Thursday, March 10, 2016

Life, the Universe, and Everything




The title started out as just an homage to Douglas Adams, as I talked about life, the universe, and everything, but then I couldn’t help but start thinking about the books, the series, and the movie, and how much influence they had on the culture of, at the very least, a subset of people, okay, geeks, of which I and a number of my friends are members, but beyond that, it has gained cult status worldwide.  If you ask Google for the answer to life, the universe, and everything, the answer is 42. 

Originally a series of radio scripts for BBC, the series was later adapted to “stage shows, novels, comic book adaptations, a 1981 TV series, a 1984 computer game, and 2005 feature film. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has become an international multi-media phenomenon. The novels are the most widely distributed, having been translated into more than 30 languages by 2005,” which gives those who may not be familiar an idea of just how influential the series was, and is.

To this day, among many of my friends, 42 is likely to be the answer to any question of an esoteric nature, and will solicit nods, grins, and chuckles, generally followed by a discussion of whatever the original question was.  My people know where their towels are!  You never know when you will run in to the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Trall. 

When I graduated from college, the first time, I had a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy party.  We had pan galactic gargleblasters, and since we couldn’t find Algolian Suntiger teeth, we used crawfish claws, and yes, as a couple of people at the party would attest, that yes, it “is like having your brain smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick"  It was a good party.

Naturally, much of the appeal comes from the reader’s ability to identify with the characters, and to recognize aspects of people they know in the same diverse group of characters.  If you have somehow missed this series, I wholeheartedly recommend it. This series hits all the right notes for me, and while I write a very different type of book, Adams is one of the authors I consider an example of the type of author I would like to be.  His quirky look at the world continues to entertain long after it was written.



Excerpt from Reaching for Beyond:
Recently I’ve begun absorbing whatever energy is around me just as though I had tapped a ley line, and one time I even did this channeling kind of thing with a dead friend’s journal, but that’s another story, and the only time that’s happened. The one giving me the most trouble at the moment was that the dark energy that had oozed past my shield at the crime scene. It made me feel decidedly bitchy.
As we got in the car, Jason looked at me for a long moment. “You haven’t told him you’re here yet have you?”
“So what if I haven’t?  I didn’t know how long we’d be here, and we’ve been busy.”
“Too busy to make a phone call?”
“Shut up.”
Jason laughed as he walked into his own room to go through the photos he’d taken again, and the ones he’d gotten from Giles, looking for, well, anything that might help us make sense of the murder and the crime scene.
I took a few minutes to catch my breath and think before I called.  I still couldn’t’ understand the affect he had on me.  I’ve been around a lot of men, and even loved one, once, but even he didn’t have the effect on me that Cam did.
Cam answered on the second ring. “Delany.”
“Hey there,” I said, knowing he’d recognize my voice.
“Riley. Hi. How’s it going?” His voice, as smooth as silk, even over the phone could speed up my heart rate. He’d had that effect on me since the first moment I’d laid eyes on him, and while he “was” gorgeous, I’d come up with nothing to account for the fact that he was the only man I’d ever met that could speed up my heart rate just by proximity.
“Good, I suppose. Jase and I just caught a new case that I need to talk to you about.”
“Sure. How can I help?’
“Meet me for lunch?”
“You’re in town?” I could hear the smile in his voice, although there was also the possibility it was a leer. We always seemed to somehow end up naked when we got together, but between the demands of my job, and his, we’re keeping things casual. Between my commitment issues, and the fact that my family would never accept him, I have to admit that the lack of forward movement in our relationship is my fault.