The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

I literally woke up

at weekends on my year out as a trainee architect to Douglas Adams’ sparkling wit.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy radio transmissions, with Peter Jones delicious voice and the lovely Eagles theme tune, but most of all, with its subtle humourous take on seventies popular science, the series absolutely caught for me the spirit of the age.

The TV and film versions didn’t press my buttons in the same way as the radio and printed versions did.

I thought it time for a proper visual interpretation to be made.  All the captions here are transcribed from the radio scripts.

the image of Arthur

trying to stop a bulldozer, while Ford misinterprets his words is a perfect precis of both characters’ personality – Arthur determined but ineffective, Ford dynamic and absent minded.

The man who came to demolish the house

. . . Arthur had thought he had come to clean the windows and his error cost him a fiver.

just a throw-away phrase

– the title of another book from the description of the eponymous Book

the cosy pub

with its professionally sympathetic barman

I loved this guy

and his cool but sincere misunderstanding of what Ford was saying.

It was fun putting a bit of Arya Stark into his assistant’s frown.

the babel fish

the description of the babel fish is a masterpiece of Adams’s writing skill. 

In homage to his superbly concise style, I also tried to stuff lots of tangential detail into the illustration.

vogons may not have the slickest

minds in the galaxy, so when it comes to arguing with them about matters of life and death – logic isn’t necessarily the best tactic.

this planet has,

or rather had, a problem.

The man here is a tribute to Skottie Young’s illustrations for Fortunately the Milk, with baggy trousers and platform soles in homage to a lyric by Dire Straits.

can't say how much I love

this story and its potential for illustration.

In this scene, our heroes are cast out of the Vogon constructor ship into open space

in colour!

the only one of the H2G2 drawings I have done in colour . . . so far

and HERE‘s an interesting thing I came upon by accident!

. . . and rescued

by a passing ship – namely the Heart of Gold while in infinite improbability drive.

However, sometimes not everything is what it seems.  At first sight, this super-modern ship seems to be the seafront at Southend.

zaphod's two heads

I recall that a reviewer of the TV series pointed this out as a weakness in adaptation.

I realised that for me it was an opportunity to show the subtlety of two expressions to illustrate Zaphod’s frequent excursions into doublespeak.

And then there is Trillian – ahh!

the infinite improbability drive

was invented by a student, improbably enough.

Sadly, it didn’t end well for him.

gpp

genuine people personalities . . .

 

Of course that can be a coin with two sides . . . Marvin seems to be “tails”.

Zaphod

Beeblebrox

He’s just this guy, you know. 

Two heads, indeterminate number of arms, the coolest of the cool.

President of the Galaxy and Interstellar thief . . .

bored dis-satisfied . . .

. . either the climate wasn’t quite right in the later part of the afternoon, or the day was half an hour too long, or the sea was just the wrong shade of pink . . .

And so

 the system broke down, the empire collapsed, and a long sullen silence settled over the Galaxy disturbed only by the pen-scratchings of scholars as they laboured into the night over smug little treatises on the value of planned political economy.

ford challenges

zaphod about why he is searching for Magrathea in the Heart of Gold – a stolen starship.  Zaphod replies with typical doublespeak.

i also

made a speech-bubble version of this pic  In fact I did this one first.

don't panic

Trillian tries to calm Arthur down, little realising he is on the brink of brilliant thought which will save them all.

a bowl of petunias

this must be the most illustrated image of the whole story.  Google “bowl of petunias” and select “images” and many of them include a whale.  Such is the impact of Douglas Adams’ genius.

the heart

of Gold touches down on the surface of Magrathea

The caption quotes the shipboard computer’s sulky farewell

The white mice have their own agenda

gorra love

Slartibartfast, the wise old creator of Norway’s coast.  

Portrayed here in his first encounter with Arthur.

 

Slartibartfast: You must come now or or you will be late.

Arthur: Late? What for?

what

is your name, human?

Arthur: Dent, Arthur Dent. .

Slartibartfast: “Late” as in “The late Dent Arthur Dent.” – It’s a sort of threat, you see. Never been very good at them myself, but I’m told they can be terribly effective. 

footnote to mobile site . . . This note appears in a sidebar on computers and tablets . . .

I literally woke up

at weekends on my year out as a trainee architect to Douglas Adam’s sparkling wit.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy radio transmissions, with Peter Jones delicious voice and the lovely Eagles theme tune, but most of all, with its subtle humourous take on seventies popular science, the series absolutely caught for me the spirit of the age.

The TV and film versions didn’t press my buttons in the same way as the radio and printed versions did.

I thought it time for a proper visual interpretation to be made.  All the captions here are transcribed from the radio scripts.

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