Happy Birthday Hitchhikers!
It's exactly 30 years since the first novel in a five-part trilogy that you may have heard of was first published. Three decades on and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is still going strong. The original radio series has spawned not only the books but a TV series, computer games, stage shows, comic books, a website called h2g2 and, of course, some towels. Adams's untimely death in 2001 called only a temporary halt to new Hitchhikers releases; in 2004 the Tertiary Phase was broadcast on Radio Four, closely followed by The Quandary Phase and The Quintessential Phase.
And, just before the Quandary Phase, there was the Hitchhikers film.
The film really seemed to polarise opinion among fans of the series, and at the heart of the displeasure for some was the knowledge that Douglas had died halfway through writing the screenplay. Personally, I rather enjoyed it. While it was clearly not entirely Adams's own work, it was very entertaining and introduced a new generation to the series, and I got a nice warm glow seeing it up there on the big screen at last. I even wore a dressing gown and took a towel to the first showing.
So spare a thought for Eoin Colfer. The Irish author has taken on a mighty task in writing the sixth part of the trilogy, And Another Thing, and it's published today. The knives seem to be out for him already, even though Adams's widow has apparently given her blessing to the idea. It's the first in the series to have sprung entirely from a hand other than Adams's, and it's going to be interesting to see the reaction it gets. Last week we ran a piece in The Post, also titled And Another Thing, and if you're interested in hearing Colfer's thoughts the webcast linked to from that page is still online. I wish him all the best with it, and just hope for his sake that it isn't a stinker.
If you're not keen on reading Colfer's novel, you could do worse than get stuck into the fabulous On The Subject of Pie series written by our own Alex Ashman. We're repeating the first part of it in this issue, along with the usual eclectic mix of new articles. I hope you're enjoying the new format. It's certainly fun to put together, particularly when a certain member of the team comes home from 'walking the dog' (coincidentally at around closing time) and comes up with an onion-related section header. I won't say who came up with it. That wouldn't be fair.
But talking of Beatrice, we'd like to wish her a happy birthday – she's 21 today!
Enjoy the issue.