A Conversation for Peer Review

A88027392 - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Encyclopedia Galactica

Post 1

Bluebottle

Entry: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Encyclopedia Galactica - A88027392
Author: Bluebottle - U43530

<BB<


A88027392 - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Encyclopedia Galactica

Post 2

SashaQ - happysad

Fascinating! smiley - ok


A88027392 - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Encyclopedia Galactica

Post 3

SashaQ - happysad

It would be helpful if you could double check the HG Wells quote matches the original text, as there may be a few typos.

"Like the Encyclopaedia Galactica the Guide has" - Douglas's Encyclopaedia Galactica, or Asimov's?

What was the limitation on the size of HG Wells' Great Encyclopaedia? The limitation on Asimov's Encyclopedia Galactica is that it was to be as concise as possible?

The limitation on the Guide was "only a
limited amount of space in the book's microprocessors," rather than a strict wordcount that caused Ford's Entry to be edited down to one or two words.

Lessons for modern day encyclopaedias and Guides indeed - space and conciseness are valuable commodities smiley - ok This Entry is "germane to the issue at immediate hand" - thank you.


A88027392 - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Encyclopedia Galactica

Post 4

Bluebottle

Thank for reading through and commenting on this, I've made some changes.

With regards Wells, he really does write like that. For 500 pages. It is a very dry text. But 'seventeenth million' is as written in my (Corgi 1974) copy of 'The Shape of Things to Come'. If there are any other phrases you're querying then please ask, but I've double-checked and that is the way he wrote.

But since writing this while reading about Alfred Noyes I came across an anecdote about HG Wells when he was writing 'The Shape of Things To Come' which I can share with you, if you'd like?

With the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, as you know there are different versions with slight changes. I generally go by the radio series, partly because it was the first to be written and so truer to Adams' original concept, but mainly because it was what I encountered first. In the radio show, the line about 'Mostly Harmless' is:
'Well there are a hundred billion stars in the galaxy and a limited amount of space in the book. And no one knew much about the Earth of course.' It doesn't mention 'microprocessors' so it seems odd to add them now.

<BB<


A88027392 - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Encyclopedia Galactica

Post 5

Galaxy Babe - eclectic editor

>>The Encyclopaedia organisation, which centres upon Barcelona, with its seventeenth million active workers, is the Memory of Mankind.<<

I agree, this does look very odd. Perhaps you could add "[sic]" after "seventeenth" to show it's not your error? smiley - smiley

This is fascinating, and great Guide material. smiley - ta


A88027392 - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Encyclopedia Galactica

Post 6

Bluebottle

Thanks GB, I've made that tweak now.smiley - ok

<BB<


A88027392 - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Encyclopedia Galactica

Post 7

Galaxy Babe - eclectic editor

smiley - ok


A88027392 - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Encyclopedia Galactica

Post 8

SashaQ - happysad

Thanks for double-checking the quote against your version smiley - ok I had previously just found some random thing on the internet, so wasn't sure if it was paraphrasing, but today I found this version http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks03/0301391h.html that includes 'seventeen' and 'Encyclopaedic organization', too.

That's interesting about the radio series not including the word 'microprocessors' in its definition of 'space' while the book does. I still think 'space' does not imply 'wordcount', though - 'Mostly Harmless' takes up more space than eg 'It is OK' and no more space than 'Inconsequential' (I might be Marvin, but for me the conclusion still potentially comes across as being more about wordcounts in the h2g2.com Editorial Guidelines than about encyclopaedias, although the main body of the Entry is much clearer now, thanks).

The conclusion also doesn't seem quite right because the main body of the Entry explains Douglas Adams' 'encyclopaedic works' weren't all about where to get the best drinks. Difficult writing factually about fiction, and especially the 'trilogy in five parts' where its canon evolved with each iteration - on the one hand some civilisations use the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as "the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom", but on the other hand "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is simply a guide book"...

Good mention of HG Wells and the prediction of internet-based knowledge repositories smiley - ok Asimov posthumously mentioned "computerised connection with the [central] Galactic Library" - can you say a few words to indicate how the invention of the internet influenced him? I see Douglas talks about the internet in here A550955smiley - ok

I know very little about Alfred Noyes - do share the anecdote smiley - biggrin


A88027392 - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Encyclopedia Galactica

Post 9

Bluebottle

Sorry - I missed this while h2g2 has been, erm, interesting...

I've tweaked the entry so that it says 'size limit of some form' to hopefully avoid getting bogged down with whether a fictional book's 'limited space' is based on wordcount, number of characters or whatever, especially considering the multiple languages involved (if a smiley - fish in your ear translates what you hear, do you need to stick a smiley - fish in your eye to translate what you read?). I've also removed mentions of h2g2 and Wikipedia if you think that confuses the issue.

I've also added a quote from Asimov about his view of the internet too.

<BB<


A88027392 - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Encyclopedia Galactica

Post 10

Bluebottle

So Alfred Noyes was a successful early 20th Century poet who sadly had lived in London. On visiting the Isle of Wight he naturally fell in love with the place and immediately decided to move here, and so started to sell his London house. HG Wells decided to buy the London home and flew to Shanklin to speak to Noyes directly and get a good deal. On his arrival at Noyes house he announced that his luggage had been left behind and jotted down plans for a publicity campaign, saying that the only copy of his manuscript for 'The Shape of Things to Come' was in his lost bag. Wells immediately phoned newspaper magnets such as Lord Beaverbrook who owned the Daily Express to get lots of publicity for the missing manuscript.
Noyes quietly phoned the director of Isle of Wight Air, had a chat and soon the bag was found in Newcastle alongside luggage belonging to a Mrs Wells who had also flown from London the same day. To ensure that the missing manuscript could be flown down immediately Well' heavy chest was opened so that the manuscript could be flown down immediately on a light plane, but no manuscript was in the case – it apparently had all been a publicity stunt and Wells hated Noyes for the rest of his life for interfering.
Wells bought Noyes' home and apparently if he ever received any post addressed to Noyes at the new home he would return it 'Not known' or 'No such person'. Shortly after buying the house Wells was trying to figure out how to unfold a fire escape ladder which, when unhitched, hit him on the nose. This led to him immediately contacting the press to get revenge and newspaper headlines such as 'HG Wells Gets Blow on Nose at Poet's House', with Noyes spending the rest of his life saying that he hadn't hit Wells and wasn't anywhere near him at the time of the incident.

<BB<


A88027392 - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Encyclopedia Galactica

Post 11

Bluebottle

Now with 2021 'Starship Titanic' radio adaptation paragraph.

<BB<


A88027392 - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Encyclopedia Galactica

Post 12

Gnomon - time to move on

I skimmed through this but confused between when you were talking about the Guide and when you were talking about Douglas Adams's Book/Radio Series/TV Series of the same name about the Guide.

You're not consistent in your spelling of Enyclopedia / Encyclopaedia.


A88027392 - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Encyclopedia Galactica

Post 13

Bluebottle

Thanks for reading Gnomon - good points made.
I've changed it so that now when discussing the series I always include the word 'Series' after 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy', I've changed the mention of the Vogons buying 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' company to Megadodo Publications and so if 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' is mentioned without the word 'series' after, it always means the Guide.

I agree that I wasn't consistent in the spelling of Enyclopedia / Encyclopaedia. Initially as the spelling is of a name, I was using the spelling used in each book. On the grounds that the use of British English wouldn't apply to names, so if, say, an American was named 'Ramses' you wouldn't change it to 'Ramesses'. Unfortunately in my books at least there isn't consistency - Asimov's books use both Enyclopedia and Encyclopaedia for the Encyclopaedia Galactica.

However if I am using the same spelling throughout then I can't use either of those spellings, as the Enyclopædia Britannica - which has been one of the world's foremost reference books for centuries - uses an ash. I cannot overrule how the Encyclopædia Britannica spells its own name, even though I don't think the use of an ash works in a science-fiction context.

<BB<


A88027392 - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Encyclopedia Galactica

Post 14

Gnomon - time to move on

You say that Adams may have thought of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation based on the initials of Susan Calvin.

As I explained in my post article A87898469 it is more likely from Philip José Farmer's "Sirian Trading Corporation".


A88027392 - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Encyclopedia Galactica

Post 15

Bluebottle

I'm sorry that I believe that I missed your smiley - thepost entry when it first came out - by which I mean I really enjoyed it and think it is exactly the sort of thing that should be in the Guide. You had a good point that was definitely well made, so happy to agree with that.

It doesn't preclude the possibility that Susan Calvin may also have had a role, as inspiration often comes from multiple sources (such as 'Star Wars' being inspired by numerous sources such as 'Dune', 'Flash Gordon', 'Hidden Fortress', 'Seven Samurai', 'The Dambusters', '633 Squadron' etc etc...). Or might be coincidental.smiley - shrug

<BB<


Key: Complain about this post