Douglas Adams said that the television version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was his least favorite incarnation. (Remember, this is before the Disney film came out.) And yet, he planned to write a second season, a project bashed apart by disagreements with the BBC.
Many of the ideas for season 2 went into the third book in the trilogy, Life, the Universe, and Everything, and were salvaged from a Doctor Who storyline that was never used (largely, the invention of Krikkit). This week, at the Chortle Comedy Book Festival, one of the scenes based on Adams’ ideas was enacted by Toby Longworth and Jem Roberts (with permission of Adams’ daughter, of course). This scene sees Arthur and Ford escaping prehistoric Earth not by Chesterfield sofa, but by a mysterious door. As bureaucratic as space-time “under construction” signs are, I think we can agree that a sofa is far more Adams-esque. (You will remember the first Dirk Gently book revolves around a sofa stuck in the stairway.)
So, yes Adams’ notes reveal the origin of thoughts we saw delivered in future books, like the truth drug and further jabs at presidency, but also mysterious lines like, “The submarine refuge. I wonder now how good an idea this is. I might have been a bit drunk.”
Why Americans should care: Douglas Adams’ works are widely available in the U.S., and are therefore a strong element of our geek culture and sci-fi legacy. The film and TV series are both readily available on DVD in region 1 NTSC, and the radio shows are in stores in CD format. The H2G2 books are in bookstores as single volumes and one compilation book. In fact, Simon & Schuster here in the States just came out with a new printing of the Dirk Gently series. Of course, you can get all this stuff online, too.
Read more: Chortle