Sunday, September 21, 2008

Last chance to see is back (too)! (EDIT : with official webiste)

After the Hitchhiker's Guide to the galaxy, we learn that there will be a new Last chance to see book. This sequel will be written by Douglas' friend Stephen Fry and zoologist Mark Carwardine. At the time, Douglas and Mark also made a radio series. But this time there will be also a TV series. The illustrated book, Last Chance to See: The Return, will be published in hardback in October 2009 priced £20. The programme will be broadcast on BBC2 at the same time.

So in October 2009, we'll get a new H2G2 book, a new LTCS book, and a new LTCS TV series. There sould be too the third Dirk Gently's adaptation on Radio 4 at the same time!

And Douglas is not even here to miss all these deadlines. Sad!

For more infos about the new LTCS book and TV series :

http://www.thebookseller.com/news/67361-hc-buys-tie-in-to-new-stephen-fry-show.html

In october 08, the BBC has launched a new mini website about the series with some nice extras (interviews, pictures and extracts from the original radio series) http://www.bbc.co.uk/lastchancetosee/

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Eoin Colfer on the Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy

It is interesting to read this text written by Eoin Coffer, the writer of the sixth installment of the Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy :

"From Penguin Press:

I first read the Hitchhiker’s Guide in my late teens when Ted Roche, a libertine friend of mine, pressed it into my sweaty palms and hissed at me with fanatical intensity that I must read it or be ridiculed forever by the school literati. Relax, dude, I remember saying with eighties’ insouciance. Ridicule is nothing to be scared of.

But I was scared. Petrified in fact. If one was not a sportsman, the only other circle to belong to was the readers’ circle. Places were limited and expulsions were swift and ruthless. If one had not read the livre du jour then one would not be offered book swapsies on Friday. If this happened, then a person might be forced to turn to his own siblings for conversation.

So, in this spirit of quasi-persecution I scuttled home after double chemistry and found a quiet bathroom where I could settle down and read what I was certain would be a thinly veiled version of Star Wars. Vogons destroy the Earth and a single hero survives. Please. I could almost write the rest myself.

Never have I been so happy to be proven wrong.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was like nothing I had read before, or since for that matter. If you have read it then you know exactly what I am talking about. If you haven’t then read it now, moron. The problem is the hyperbole puts people off. If it’s so popular then it must be middle of the road, brimming with clich├ęs and easily digested on the sands of Ibiza.

All false assumptions. The Guide is a slice of satirical genius. A marvel of quantum tomfoolery. A dissection of the absurdities of our human condition. A space odyssey that forces us to face ourselves and collapse in hysterics. Imagine if Messrs. Hawking and Fry were locked in a room with the entire cast of Monty Python and forced to write a book which would subsequently be edited by Pink Floyd, then the result would need a lot of work before it could be cut from Douglas Adams’ first draft.

For the next couple of decades I followed the exploits of Arthur Dent and his intergalactic troupe as they stumbled through space and time befuddled and bereft, drinking tea in the face of impossible odds and generally failing to find enlightenment at every turn. It’s like a quest for the holy grail where the grail is neither holy nor grail-shaped. I travelled with Arthur Dent as he lost his planet, learned to fly, found love, made sandwiches, got to know his daughter, found his planet again briefly and finally got blown to atoms.

Blown to atoms! Surely not, but no need to panic, Douglas Adams would surely reassemble Arthur somehow in the next book.

But as we all know, the next book never came and the legions of Hitchhiker fans were left with their hearts beating a little too quickly for all eternity.

It became a whimsy of mine to finish the story, just for my own peace of mind. I often wondered how Douglas Adams would have resurrected his beloved characters. And now, almost quarter of a century after first reading Hitchhiker, I have been given the incredible opportunity of writing the next chapter in the saga myself. In an actual book rather than in my head.

My first reaction was semi-outrage that anyone should be allowed to tamper with this incredible series. But on reflection I realised that this is a wonderful opportunity to work with characters I have loved since childhood and give them something of my own voice while holding onto the spirit of Douglas Adams and not laying a single finger on his five books.

Once again I am terrified by a Hitchhiker book and this time it is my own. I feel more pressure to perform now than I ever have with my own books, and that is why I am bloody determined that this will be the best thing I have ever written. And if it isn’t then I will make sure that the cover is extremely pretty.

For the first time in decades I feel the uncertainty that I last felt in my teenage years. There are people out there that really want to like this book. Ted Roche is one. I will track him down in eight months time, with a proof copy in my sweaty grip, press it into his hands and tell him with fanatical intensity that he really has to read this book. Then I will sit on the corner of his sofa until he is finished and await the verdict.

©Eoin Colfer Wexford, September 2008"

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

H2G2 part 6 : a new book will be published in october 2009 !

I was of course quite taken aback when I learnt the news. British publiser Penguin has commissionned Eoin Colfer, author of the Artemis Fowl series, to write a sixth instalment of the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy series.

According to The Press Association, the irish writer said he was "terrified" by the prospect of creating a new Hitchhiker book almost a quarter of a century after being introduced to what he described as a "slice of satirical genius" in his late teens.

He said: "My first reaction was semi-outrage that anyone should be allowed to tamper with this incredible series. But on reflection I realised that this is a wonderful opportunity to work with characters I have loved since childhood and give them something of my own voice while holding on to the spirit of Douglas Adams".

He added: "I feel more pressure to perform now than I ever have with my own books, and that is why I am bloody determined that this will be the best thing I have ever written. Being given the chance to write this book is like suddenly being offered the superpower of your choice. For years I have been finishing this incredible story in my head and now I have the opportunity to do it in the real world. It is a gift from the gods."

More news on the BBC : http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7619828.stm

You can also listen to the anouncement on Penguin's website (it's a sound clip where Simon Jones plays Arthur Dent) : http://www.penguin.co.uk/static/cs/uk/0/today/index.html

It's an incredible news and I won't say I'm very pleased by the news. But, hell, nobody asked.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Stephen Fry : "I miss Douglas both as friend and technology guru"

Saturday 6th September, Stephen Fry wrote a column in the Guardian and on his forum, about a new media player. And of course, as he explains, "It is rare for me to contemplate new gadgetry without a pang of regret for the early passing of Douglas Adams." He adds : "Some Christians have What Would Jesus Do? as a motto; I have What Would Douglas Think?"

You can read his column on his website here.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Geoffrey Perkins died in a car accident

It's a very sad news for all hitchhiker's fans and british comedy fans alike. The great Geoffrey Perkins has died from a car accident friday 29th August. According to the Daily Telegraph, Geoffrey Perkins was hit by a truck on Marylebone High Street in London. He was just 55 years old.

Geoffrey Perkins began his career on Radio 4 and then BBC Radio Light Entertainment where he produced The Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy original radio series from the second episode (Fit the Second) in remplacement of Simon Brett.

As written in the Daily Telegraph orbituary, "Early in 1978 Perkins, at 25, took over from Simon Brett as producer of The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the science-fiction based comedy being devised by Douglas Adams, a famously slow writer with a history of missed deadlines. Perkins had to chivvy Adams along, and while Adams's old Cambridge friend John Lloyd was drafted in to write large sections of the later episodes, it was Perkins who helped Adams finish the scripts. Drawing on the resources of the Radiophonic Workshop, Perkins also marshalled his sound sources into weird new forms, and devised a range of voice treatments for the actors playing aliens that broke new ground.

The result was one of the funniest and most original comedies of postwar radio, winning critical and popular acclaim and – by appealing to both high- and low-brow tastes – managing to alter entrenched public perceptions of Radio 4. "The intellectuals compared it to Swift," noted Perkins, "and the 14-year-olds enjoyed hearing depressed robots clanking around.""

Geoffrey Perkins then edited the original Radio scripts, played Arthur's producer in the quandary phase, and finally played the Narrator part during the 30th anniversary live performance of the second episode in London last march.

I had the pleasure to meet him during the 30th anniversary celebration and he kindly signed my original radio scripts book.

Apart from Hitchhikers, he was one of the most influencial comedy producer for twenty years. He was BBC head of comedy from 1995 to 2001. He produced such legendary shows as "Spitting image", "The fast show", "Father Ted", "The friday night live",...

On leaving the BBC (he was quite annoyed with BBC's bureaucracy), he joined Tiger Aspect productions. He recently procuded "Benidorm" (for ITV). His latest production for the BBC with Tiger Aspect, Harry and Paul, with Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse, starts next week.