Friday, 6 November 2009

I won't panic!

So there is a Hitchhiker's sequel that has recently come out. It's called And another thing. The title comes from a line in So long and thanks for all the fish that goes:
'The storm had now definitely abated, and what thunder there was now grumbled over more distant hills, like a man saying "And another thing..." twenty minutes after admitting he's lost the argument.'

As much as I appreciate how clever the title is, it's also kind of sad; exactly like a man saying 'and another thing' when there's nothing he could possibly say that would make any difference. I'm sure that Eoin Colfer is a brilliant writer and the fact that he is the one writing the 6th book in the Hitchhiker's trilogy means that I'm going to get my hands on all his other books the first chance I get and find out what he has been upto all these years. But why would he write a hitchhiker's book? Why would anyone?

It's not like we read all those books for the stories. No one's going mad asking 'what happened next?'. I'm not sure people even got their heads around what happened in the first five books. But we didn't care. We didn't even notice. The whole point of all those books was having a tiny peeping window into this whirlwind of a genius that was Douglas Noel Adams's mind! They were basically DNA's guides to the galaxy. I'm not really bothered that much about another h2g2. What I really want is another couple of hundred pages full of ideas and language stamped 'DOUGLAS ADAMS'.
I'm dying for another sentence like:
'The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't.'

Maybe Eoin Colfer will have come up with things like that; even better ones. But if a dear friend dies and then you meet another person- someone just as funny, just as witty, just as fantastically sharp and just as keen- you'd still miss knowing what your old friend would have done, said.
By the time I had finished Mostly Harmless, DNA was an old friend.
And my only real apprehension about this new book is that with every word, it will make me think of how much I would love for him to be alive and writing again.
I don't like that feeling. It hurts more than you might think. I don't like the fact that I'm going to have to read And another thing anyway. And it doesn't matter whether it's terrific and worthy of the title or not. It will still hurt. It's somewhat of a perfect lose-lose situation.
I feel cheated for having this touchy part of my tiny universe disturbed and I want to run away and keep running till I find someone who'll tell me what to do or think or feel. Someone like Douglas Adams.
But if I were to refer to the guide right now, before it told me anything else- anything at all about sci-fi sequels, dead authors, lose-lose scenarios or being a sentimental dupe- it would give me the most helpful advice there is to give in this world (written in large friendly letters on the cover). It would say:

Don't Panic

So I won't!

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