I’m currently reading Terry Pratchett’s biography. (sponsored link). There’s a passage in there on the effect that the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy had on him. It was a passage I recognised. I first encountered Hitchhikers in the 1981 BBC TV version   and I thought it the cleverest and funniest thing I’d ever seen.
Like all wannabe writers I wanted to do the fantasy version, but I could never get the ideas to fly. When I picked up the first Discworld book I realised that this was it, the book we had all been trying to write. Terry, of course, did it far better than I could.
My children never appreciated Hitchhikers anywhere near as much as the Discworld, but that’s probably to be expected.
As Douglas Adam’s himself said about inventions…
1 . Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
I’m sure something similar applies to books and music.
- When I was at university we all claimed to have heard the original series broadcast on Radio 4 in 1978. I suspect it wasn’t just me lying when we made this claim. I’d have been 11 or 12 when the program was first broadcast and probably too young to understand the humour. And of course I didn’t listen to Radio 4 in those days.
- As this post is about Terry Pratchett it seemed appropriate to include footnotes.
I did as an 11-year old listen to the first radio broadcast–tho’ I only got the repeats on cassette tape. And have since parted company with them. The sound was superb on my dad’s stereo music centre (explain that to the kids [no wait, no need, he still has it!]). World changing. It helps me understand how folk a little older than me can be so completely barmy about The Goon Show or Mony Python.
Stereo music centre! The late 70s equivalent to air pods!