Don't Panic
Douglas Adams and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

Author: Neil Gaiman
Titan Books
RRP £14.99

ISBN 1 84023 742 2
Available now

Rediscover the definitive companion to Douglas Adam's life work, available in hardback for the first time. This book celebrates the life of Douglas Adams who, in a field in Innsbruck in 1971, had an idea that became the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - the radio series that started it all, the five book series, the TV series, almost film and everything that followed...

I was fortunate enough to hear Douglas Adams give one of his last public speeches at a conference in Cannes in 2001. I have to admit to not really being a huge fan before seeing him speak. Sure I'd heard the original radio drama of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and thought it was pretty good, but I always thought it was rather over rated. He seemed to have done nothing much of interest before or after Hitchhiker's (apart from some work on Doctor Who and the short lived Dirk Gently series) and he seemed to be a one trick pony, spinning out the same material again and again - which is also why I have never really been a huge fan of Terry Pratchett.

However, I found Adams to be an extremely funny speaker and realised that maybe, just maybe, I had misjudged him. So impressed was I with the man's ability to spin a good yarn that I went out and re-bought the Hitchhiker's books and even picked up an earlier edition of this biography.

I have to admit I couldn't read this book quick enough on my first read through and rereading this over two years later it is still as entertaining. There are a few additions in this reprint which make this an essential purchase for Adams' fans. There are an additional 20 pages of new material, including information on The Salmon of Doubt, a posthumous volume of previously unpublished work. It's worth pointing out here that these additions are the work of David K Dickson and M J Simpson.

If, like me two years ago, you have always liked The Hitchhiker's Guide, but never really thought that Adams was anything other than a lucky author who had one good story in him and then he was burnt out... All I can say is read this book and you'll realise that in May of 2001 the UK lost one of its funniest writers, prematurely.

Darren Rea

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