The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
by Douglas Adams
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Resources
Websites—not just for living people anymore. Douglas Adams's website is full of stuff: lists of his works, links to other sites, a biography, some essays (check out the one on the internet), and more photos than you can shake a stick at, if that's your thing.
ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha (where Earth is supposed to be in Hitchhiker's—until it's blown up) is also the name for the fan society. It costs money to join (no towel necessary, they say), but the podcasts full of info are free.
Don't use Wikipedia; use this Encyclopedia—even if Wikipedia seems like a real-life version of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Check the entry on the Hitchhiker's Guide itself to help guide you through the many different versions.
The BBC were the people who originally paid for the radio show, so it's not surprising they're proud of it. This website has a ton (or in Britain, a tonne) of info on all of the shows, including interviews with cast members and famous fans.
In 1984, Douglas Adams adapted his story to one of the most difficult text adventure games ever. Basically, just as in the book, nothing ever goes right for you. Try it out.
h2g2.com features essays on a bewildering range of subjects, all of which try to be educational and helpful, unlike the Guide in Adams's book. Curiously, Adams was actually involved in the founding of this website.
One last link: this website has some FAQs and a list of even more links to look at. Apparently, once upon a time, it was cool to try to re-create the Guide online.
Movie or TV Productions
Ever since the book became a bestseller, people have been trying to make a movie out of it. They finally did it in 2005. We're fond of the singing dolphins at the beginning.
Unlike the 2005 movie, this 6-episode TV show sticks pretty closely to the 6-episode radio show, which isn't the same as the book or the video game. One bonus: this version features lots more British people than the movie does.
Articles and Interviews
This interview takes place around the time Adams's computer game, Starship Titanic, was released around 1998. (Definitely 1998—get a load of the shirt the interviewer is wearing.) They discuss the books, the possible movie, and Vogon poetry. You might want to skip the poetry recital, though.
Did you know that Douglas Adams likes cheddar cheese on his sandwiches? Or that it was difficult to turn the book into an American film because Arthur is so unheroic? This collection of fan questions and answers from 2000 throws light on these and other important questions.
This obituary touches on all of Adams's books, but pays particular attention to how Adams came up with the title for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. (It involved alcohol and should not be attempted at home.)
Douglas Adams didn't start with Hitchhiker's Guide. In fact, some of his early work was with Monty Python, the famous British comedy group. Terry Jones of Monty Python remembers what it was like working with and being friends with Adams. To sum it up: it was hard to work with Adams because he was a terrible procrastinator.
If you're keeping track at home, this is the third version of the Hitchhiker's story. (Fourth, if you count the stage shows. See "In a Nutshell".) There were some tensions and limitations in making this version. (In 1981, it was hard to fake a second head for Zaphod.) But it's worth checking out. Here's a clip showing Arthur and Ford discussing the Babel fish.
If you ever wanted to know how to rent a cottage to film a BBC show, here's a how-to, all about how they made the TV show version.
Whatever you think about the movie version, this trailer nicely makes fun of all movie trailers ever made.
NPR presents this obituary (from 2001) and this interview (from 1982)—so don't worry, he's not a ghost.
Although the book is better known (and features fewer British accents), we have to admit that the radio series came first. It's a little different but is worth listening to, especially if you like British accents.
In 2001, just before he died, Adams worked with BBC radio (again) to make this nonfiction series on what the future might hold for music, publishing, TV, and technology. Of course, this is over a decade old, so don't listen to it hoping for investment tips.
Fascinating interview with M. J. Simpson, who wrote a 2004 biography on Douglas Adams.
Hmm, that chair seems a bit low for him.
We're loving that this cover includes our sweet, doomed whale friend.
You can almost see Marvin being depressed and Arthur longing for a cup of tea.
Just because they aren't being televised doesn't mean they shouldn't wear spiffy shirts and jackets!