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Geek Trivia: What other sci-fi franchise unofficially 'shares' a universe with Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?

Douglas Adams wrote several early drafts of the Hitchhiker's Guide movie script -- and made a special effort to secretly tie the movie universe into another well-known science-fiction franchise.

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.

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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 a...

6 comments
tbenson2468
tbenson2468

Just happened to see it yesterday. The Doctor spends much of the episode in his pajamas and briefly comments that this is Arthur Dent-ish. Calls him a nice man, as if he knew Arthur personally. See the "Cultural References" section of the Wikipedia entry for Arthur Dent.

kpdriver
kpdriver

Those two just seem to jibe with each other. The fact that Adams wrote for DR. Who explains why. And he played guitar for Pink Floyd, WOW!

iheatseekeri
iheatseekeri

If I remember correctly, the first episode of Dr. Who where Douglas Adams was the listed writer or script editor (one from the Tom Baker years), there's a scene where the Doctor was sitting down reading a book from Oolon Colluphid (he of the trilogy of philosophical blockbusters) and says "he got it wrong on the first line". Oh, and 7 year old spoiler alert if you haven't seen the movie... Boomchuck1, there were three times in the movie where Douglas Adams' face (or part of it) were seen. One was one of the planets on the factory floor of Magrathea, second was at the very end of the movie when the Heart of Gold was firing up the improbability drive (just before the credits and right after Marvin says that Milliways is at the other end of the universe), and the third - well, it was part of his face. Adams' nose was modeled and used in the temple on Viltvodle VI. It can be seen at the end of the stairwell bannister.

boomchuck1
boomchuck1

Just went back and read the first novel (5 books in the trilogy!) again and still love it. Back in the days of dual floppy disk computers and Infocom (makers of the Zork games) I played the Infocomm text based HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy game. Had a great time immersing myself in that universe and solving puzzles, including the problem of how you can have tea and no tea at the same time. BTW, did you notice in the movie that Douglas Adam's face showed up as one of the planets?

Charles Bundy
Charles Bundy

But I had an advantage as my son and I just finished watching [i]The Pirate Planet[/i] with Tom Baker as Dr. Who... :)