Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Don't Panic: Douglas Adams & The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Neil Gaiman (author), David K. Dickson (contributor), M.J. Simpson (contributor), Guy Adams (contributor)

Open Road Media, September 2019

Over thirty years ago, a young journalist named Neil Gaiman (you may have heard of him since in other contexts) was given access to Douglas Adams, his life, his files, his unpublished outtakes, and many of his friends and coworkers, to write a highly entertaining account of the creation of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy--the radio show, the six books of the "trilogy," the movie, the games. This is a fascinating look inside how Adams worked, and just how chaotic his creation process was at its best.

Because yes, all his most creative work was done in at atmosphere of chaos and looming deadlines.

And in a time when radio had already become largely a domain of music, news, and talk, he did his best work for radio, and drew in listeners as few if any other entertainment writers and creators could do for radio. This included, of course, not just Hitchhiker's Guide, but his wonderful nature program about endangered species, Last Chance to See.

This book is its own wild romp, while also giving due attention to Adams's struggles, depression, and frustrations. It's been updated several times since its origial publication, and access to Adams's files provides considerable insight into his working process. The unpublished outtakes and early versions also give us a view of how Hitchhiker's Guide developed, and the happy disregard for continuity and consistency that might have sunk many other creative works, but but gave life and vitality to the Guide in its many forms.

It's a wonderfully enjoyable and informative book, and I can't really do justice to it. Just read it, okay?

I bought this book.

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