Anyone who has read my books, shorts, and blog is well aware that Douglas Adams is my favorite author. I celebrate the man’s entire library, from the wildly popular Hitchhiker’s series to the obscurely hilarious Last Chance to See. I even dedicated the first book in my Max and the Multiverse series to his memory.
Thus, it would be reasonable to assume that I have plunged the depths of fandom. I have watched his many interviews, read his numerous essays, and consumed every Hitchhiker’s adaptation to date (including the original radio skits).
So imagine my surprise to learn that Neil Gaiman had written a Douglas Adams companion book … back in 1986.
Don’t Panic: Douglas Adams & The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has been in circulation for 35 years and I just now found out about it. Did I mention that Neil Gaiman wrote it? Good Omens? American Gods? Yes, that Neil Gaiman. It’s like being a fan of George R.R. Martin, but somehow missing Game of Thrones on HBO. That’s how dumb I felt.
In any regard, one of the best modern authors wrote a companion piece about my favorite author. I knew that I was going to love it, so it wasn’t exactly shocking when I did. Through a series of letters, interviews, and transcripts, Gaiman digs deep into the phenomenon that was The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s surprisingly detailed, not just a “he did this” and “he did that” level of already-know-this. The book offers an endless bounty of interesting tidbits, which I was more than happy to devour as a fan.
On the flip side, this could also be seen as the main flaw. If you only have a passing interest in Douglas Adams, then this book is likely not for you. Don’t Panic is very well-written (thanks to the incomparable Gaiman), but it does require a foundation of interest. I read several reviews that chided the book for being tedious, while at the same time admitting their lack of fandom (facepalm). So as a necessary disclaimer: Gaiman fans be warned, this one is for Adams fans, which Gaiman most certainly is, and we love him for it.
Anyhoo, it should come as no surprise that I highly recommend this book … to fans of Douglas Adams. Don’t Panic is all about the batter that made the Hitchhiker’s cake. So if that’s your cup of tea, then grab your towel and dive right in. You won’t be disappointed.