A mere 33 years ago today — Oct. 12, 1979 — the first novelized version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was published. Despite beginning life as a rather popular BBC radio series, it was the prose incarnations of Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide series that cemented both his and its place in not just geek lore, but mainstream culture at large.
The Hitchhiker's Guide novels have been translated into over 30 languages. They've been adapted into video games and stage plays. The original radio plays have been broadcast throughout the English-speaking world. The BBC commissioned a well-regarded television miniseries based on Hitchhiker's Guide that remains available today. For frak's sake, there are still two active USENET groups dedicated to Douglas Adams and the Hitchhiker's Guide universe, to say nothing of sizable portions of the ThinkGeek catalog.
Yet, for all that popularity, it still took 25 years to realize a major motion picture version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The movie was in proverbial "development hell" for 20 years and wasn't produced until after Douglas Adams's death. Nonetheless, his influence on the film is substantial — Adams wrote several early drafts of the script — and may explain why he made a special effort to secretly tie the Hitchhiker's movie universe into another well-known science-fiction franchise.
WHAT OTHER MAJOR SCI-FI FRANCHISE "SHARES" A UNIVERSE WITH THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY?Get the answer.
Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger — amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can also follow him on his personal blog.