I did a paper, many Moons ago, for an English literature course in University. It was back in a time when I actually thought I would have a career in fiction writing or even teaching. The fiction writing, while it is no career, has paid…as for the teaching, dropping that is a story for another day.
I began the paper at mid-year, over the holidays, as it would be due in April and I had seven books to read. It was to be a comparison on two book series. The first set, and the first three I read, were The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I enjoyed it enough that I finished all three books within a week. Then, however, reading week came along and I picked up the second set…a “Trilogy in Four Parts”…though it is actually six parts now, called The Hithhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Upon first picking up the adventures of Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect, I had no idea of the coming love affair I would have with the creations of Douglas Adams. This set proved to me that wild and crazy imagination can work…everything from the planet of mattresses to elevators sulking in the basement over lack of freedom to beings that invented arousal deodorant before the wheel…and it even inspired me to get my first story published.
With this first reading, I always recall the image of Patrick Stewart (think Captain Jean-Luc Picard) in a bathtub on the bridge of his ship of politicians. Oddly enough, though Douglas makes a laugh of it, this has always struck me as a feasible third option to the arguments about Evolutionary holes…what if we did not originate on this planet? That, however, is a blog post for another time.
Even the feature film, which came out in 2004, was fantastic. Normally I am not one to enjoy visual over the written word…film is rarely as good as the book as it kills the mind’s gestalt…but this one was exceptional. Likely due to the fact that, prior to his death, Douglas himself was heavily involved with it. It also took characters a different direction than I expected. For example, I always had the image of Rowan Atkinson as Ford Prefect, certainly not Mos Def who was outstanding. Also with Jim Henson’s Muppet players working along with the special effects…well…
On the film, I am of mixed feelings that they have not done a sequel…I would like to see more, but with Douglas having passed on it just would not be right.