Thursday, 10 September 2009

I never could get the hang of Thursdays

If there's one thing I love as much as gaming, it's the works of Douglas Adams. While Last Chance To See is probably my favourite (now being "updated" as a Sunday documentary with Stephen Fry which, sadly, isn't as funny because the team aren't quite as incompetent), no book series has had a big an influence on my writing as his most famous work, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. The five books, the two radio series, the TV series, and to a much lesser extent the incredibly hard computer game.

As I said, it's a huge influence on my writing - and so therefore my entire life. Hell, the damn book was even first published the day after my birthday!

Which means that nothing in the world pisses me off quite so much as people fucking with it.
The first screwing with is this latest re-release of the books. First off, why is it still so impossible to find a collection of the five books together? Especially in paperback? It's very easy to find a paperback collection of the first four books, but why would anyone buy that? It's missing the fifth!

The latest re-re-re-re-re-re-release is, once again, all five books separately. Even more stupidly, they don't go with the new book cover which I'll talk about shortly. This is obviously a money issue, but it's still ridiculous.

But some bright spark had the idea of giving away stickers with SciFiNow magazine to customise the books with official new "wacky" artwork that once again misses the point of the books spectacularly.

If you had some stickers themed on Hitchhiker's Guide what would they be? A big '42'? The words 'Don't Panic'? Dolphins? A totally black spaceship? A man with two heads? A man in a dressing gown? A Babel Fish? A snotty green lump-like Vogon? A slogan advertising 'Milliways', 'Stavro-Mueller Beta', or 'The Domain of the King Bar & Grill'? A bored-looking robot?

Here's what I got:

Yes, I couldn't be bothered to scan it in and just took this with my camera.

You'll notice that none of those things I mentioned turned up. Instead we have:

  1. Some generic-looking planets with one attempting to be wacky.
  2. A very generic-looking flying saucer spaceship.
  3. A green drink that I assume is meant to be a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster but looks so generic it could be anything.
  4. A cartoon cow that looks in no way alien.
  5. A sandwich, which is one I could agree with - pity it's so small.
  6. A number 37 raffle ticket, which I also agree with.
  7. A pair of generic-looking sunglasses which I presume are meant to be Zaphod's Peril-sensitive pair but which frankly don't appear cool or imaginative in any way.
  8. A fish bowl with a fish in it. If it had "So Long..." written on it I could accept it. If the fish was a small, yellow, leech-like and very odd Babel Fish instead of a generic goldfish I could accept it. It doesn't and I don't.
  9. An electric guitar. This one puzzles me the most. The rest I can identify at least, as poorly designed as they are, but I can't think of a single guitar in the whole saga. Can some correct me? Maybe they were thinking of Red Dwarf...
  10. This one is the real kicker: an analogue watch. This is the one that proves that whoever designed these stickers didn't give a shit about Hitchhiker's Guide. Anyone who's read the first book, listened to the first radio series, or watched the TV series will know that the whole joke here is about digital watches. Whoever pulled these stickers off Clip Art didn't know their Gargle Blasters from their gold brick to the head.

Oh, and there's the small matter of a new book coming out, not by Douglas Adams, which is being released on my birthday. Gee, thanks world.

- Chris "Pissed at Eoin Colfer and SciFiNow" Capel


  1. I can only assume the guitar is reference to Disaster Area. Poor reference, but the only connection I can think of.

    Given 'So Long' tied things up nicely for me, I never bothered with Mostly Harmless. Too many people I know said it was one sequel too far, like movies tend to do, so book 6, approved by the estate or not, doesn't tweak me.

    That's a lot of commas.

  2. Yeah, I considered Disaster Area. Are they even in the book? I know they weren't in the radio series.

    No, I think you have to read Mostly Harmless - but it doesn't have a happy ending. If you want that, it's best to go to the radio adaptation, which added a little bit more along with an optional happier endings. It's definitely the best out of the Dirk Maggs trio of radio serii.

    It's still great though, if just for the sandwich making.

  3. It turns out Disaster Area ARE in the book. Good, that explains the rational behind the guitar, if nothing else.

    Seriously though, it's like they had ideas for vague Hitchhiker's references for these stickers, made a list and then just went into Clip Art and pulled pictures for "watch", "fish", "cow", "band", "sunglasses", "spaceship" etc. No thought, imagination or design skill needed.

  4. I'm sorry, but a sixth book that has nothing whatsoever to do with Douglas Adams?

    I may buy a copy just so I can vomit on it.

  5. I know. I made a huge post on my Facebook page when I first heard about it, and it still makes me just as sick.

    What perplexes me is that I have this horrible urge to pre-order it whenever I see it on Amazon or Play. It's like how vertigo actually gives you the feeling like you want to jump off a tall building.

  6. Ewww, I just caught sight of one of the covers in Waterstones. Ugly sticker shit...