes me incoherent with rage and despair. incoherent.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 5:09 PM on September 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Unicorn on the cob - BEHOLD!

The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers
posted by Artw at 5:17 PM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


god... dammit Artw. just. that.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 6:06 PM on September 17, 2008


This is a great idea, let's make it into a never ending series. A franchise of books! Great teams of writers writing until the ideas go dry, and going beyond that. If they get tired, more can be hired. Let's have 42 Books in the trilogy, what a laff that would be. Do you get it? 42? Like in the book. Hilarious, the fans will love it! We can have more movies too, and maybe a television show on ABC done by the J. J. Abrams. EA could do wonders with the franchise too, think of it, an RTS or maybe a Cricket game for the Xbox! The possibilities are endless. We should all back this project, I don't see why you are all against it. He could be bigger than Star Wars if this is marketed right. Plus, it would be like he never died. It'll be just like him writing it the first time, but again and again, and again and forever on. Our grandchildren will be reading the series, and our great grandchildren. This is a free trip to immortality for the series and Douglas Adams. This is big 'G' Glory right out of Homeric myth. He could be forever known as the source of endless commercialized shit about some space book and hitchhiking. This is as respectful as consumerism gets, so let's just say why not? It is the highest honor we can get out of this culture. Let's let the dead man have it.
posted by TwelveTwo at 7:00 PM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Here's another vote for Mostly Harmless being so bad (and so incredibly depressing) that it made the first four books worse retroactively.

If you read the series, stop after the fourth book, call it the end, and be happy.

For what it's worth, Douglas Adams himself thought it was too depressing, and was planning to write another book to give it a more cheerful end.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:32 PM on September 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


what
posted by krinklyfig at 8:58 PM on September 17, 2008


Unicorn on the cob - Why the IAMTW? (I AM a Tie-in Writer) ... The name itself is a declaration of pride in what we do: I AM a Tie-in Writer. We say it with pride because we are very proud of what we do and the books we write.

Say it! Say the name!
posted by Artw at 11:20 PM on September 17, 2008


Oh and the film was rubbish, mostly because it had the audacity to throw out most of Douglas's agonised over, finely tuned, quotably funny dialogue in favour of something which was inferior and often had the ring of being improvised.

Precisely. The thing that was missed by the movie's creators, predictably, was that the books were all about the words. Which shouldn't have been an easy thing to miss, when you think about it.

Take away most of the wordplay and you take away most of the heart.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:26 PM on September 17, 2008


The movie was terrible. It was as though someone had gone through the script and removed all the punchlines from it.
posted by quarsan at 12:23 AM on September 18, 2008


(backs away from Artw with rosary, garlic, Thesaurus)
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:19 AM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I love Douglas Adams. I've read all his published books and listened to HHGTTG on the radio when it was first broadcast and followed his usenet entries. I was gutted when he died and even more so when I read "Salmon of Doubt" which contained the seeds of so many good things. And yeah, count me in as one who enjoyed "Mostly Harmless", whilst conceding that it had an entirely different feel. (But most of the books were different from each other, after the first two).

My initial thought was to compare the idea of this chap writing in Douglas Adams' universe to the terrible thing that was done to Victoria Andrew's fictional universe after she died, but then I thought well she was pretty crap to begin with but even so what came afterwards was infinitely more putrid (or so I've heard) and all done in her name which seems very unfair and obviously all about the marketability of her name and nothing else. And Gary Jennings wrote the most incredible historical fiction book set in the time of the Aztecs called, appropriately, "Aztec"; it took him 10 years to research it and when he died, horrible people wrote books in his name as sequels based on his research which were incredibly badly written. I just hate that shit.

But. It's more than possible that something good can come from Douglas Adams' influence. The sheer gigalgatrons of internet entries in just about every forum you can think of on the internet, from the the early days of usenet to just about every application you can think of now, is extraordinary. Douglas Adams permeates the internet. There are many people who wish to encapsulate things with just the right turn of phrase, both deprecating and clever, using the Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy universe. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.

This guy happened to get lucky enough to get paid to do it and have it marketed mercilessly.. If it's shit he'll never get over it. That's punishment enough, surely? And if it's good, well, that would surely be because he loves Douglas Adams' turn of phrase and his perspective and his universe and he wants to honour it and keep it going.

I'm happy for it to keep going so long as it's not lame. Surely someone who wasn't a fan of Douglas Adams wouldn't even think about taking the gig?

(This is what I'm hoping, anyway).
posted by h00py at 8:38 AM on September 18, 2008


There's a Facebook group if you're into that kind of thing. If enough people join it might scare Penguin.
posted by motty at 8:39 AM on September 18, 2008


quarsan: The movie was terrible. It was as though someone had gone through the script and removed all the punchlines from it.

The epitome of this, to me, is the difference between the airlock scenes in the book and the movie. (I can't remember how it played out on the radio, but I think it was substantially similar to the book version.)

In the book, when Arthur says they're going to die, Ford says something like, "Oh, I expect so. Except... wait! What's this?" and Arthur gets all excited and says "What? What is it?" and Ford says, "Nothing, I was only joking. We really are going to die." (I'm paraphrasing, of course.)

In the movie, Arthur says they're going to die, and Ford says, "Oh, I expect so. Except... wait! What's this?" and then grabs at some crank or something and starts turning it, saying disappointedly, "this... this is nothing."

It's like they thought the audience wouldn't "get" Ford playing a prank on Arthur in the last seconds of their lives, so they had to make him just as much of a straight-man.
posted by Target Practice at 9:44 AM on September 18, 2008


As far as design, visual effects and casting go it was pretty good, though I kind of prefer the old TV show Zaphod head, even if it was kidn of dead looking.
posted by Artw at 10:16 AM on September 18, 2008


The movie premiered well after his death. And it wasn't that bad.

You're right; it was worse. It is extremely rare that I am unable to watch an entire movie. Watching that steaming pile of excrement was like being raped by Satan. In the eyeballs.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:31 AM on September 18, 2008


Didn’t actually cause the pixels in my TV to form a coherent light beam that lased the volumes from my shelf.
posted by Artw at 10:44 AM on September 18, 2008


Watching that steaming pile of excrement was like being raped by Satan. In the eyeballs.

You say that like it's a bad thing.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:04 PM on September 18, 2008


I agree with (you guys, the ones who agree with me) in the thread, in that HHGG == DNA. Something like Star Trek is a shared commodity, just collective optimism. HHGG is much more compressed and personal.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:15 PM on September 18, 2008


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