Arthur Dent hitchhikes again

Posthumous sixth book planned

A new instalment in the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy is to be published – seven years after the death of creator Douglas Adams.

Children’s author Eoin Colfer has been commissioned to follow up the adventures of Arthur Dent in a sixth book, entitled And Another Thing...

The fifth and last Hitchhiker book, Mostly Harmless, was written 16 years ago, but Adams’s widow, Jane Belson, and the literary agency which manages his estate wanted to revive the series.

Irish author Colfer, best known for his bestselling Artemis Fowl series said he was ‘terrified’ at the prospect.

He said: ‘My first reaction was semi-outrage that anyone should be allowed to tamper with this incredible series. But on reflection I realised that this is a wonderful opportunity to work with characters I have loved since childhood and give them something of my own voice while holding on to the spirit of Douglas Adams.’

‘I feel more pressure to perform now than I ever have with my own books, and that is why I am bloody determined that this will be the best thing I have ever written.

‘Being given the chance to write this book is like suddenly being offered the superpower of your choice. For years I have been finishing this incredible story in my head and now I have the opportunity to do it in the real world. It is a gift from the gods.

Adams, who sold around 16 million Hitchhiker books, died of heart failure in 2001, at the age of 49.

After finishing the fifth book, he said: ‘I suspect at some point in the future I will write a sixth Hitchhiker book ... I would love to finish Hitchhiker on a slightly more upbeat note. Five seems to be a wrong kind of number, six is a better kind of number.’

Most of the key characters, except Zaphod Beeblebrox, were apparently obliterated at the end of the last novel, when all possible Earths were removed from probability,

And Another Thing... will be published by Penguin in October next year.

Penguin managing director Helen Fraser said: ‘Eoin Colfer is an inspired choice as Douglas's successor. Eoin burst on the world with his incredibly popular Artemis Fowl series, which is beloved by readers of all ages. He is a huge talent and a fantastically funny writer, and this new book will bring as many new young readers to Douglas Adams's work as it will introduce adults to the brilliance of Eoin Colfer.’

The publisher’s publicity director Joanna Prior said the book will ‘make no claims for Eoin being Douglas… It's not Eoin Colfer writing as Douglas Adams, as was the case with Sebastian Faulks [who wrote as James Bond creator Ian Fleming earlier this year]. It’s absolutely about him being himself – Eoin the author, but with the cast of Hitchhiker.’

Published: 17 Sep 2008

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