Sunday, 17 May 2009

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Douglas Adams and the answer to everything

For our next look at a classic author and work, we'll be covering The Hitchhiker's guide to The galaxy by Douglas Adams.

Let's face it, if you've ever read much SF, or indeed much fiction at all, chances are that you'll have read the Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy, by the late Douglas Adams. There's a much more to HHGTTG than the movie or the much-loved BBC TV series. The original radio series was marvellous, and the five books in the 'trilogy' are wonderful things that nothing else has genuinely been able to capture the magic of.

The use of language is ingenious, and it is a testament to the talent of Douglas Adams that the books have not only been hugely popular, but also have become deeply ingrained into popular culture.

The character of Arthur Dent is a very recognizable Everyman character that the general populace really latched onto. Add to this the wild levels of creativity in painting his vision of this science fiction universe and you have the basis for a classic.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy captured the imaginations of millions of readers, and via the TV series, radio plays and movie it found generations of new addicts. Not bad for a comedy Sci-fi story about not forgetting your towel. The various versions do differ from one another in subtle ways as Adams liked to rework the universe he created for it for each medium that it went to.

Arthur Dent is a very interesting character to have as the central protagonist in a science fiction comedy. he's not a hero, not particularly bright, but is someone audiences can really relate to because of those very things. Arthur was played in the 2005 movie by Martin Freeman of 'the Office' and other popular comedy shows, and while the film itself was flawed and imperfect, martin was pitch perfect as the rather hapless Arthur.

After Douglas Adams sadly passed away, it seemed the saga had ended. Not so. A new sixth book in the series is on the way from author Eoin Colfer, who used Adams' notes to help continue the legendary book series.

Why is it seen as one of the greatest works of fiction ever produced? Well, the simple answer is that it is brilliant, and the other answer, even more simply, is 42.

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