This is the Story of a Book from Earth, You and 42: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Douglas Adams

Hullo Hoopy Froods!
Many of you may already know, unless you are still recovering from “having your brains smashed in by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick” after far too many Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters, that there is a brand new shiny book being published tomorrow, April 23rd:  You and 42: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Douglas Adams. To be published by Who Dares Publishing, has been on Pre-Order for several weeks now, and proceeds will be donated to Save the Rhino of which Douglas Adams was a founding patron.  If you are reading this and have not pre-ordered, then stop now go and pre-order!

Perhaps you may be asking, “Who Dares, Who?” If you have not heard of the work of Andrew Skilleter, Matt Doe and their company Who Dares Publishing then those Gargle Blasters really have knocked you to a galaxy far far away.

Who Dares Publishing is the legendary Doctor Who Artist Andrew Skilleter and Matthew Doe, one of the UK’s latest and leading Doctor Who memorabilia experts, an entrepreneur solely in the field of Doctor Who. It was Matthew who had the inspired idea of bringing together their skill sets and relaunching Andrew’s legendary 1980s publishing company, Who Dares, beginning with the first ever Target Art Calendar featuring a selection of Andrew’s cover paintings. During 2017, Who Dares intends to launch a number of high quality art based projects of distinction. Click to Read More


Here’s the back cover bit about what is contained within You and 42: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Douglas Adams:

You and 42 is the latest wholly remarkable book to come out of Who Dares Publishing Corporation. The cover contains large and friendly letters. Unfortunately, Megadodo Publications wouldn’t license ‘Don’t Panic’. This doesn’t mean you should ‘Panic Now’, as Neil Gaiman once advised the editors. There is no reason to panic. There is no Vogon Poetry contained therein. Although, there are some harrowing details about towels, LPs, hitchhikers, and swear words, with only a passing mention of cats. Thor doesn’t make an appearance, much to his regret. You and 42 contains a series of extraordinary stories that are holistically interwoven with one another, stories from authors that aren’t entirely apocryphal, but wildly accurate accounts of their love for Douglas Adams and his work.

Purchasing this book benefits Save the Rhino International. Therefore, we hope it is far more successful than Chitin & You: A Pleasure Guide for Arthropods and better selling than Demetria Blacksmith’s 42 Ways of Towel Wrangling.

While You & 42 is more controversial than Stu Hambone’s Coming to Terms with your Acidic Secretions and Zaxley Nash’s Taowelism & the Way of Gardening Your Gnome, it begins simply with a frood from a more relaxed civilization: Douglas Adams.

This story, the one you are currently reading, is about You and 42, yet not entirely. It is the story of how the project came to be, and to address a small mystery concerning the length of time it took to get to this point, plus to bring together in one place some of the press You and 42 has received already.

One day, if I recall a Thursday, in March 2016 on a an utterly insignificant little blue green planet two ape-descended life forms contacted J.R. Southall of Watching Books, and Jem Roberts author of The Frood: The Authorised and Very Official History of Douglas Adams & The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.   These ape-descended life forms, my wife Jessica and myself, thought it a pretty neat idea were a book about Douglas Adams, in the spirit of the You and Who titles by Watching Books was produced. Plus all of the proceeds from the Watching Books titles were donated to charity, and we asked if proceeds from You and 42 could support Save the Rhino. As cited above this has been arranged and proceeds are indeed being donated to Save the Rhino. 

Here on Galactic Hitchhiker’s in November 2016, I wrote of the titles Watching Books produced, Read More Here. We already had a bit history with J.R. and his You and Who titles as we had previously contributed essays to them.  Plus we have been involved in writing and publishing for nearly the entire time Jessie and I have been together, 16 years.  If you are interested you can read of our academic, fiction and non-fiction work here on our site Myth Ink Books.  In addition, as a big fan of Jem Roberts’ work, we reached out and asked his advice on putting something like this together. Both J.R. and Jem had splendid and worthwhile responses, so these primates were off to work on You and 42, minus our other 10 ape-descended friends who were still working on their adaptation of Hamlet.  We are very grateful to Jem for his Preface, and J.R. for his Foreword, many thanks to them both.

In 2016, we were additionally working on the 2nd New York Tolkien Conference.  See we’re multi-disciplinary geeks, much like our fellow You and 42 contributors, and that event went off well enough in July.  However, from March onward we were posting the call for papers for You and 42 alongside J.R. and a number of other writers who had previously contributed to You and Who titles. We were very excited at the response as a number of familiar names were sending queries, selecting portions of Douglas Adams’ work to write of, and offering to write of items we had not thought of to list.  Within these queries were our colleagues from other You and Who titles, such as Paul Driscoll, Kara Dennison, Tim Gambrell, James Gent, Christopher Bryant, Drew Meyer, Don Klees, Stephen Hatcher and Barnaby Eaton-Jones to name a few. Plus, our dear friend Zaxley Nash and the staff here at Galactic Hitchhiker’s offered their support and essays to contribute.

All of the essays not only speak of a chosen topic, but how the work of Douglas Adams affected their lives.  The essays within You and Who titles aren’t strictly scholarship, nor are they literary criticism, nor reviews, but more personal or autobiographical accounts of our writers’ relationship with the life and works of Douglas Adams. Many of the writers had met with Douglas Adams at various signings and events, and speak of those encounters within their essays. This gave us an idea of seeing if we could get in touch with anyone who may have worked directly with Adams.  The universe responded by sending three entirely unexpected contributors to the party, and two I deliberately solicited.

We received an email from Martin Smith, yes THAT Martin Smith,  “bloody Martin Smith from Croydon.” During Douglas’ second term at Cambridge, he wanted to join the Footlights, an invitation-only theatrical/comedy club, but was rejected. Instead he formed a group, Adams-Smith-Adams, along with Martin Smith and Will Adams where he did his own writing.

“For five years…we had our own travelling revue group: Adams Smith Adams aka The Patter of Tiny Minds.” — Martin Smith

We not only have essays within You and 42 that cite the Adams-Smith-Smith comedy group and their work, but here we have a contribution from the man himself, who contributed THE LONG AND SHORT OF DOUGLAS ADAMS: WORKING WITH DOUGLAS AT CAMBRIDGE .

I cannot express well enough here how much we were not only touched by his essay but the sheer fact that he found us and contributed.

Daddy Rhino and Daughter Lill
Photo Courtesy of WIlliam Todd Jones, photo credit Christina Franco

Shortly after Martin Smith submitted his paper, we received an email from William Todd-Jones who did the infamous Rhino climb up with Douglas Adams  who took part in a trek from Mombasa to the top of Kilimanjaro for Save the Rhino back in 1994, taking a turn to wear the famous rhino costume along the coastal stretch. He writes about it in ‘The Salmon of Doubt’. READ MORE  In You and 42, William and his daughter Lill have a combined  3 essays that speak of Douglas as a family friend and inspiration, as with Martin Smith, we were humbled and touched that these wonderful authors reached out to us. William Todd-Jones is a  Creature FX Consultant, British puppet designer, performer, director, movement consultant and writer for film, television and theatre in the UK and abroad.  Lill Todd-Jones works for BBC Earth.

Photo Courtesy of W.T. Jones, photo credit Christina Franco

The authors I deliberately reached out to were Kevin Jon Davies, and Arvind Ethan David.  It was around the summer of 2016 that we purchased a copy of The Illustrated Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Kevin, and were fully and completely dedicated to reading IDW Comics Dirk Gently series written by Arvind.  We were already friendly with Kevin through the Galactic Hitchhiker’s community and asked if he would write of his work.  If you have been a reader of our articles here on Galactic Hitchhiker’s you may recall my review of Kevin’s Illustrated Hitchhiker’s found here.  Additionally, I connected with Arvind on twitter, and we began a correspondence concerning his contribution to You and 42.  As you may know Kevin Jon Davies worked on the BAFTA award-winning animation sequences of the 1981 Hitchhiker’s Guide television adaptation, numerous documentaries on Hitchhiker’s and Doctor Who, his aforementioned book plus more recently the production research, and a behind-the-scenes promo video for the Hexagonal Phase.  BBC America’s “Dirk Gently,” series and the IDW Dirk Gently comic was the brain-child of Writer/Executive Producer Arvind Ethan David.  Both gents had personal relationships with Adams.   Arvind discusses Adams’ own mentorship of him and the adaptation of Dirk Gently into a stage play

The result of this correspondence with Kevin and Arvind were the two essays: The Movie That Didn’t Move: The Illustrated Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (1994) by Kevin Jon Davies, and Me and 42… Or how Douglas Adams Taught Me that the Meaning of Life can be Found in the Fundamental Interconnectedness of All Things by Arvind Ethan David.

Thinking of the nearly 70 contributions in You and 42, there are instances where an author has contributed 2 or more essays.  For example, James Gent who wrote of Hyperland, plus Douglas Adams and Monty Python, in addition Stephen Hatcher’s papers concerning The Burkiss Way and two essays concerning the Hitchhiker’s radio series, plus Ian Ham’s own papers concerning his Towel and The Guide to the Guide.  I do not wish to cite all of the essays, as a wise woman once said, “SPOILERS SWEETIE!” Well, the Table of Contents is available via Who Dares Publishing, HERE, so River Song was a bit late with her warning.

As we moved into the Fall of 2016 Jessica’s father was diagnosed with late-stage cancer, and for the first half of 2017 we were back and forth to her parents home to assist with their needs and care. Unfortunately, he passed away nearly a year ago in May of 2017.  We had already cancelled our plans for the 2017 NY Tolkien Conference, and put all our projects on hiatus, including You and 42.  Since his passing we have been visiting with Jessica’s Mom to help her out as she is now living by herself. In the Fall of 2017 we returned to evaluate what projects we had on our plate, and You and 42 was one that greatly lifted our spirits as we were notified that Who Dares Publishing was going to take over several Watching Books titles and publish them. J.R. Southall wrote of the transition here Lastly, we have had our own medical ailments to tend with, and still do, which I shall not go into further detail here about.

We returned to You and 42 with renewed spirits to get the contributions and manuscript edited, prepared and sent off to Andrew and J.R. for a January 2018 deadline. Our fellow Field Researchers here at Galactic Hitchhiker’s have been a huge barrel of love and support for this project. Zaxley Nash, our founder, contributed an essay about our growing Douglas Adams fan community Galactic Hitchhikers, Demetria Blacksmith wrote of Marvinism, and John Matthew Chanaud wrote of collectibles and fan communities.  As the manuscript developed we took notice of the wildy hysterical Guide entries being posted in the Galactic Hitchhikers facebook group by Jay Rainha, so we asked if he would write some for You and 42, which he accepted. Jessie and I feel all of our authors are The Voice of the Book, but Jay’s Guide entries add an extra dimension to You and 42 for I have cited him as The Voice of the Guide.  When we placed them within the manuscript we truly felt that You and 42 took on an aspect of The Guide and Jay’s work brilliantly adds to the spirit of the project. Lastly, it was the letter to Douglas Adams, written by Max Beeman that helped us set the opening tone of the book.   We felt as we closed in on finalizing the book that with Max’s letter after the Preface and Foreword it really added to the idea of a “love letter” to Douglas Adams, which we were aiming for. Each and every piece you will read is not only the author’s personal experiences with the work of Douglas Adams, but a tribute to the First of Froods.

The Target Cover Art of Andrew Skilleter~Ltd Edition Portfolio

Jessica and I have really been honored to work with every author on this project, getting to know them better and becoming friends.  In addition, we cannot express how much we have loved working with J.R. Southall, plus Andrew Skilleter, Matt Doe and Robert Hammond over at Who Dares Publishing. We have long known of Andrew’s Doctor Who work, and are humbled that we have gotten to work with such a legendary artist on this project.

Learn more of Andrew Skilleter’s work Here

Matt Doe’s Toy Box Treasures, specialists in Doctor Who Toys from 1964 to 1988 – Including screen used Dr Who Props Read More

Doctor Who DVD artist, Doctor Who Magazine Award Winner, Artist and Graphic Designer Robert Hammond, see more of his work over on Instagram Here

Lastly, You and 42 has received some lovely press from contributors, all splendid and worthwhile reads from really Hoopy Froods, click the titles to read.

New Douglas Adams Book Announced by J.R. Southall over at Starburst Magazine

Starburst Magazine’s Blue Box Podcast Episode 303 discusses You and 42 at the opening of the show.

Views from the Second Floor: You and 42 by Tim Gambrell
Tim is not only a contributor to You and 42, but is the author for the Lethbridge-Stewart Series, which I highly recommend you check out, Read More News Here and HERE

You and 42: How Fandoms Collided by Kara Dennison

A HUGE Thank you to everyone involved in this project, it was truly a team effort and really hope you love the finished product.  If you have not ordered a copy you can help benefit Save the Rhino International by ordering your copy of You and 42: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Douglas Adams via Who Dares Publishing by clicking here or the cover below.

Coming Soon! Stand Up for Towel Day 2018!

Hey there, Hoopy Froods!

We have some real treats for you today!

Thanks to its successful first run, Stand Up for Towel Day is coming back for the second year! Yes, you heard it right!

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Last year’s most popular Towel Day gig is making a comeback this year with even more to give!

Featuring last year’s talents and new treats, this stand up is one you would rather not miss!

Last year, the Guest list included Douglas’ Brother, James Thrift, John Lloyd and Kevin Jon Davies.

The show was made up of the talents of the Story Beast, Steve X Cross, Paul Duncan McGarrity, Simon Watt, Sam Baines, Declan & Jonathan and Mike Conterio, organised by Rachel Wheeley, the show’s genius and host!

Some of last year’s highlights:

Steve X Cross managed to figure out the exact date of when the Earth ends in the beginning of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Below is the video of the event, while his piece  is now a BBC Podcast material that you could also listen to here: BBC RADIO- THE END OF THE WORLD

You will have a chance to drink a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, just like last year! This was our Field Researcher, Demetria Blacksmith‘s drink!

Some epic pics from 2017!

 

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The best thing about the event that all money goes to charity! Last year, the event raised £258.75, and this all went to Save the Rhino International!  This year, the tradition continues in the hope of raising even more critical funds for Douglas’ favourite charity!

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This year offers similar treats and even more! Rachel secured a bigger and better venue for the second year of her epic Stand up, and she already has a confirmed list of comedians and guests:

We welcome back Sam Baines, The Story Beast, Steve X Cross, Paul Duncan McGarrity,  Michael Contario and greet the new contributors to the show: Iszi Lawrence, Angus Dunican and Cary Boots!

This year’s special guests include many of our favourite froods, such as Kevin Jon Davies who will be hosting a Q&A with Dirk Maggs, and Geoff McGivern! You know well you don’t want to miss that!

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Just as last year, there will be a contest for the best costumes, but this time, we shall supply your prizes! Yes, you read it right! Galactic Hitchhikers will be providing an extraordinary bunch of hitchhikers goodies for the best dressed!

And this is not all! We have another trick up our sleeve for later! Stay tuned for that one!

Did this summary get you excited? To RSVP, you could visit the original Facebook event by clicking HERE and if you are ready to purchase your ticket, follow the link below:

Tickets for Stand Up for Towel Day 2018

Did you know there will also be a Douglas Adams themed walking tour in London on the 25th that would make an excellent appetiser for your evening?

It is organised by the Ex-President of the fantastic ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha group, and it will make a perfect start for your Towel Day celebrations! It will take you around Islington and will feature sights that have relevance to the Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy and Dirk Gently. You could see places like the Hotblack Desiato office, Fenchurch’s door, places where Douglas lived and sites featured in Dirk Gently! How exciting! And it is entirely FREE OF CHARGE! You wouldn’t want to miss it!

Check out the ISLINGTON TOWEL DAY WALKING TOUR 2018!

2016

Special thanks to Rachel Wheeley and David Haddock for organising these events and Kevin Jon Davies for allowing us to use his shoots and video! 

Hyper-Hysterical & Glorious: The Illustrated Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

20161031_162314For a number of years now I have read about, had in my hands, albeit briefly flipped through, yet never owned, the mammoth sized Illustrated Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that was published 22 years ago this month (10/1994) Well, that changed today when a 1st edition copy was delivered after finding it relatively cheap on eBay from a reliable seller.
I arrived home after dropping my wife off at work and saw the oversized package at my doorstep, smiles, smiles,smiles as I knew what it was. The packaging was carefully removed and in my hands, the shiny dust jacket glistening in the sun was The Illustrated Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
The inside dust jacket flap describes The Illustrated Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy thusly:

 

61qjevzmvfl-_sx258_bo1204203200_“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is at last published in panoramic, earth-shattering, hyper-hysterical format, illustrated in glorious Technicolor, bringing alive horridly quivering Vogon monster flesh and vividly throbbing space craft by means of revolutionary digital graphic “paintbox” technology. All this, and other examples of humanoid wizardry, ensure no insane earthling will resist this new incarnation of a cult classic.”

It is that last bit that I love, no insane earthling will resist this new incarnation of a cult classic. No I could not resist a new incarnation, especially one so colorful, bright, brilliantly illustrated edition. As we know each incarnation of Hg2G is slightly different in its respective version, and media it is presented in. I have yet to read this version, as it only just arrived, but I do not believe the actual text has changed, but the way it is illustrated was entirely new at the time, and still is.

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Kevin Davies as the bulldozer driver in the book

So who is responsible for this new incarnation? The Concept Art Director is Kevin Davies who has had a long fan and professional career associated with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Davies worked on graphics for the television series, interviewed Douglas Adams on numerous occasions, is a highly regarded documentarian, for example “The Making of ‘The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ which used archive footage and new specially shot material. In a forthcoming interview with Kevin, I speak with him about his career, which was conducted with Galactic Hitchhiker Founder Zaxley Nash and our Sub-Etha 42 Engineer Jared McLaughlin.  Click here to read more of Kevin’s career from his bio on the website for Lazlar Lyricon 3

20161031_145111I am super excited to re-read Hg2g with the abundant “live-action,” shots of new faces in the roles of our heroes, Arthur, Ford, Zaphod, and Trillian.  In addition I love how the new version of Marvin captures his “spirit,” very effectively in his facial expressions and body language.

ANNNNNDDDDD! It has Douglas Adams appearing as the cop who writes!!

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The guide held by Arthur is entirely new to me and very effective. In reading passages alongside the illustrations I suspend my own minds-eye visual of the story and find the work done by Davies quite engaging, which keeps me absorbed in the material. Perhaps it is my own love for the story and fun new incarnations that engages me, but I do believe it will be just as effective for others.

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Without Dust Jacket

The Illustrated Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy can be found online in a variety of booksellers, I got mine on eBay, and at a reasonably affordable cost.
Lastly, it is this version that Kevin Jon  Davies will be writing about for the forthcoming Douglas Adams Fan Anthology: You and 42, which I cannot wait to read and add to the book, which my wife and I are editing for Watching Books.
If you have not done so already please check out Kevin’s Youtube Channel, where you will find plenty of Douglas Adams and Hg2g gems, such as this earlier review of the same book found below.