As the sixth full-cast series of Hitchhiker's Guide ended, it was hard not to mop one's bleeding ears and think what a sorry task it had been.Antonia Quirke, The New Statesman, 27th April 2018
It's the biggest thing to happen to the universe since the Vogons blew up Earth. Our writer grabs a babelfish and goes behind the scenes as the space satire returns.Stephen Moss, The Guardian, 27th February 2018
Eight years after Douglas Adams's death, Book at Bedtime unveils the sixth story in his Hitchhikers series. The story, titled And Another Thing... has been written by Eoin Colfer, the author of the Artemis Fowl books. Colfer was granted the honour by Jane Belson, Adams' widow. The announcement of the new book outraged some Hitchhikers fanatics but delighted many more. It is fitting that the fiction should debut on Radio 4: Adams's sci-fi adventures of Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect originally began as a comedy series on the station in the late Seventies.Jod Mitchell, The Telegraph, 12th October 2009
Since I agreed to do Hitchhiker part six a lot of people have approached me to say how brave I am.Eoin Colfer, The Guardian, 10th October 2009
Just occasionally, fictional creations take on a life of their own and become so much a part of contemporary culture that they feel like folklore, as if no single writer could have invented them. Thirty years ago next week, the first book by Douglas Adams was published, a comic science-fiction novel based on his scripts for a BBC radio serial. Although the radio series had a cult following, and the paperback quickly became a bestseller, it's unlikely that anyone in 1979 guessed what a global phenomenon The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy would become.
Adams wrote five books in his "trilogy". The last, Mostly Harmless, came out in 1992 and, despite the wit and invention, the underlying bleakness of the satire was inescapable, and further sequels seemed impossible, with all the characters killed off. Later, Adams spoke of second thoughts about that ending, and said that he might write a sixth instalment, but then came his sudden death in 2001, at the age of 49. His saga, though, lived on, even gaining in popularity when the film was released in 2005.
In publishing today, any work that sells is presumed to be in need of a sequel, so a continuation of The Hitchhiker's Guide by another hand was inevitable. That hand turned out to belong to Eoin Colfer, the author of the Artemis Fowl series for young adults. Fans can put away the axes right now, because he has done a fine job. I thought at first he was going for safe-but-dull, as, apart from some good new jokes from the all-knowing Guide, it all seemed overly familiar, a bit tame, with nothing much happening - apart, of course, from the rescue from extinction of Arthur Dent, Trillian Astra, their daughter Random Dent, and so on. Maybe the human characters have too much history already, or maybe Colfer found it hard to make much of Arthur's passive Englishness, because the book achieves lunatic warp speed only when he gets away from them.
I hope it's not rude to suggest that Colfer is happier in the company of evil, dribbling Vogons than with ordinary human beings, but he writes about aliens and gods with inventive, infectious glee, even investing old two-heads, Zaphod Beeblebrox, with fresh life. Encounters with various Norse gods are enormously entertaining, and as he can't poke fun at Englishness in the same way that Adams did, he gives us another stereotype to enjoy: "With regards to diddle-ee-aye Irishness, Hillman Hunter was the whole bag of potatoes."
I haven't read anything in a long time that made me laugh as much as the battles on Planet Nano involving the elderly super-rich, their personal trainers and a sect of cheese-worshippers who cry, "You will bring Edamnation down on us all!" I can imagine that phrase, and a few others, joining the famous aphorisms of Adams.Lisa Tuttle, The Times, 10th October 2009