THE seeds of my love of all things sci and fi were planted when I was just a nipper.
When I wasn’t playing football or kiss-chase with girls (Not football with girls – they were usually too good for me), I was watching or acting out Star Wars or Space 1999 with my mates, using the figures, the toys and usually digging up huge swathes of my grandparents’ front garden.
I don’t play football anymore and only dig up gardens if I absolutely have to, but I am always all over any sci-fi news that’s out there, and this past few days has seen two massive announcements.
The first was that a new Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy book will be coming out and the second was the return of Red Dwarf.
Both formed major parts of my growing up, first by watching and reading Hitchhikers (and the other books). I now know never to be without my towel, how to fly, not to panic, what to order if I ever dine at Milliways and the answer to life, the universe and everything.
I was older when the Boys from the Dwarf came on the
scene, and while it didn’t have the wider cultural influence or resonance of Hitchhikers, it was still very funny – Rimmer’s space corps directives, unrumbling, Brett Riverboat, Smegheads ..
But should they come back?
In Red Dwarf’s case, absolutely. After all, the original cast are all onboard, as is writer Rob Naylor and the way it ended means every fan of the show would like to see new stuff.
For Hitchhiker’s, I am not so sure, but I am willing to see whether Eoin Colfer – whose Artemis Fowl books I like – can pull it off.
To begin with, he must have balls of steel to take over from Douglas Adams, by my reckoning a genius of the first order and a true sci-fi renaissance man, working on Doctor Who, computer games, radio and even appearing in Monty Python, funnily enough in episode 42.
Those are mighty big shoes to fill, shoes packed with fantastically funny and original ideas, really stupendously huge items of footwear that you’d have to evict an old lady and her family from before putting on.
In short, I’d have thought, a daunting challenge for a writer.
On top of that, people care for all things Hitchhiker’s with a deep passion, and fiddling around with that kind of love is fraught with difficulties. Just ask George Lucas.
If he doesn’t quite manage it, then we will always have the other six, nice try Eoin, so long and thanks for all the fish. Or something.
If he does somehow do it, I will happily stand corrected and the first round of Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters are on me.