Don’t Panic, Douglas Adams fans – but apparently there’s an undiscovered hoard of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy author’s writing that has never seen the light of day.
“You don’t want to titillate people, but there is masses of material,” Adams's half-brother James Thrift said at the Cheltenham Literature Festival today.
“Some of [the material] is Dirk Gently, some of it is Hitchhiker's. My view personally is that there’s an awful lot of it that led up to what became Hitchhiker's.”
Unfinished writing drafts wouldn’t normally attract such attention, but Douglas Adams was no ordinary writer. He became an almost overnight sensation in the late 70s with his revolutionary radio comedy (and later five-book ‘trilogy’, TV series and posthumous 2005 film) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which concerned the outer space adventures of quintessential Englishman Arthur Dent after the destruction of Earth.
Making millions from the Hitchhiker's novels, the author later also became known for a series of books based around a holistic detective named Dirk Gently (later turned into a BBC series starring Stephen Mangan), though he only completed two such books before his sudden death in 2001.
Adams’s books have sold over 15 million copies, and have legions of passionate fans worldwide, so the idea of unseen material is bound to excite many. Indeed, as a previous anthology of unpublished work by Adams (called the Salmon of Doubt) was released in 2002, fans might expect that this other material might one day be available as well.
However, Thrift, who was speaking at a commemoration of his half brother alongside a panel including Terry Jones and Clive Anderson, was firm that this collection of unreleased writing would stay that way.
“The way Douglas wrote was that he started with ten pages and then worked his way down to one, and that was the one page that he was happy to go out there,” he explained.
“All right, there’s all this material there, but it’s not material that he ever really wanted to see the light of day... Always in the back of your mind would be, Douglas is going to be kicking us.”
“But there is an awful lot of stuff there,” he added – clearly forgetting his earlier pledge not to titillate.
For now at least, it looks like the fans will have to stick with what they’ve got. What a load of Belgium.