Marcus Berkmann

The Meaning of Life

Hitchhiker: A Biography of Douglas Adams

By

Hodder & Stoughton 393pp £20 order from our bookshop

IF YOU WEREN’T there, you might find it hard to imagine the extraordinary impact The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy made when it was first broadcast in 1978. After all, it was only a sitcom – a science-fiction sitcom even – and it was on radio to boot. At the time Radio 4 wasn’t so much fuddy-duddy as the preferred listening of the living dead, and only people applying for jobs in radio comedy ever tuned in to its sitcoms. Hitchhiker, though, was different. Sonically adventurous, strikingly imaginative and, of course, very funny, it rode the wave of science-fiction madness generated by Star Wars, and swiftly begat spin-off novels, a TV series and endless rumours of a feature film which continue to this day. It also made its writer, Douglas Adams, rich and famous at the age of twenty-seven. In some ways, it seems, he never quite recovered.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • He weeps by the side of the ocean, He weeps on the top of the hill; He purchases pancakes and lotion, And chocolate… ,
    • 'Half-way through The Conquest of Water I felt as if I had been subjected to the literary equivalent of excessive c… ,
    • 'Volume five, then, but still no end in sight. Sandbrook is clearly enjoying himself so much he can’t bear the seri… ,
    • 'By the end of the book something so weighty, stylish and impressive has been built up that one feels far nearer to… ,
    • 'Her ensuing psychotic episode is described so convincingly ... that the reader will wonder if Dobrakovová did not… ,
    • 'The perspectives complement and contest one another, amounting to a glorious, atmospheric set of ventriloquisms.'… ,
    • RT : I reviewed The Testaments for . I will not be taking any questions at this time. ,