Unbound’s latest project, a book for all fans of author Douglas Adams, offering a unique insight into the life and work of the creator of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, has had far bigger news organs highlighting it than this humble site. It rightfully hit its crowdfunding target of £65,000 in just 11 hours about four minutes, and fans of Adam’s work continue to pledge support.
But heck, 42: The Wildly Improbable Ideas of Douglas Adams is being put together by director Kevin Jon Davies, who, as well as being an expert hand at such projects, is an old friend, so heck, yes, I’m going to highlight the crowdfunder, too.
Plus, I’m a bit concerned that if I don’t mention it, now I know about it, something weird might happen to me, and if you are a fan of Douglas Adams work, then you’ll know that might be … unpleasant. And I’m not just talking about aliens reading excruciatingly bad poetry to you.
Because there’s definitely something weird going on. SF author Jane Killick spotted that an early BBC News report on Radio 2 came in at 42 seconds long, which the reporter swears is a coincidence, but to me, it’s a sign that 42: The Wildly Improbable Ideas of Douglas Adams is already re-writing our universe just through the very mention of it. I’m convinced it’s no coincidence that just as this crowdfunding project is launched, scientists at CERN announce discoveries suggesting a possible fifth force of nature.
So, for those of you who haven’t been listening to BBC News, or read Paul Simpson‘a feature on this Unbound project over on Sci-Fi Bulletin, or missed items from The Guardian, The Times and more, then here’s pitch.
Have your towel ready, just in case, you know… weird.
After his death in 2001, Douglas Adams’s papers were loaned to his old Cambridge college, St John’s – over 60 boxes full of notebooks, research, letters, scripts, jokes, speeches, to-do lists, hard drives and even poems.
42: The Wildly Improbable Ideas of Douglas Adams will reproduce in facsimile form extracts from the archive with explanatory text and footnotes to add context. Developed in close association with Adams’s family and literary estate, the book will be a full-colour, large-format hardback that follows his career from early collaborations with Graham Chapman to his work on Doctor Who, through the Hitchhiker years, Dirk Gently, his groundbreaking non-fiction book Last Chance to See and his later digital work.
Alongside this are details of projects that never came to fruition like a proposed theme park ride and a TV series provisionally entitled The Secret Empire, which sounds absolutely amazing.
All backers (except for those at the digital poster level) will get their name printed in a special list of supporters at the back of the book.
Kevin Jon Davies is the perfect person to be putting this book together. He grew up enthralled with Doctor Who and The Goon Show. The Hitchhiker’s Guide radio series in 1978 combined the best of both, so the young art student sought out its little-known author Douglas Adams, recording an early fanzine interview. Following a career in film and tv, he went on to direct The Making of Hitchhiker, the 1993 documentary for BBC Video. Adams then invited Davies to art-direct The Illustrated Hitchhiker, a large-format book with pioneering digital composites.
Since then he has contributed to a number of Adams-related projects, including as researcher into Adams’ archives for The Hexagonal Phase (2018); the final radio series of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
So yes, I’m urging you to back this. I don’t mind weird, but all the signs are that someone, or something, is shaping this project in ways we can only begin to imagine, and you shouldn’t ignore it, any more than you should ignore that dolphin flying past your window.
Off you flip, now, before it’s too late.
Unbound, is a crowdfunding publisher bringing writers and readers closer together. Authors pitch their ideas, the company choose the best ones and if enough people pledge, Unbound turn them into great books. 42: the wildly improbable ideas of Douglas Adams will be published and fulfilled by Unbound, alongside any rewards. Find out more about Unbound and the books they publish here