The Hitchhiker’s Guide Turns 30

Geek Culture

Cover image © Pan MacmillanCover image © Pan Macmillan

Original 1979 cover image © Pan Macmillan

On October 12, 1979, a novelization of a popular British radio series first saw publication. In the next 22 years, its author would become an icon of humorous geek literature, would write four sequels to it, and would, tragically, die of a heart attack at the age of 49.

It has now been thirty years since The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy first saw print, and the anniversary serves to remind the world community of geeks of how much we miss Douglas Adams. It’s true that the quality of the books in the Hitchhiker’s series seemed to get progressively worse with each installment (in this geek’s opinion, at least), but there are few geeks who would argue that Adams was not a seminal author of science-fiction humor.

In honor (if that’s the right word) of this anniversary, a sixth installment of the series hits the bookshelves today. And Another Thing…, written by Eoin Colfer (best known for his Artemis Fowl series), has thus far received mostly positive reviews, though I have yet to read a review written by a hardcore Adams fan who grew up with Hitchhiker’s, who read and mostly comprehended Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, and who was actually able to solve the Hitchhiker’s and Bureaucracy Infocom games that Adams worked on. I would also love to hear what Neil Gaiman, who wrote a wonderful biography of Adams before he became justly famous in his own right, thinks of the new book.

So make yourself a Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster or a nice hot cup of tea after dinner tonight and drink to the memory of Douglas Adams and the wonderfully funny weirdness he brought to the world.

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