Until I came to Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy all my science-fictional heroes wore space-suits or powered armour, wielded lightsabers or plugged aliens with blasters. Douglas Adams put his hero in a dressing-gown. And armed him with a talking guide-book.
I was 12 years old when I first picked up a copy of Hitchhiker’s and its sequel, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Don’t Panic – that’s the phrase printed on the front of the eponymous Guide. And what better advice to offer a tentative youngster about to enter the world? At that age, the real world feels as strange and unsettling as any in fiction. You need a guide. It’s only in the last few years that I’ve come to appreciate just how much Hitchhiker’s has steered me through my life.
I vividly remember buying the books from a store in Central Station…
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