My first contact with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy must have been the BBC TV production, now that I’m thinking back on it. I’m not 100% positive, mind you. But I seem to remember watching it with my Dad way back when digital watches were still a pretty neat idea. (Noticed that TV series is on Netflix now – gotta make time to watch that again…)
I did read the books — the first three anyway — in quick succession after that. I played the Infocom text game. I finally heard the original BBC broadcast about 10 years ago (still have those MP3s somewhere). I hold up his foreword to the collected first three books as the standard by which all book forewords should be written. I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed with H2G2, but I’m a really, really big fan.
I think it’s that first book I love most — it is nothing short of classic. What is so frustrating about it is that it looks so easy to write. Arthur Dent, travelling through the universe in his bathrobe. Ford Prefect, a name he took after what he thought was the dominant life form on Earth. A depressed robot…!!!
And lines like this, about making the jump to hyperspace:
Ford Prefect: ‘It’s unpleasantly like being drunk.’
Arthur Dent: ‘What’s so unpleasant about being drunk?’
Ford Prefect: ‘You ask a glass of water.’
It was 10 years ago today that Douglas Adams died of a heart attack. So tonight, I raise a Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster to one of the funniest, wittiest, effortless writers (not to mention one of my favourites).