Tag Archives: Douglas Adams

Whatever Became of the Douglas Adams Project

Time to come clean regarding an old promise.

In February of last year, I set myself a challenge: read all of the Douglas Adams penned Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books in 2016. Five books in twelve months. Easy right? Right?

Well, I couldn’t manage it. Didn’t even make it close, really.

As it stands, I’m part of the way through the third book in the series which I think means I accomplished a little under half of my goal. There were a lot of reasons for this, which can fairly easily be gleaned from reading some of the posts on this site from the past year. I also became a little weary of pushing onwards with the series after a friend of mine privately noted that Douglas Adams himself hit a bit of a depression during the course of writing the series, and that it might not be a good idea to press on too far into the books considering where my mind was at this year. So… I didn’t. But… I will continue onwards.

I’m… trying to be better with goats this year. Part of that involves actually completing more of them, and the other part involves not beating myself up if I don’t cross the finish line – especially when it comes to matters of pop culture consumption. Anyway, I really did enjoy what I’ve read so far from the series, and I want to continue to explore that world, at least through to the end of what Adams wrote. Afterwards, I might attempt what I called “stretch goals” from the original challenge, such as digging into the Dirk Gently series and then hitting up some other bits and bobs like the sixth Hitchhiker’s book (And Another Thing…), The Salmon of Doubt, and the novelization of Adams’ unproduced Doctor Who script Shana. It’s more than likely I’ll struggle to get done the original five, let alone any of the others, but… hey, whatever. All in good time, right? I’ll keep you updated on how things are going.

Oh, and keep an eye out for our thoughts on the Dirk Gently television series, which will be popping up here when we finish watching those episodes.

What a strange, strange show.

Brandon Schatz // Twitter // Facebook 

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March Madness (or) A Prelude

Wow, so I guess March is over? That is ridiculous. This is ridiculous. Though regardless, I think it’s time for a general progress report on how things have gone over the past month.

++ SHOP TALK

March was a very energizing month at Variant Edition. Not only did we head out to our first comics-related show, but we had a table at this year’s Edmonton Cat Show, as put on by the Edmonton Cat Fanciers, and both were rousing successes. At the Pop Culture Fair, we connected with folks within the comics community who didn’t know about the shop, and at the cat show, we helped people discover a love of comics they never knew they had through the power of cats. Turns out, cats are amazing and they can do anything. Except listen to direct instructions, I think. Anyway.

We were also featured on CBC Radio One twice – first during Edmonton AM’s trip to the Telus World of Science last Thursday where Danica and I talked about the shop and it’s everyone-friendly environment – and then on Monday, the Calgary morning show broadcast my sweet, sweet voice talking about how Gundams were primed to destroy our fair city. That… was a little surreal, and resulted in another batch of people discovering our store (and in some cases, rediscovering the wonders of comics!)

All of that has us charged up for the next round of things, which begins shortly. I don’t want to be too much a shill in this post, so if you want to know what’s coming up next, you can head over to the store’s event page for more info.

++ THE DOUGLAS ADAMS PROJECT

After a strong start of blowing through The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Restaurant at the End of the Universe in two months, I stalled out at the start of the third book. I can’t remember why, exactly, because the second book ends on a bit of a dour cliffhanger, and I really want to see how that resolves itself. And yet.

When I was talking to a customer about this project a few weeks back, I had just finished up with book two, and he noted that I would definitely finish getting through all five books in the Adam’s penned Hitchhiker’s trilogy, but I warned him that my brain gets easily sidetracked – especially when amazing comics keep arriving at the shop each and every week, interrupting the reading flow. The trick will always be getting back on track. My aim is to get through book three by the end of April to give myself a good lead on the rest of the year.

Yes, I guess one of my problems right now is “having to read books that I know I will enjoy”. You probably feel absolutely terrible for me.

++ BUT UH… REALLY. HOW ARE YOU DOING

Of course I front loaded this with the good bits. Of course.

As many of you know, I have been dealing with some heavy lows as of late and I promised you all updates. So.

Things have been… a lot better. A lot better. There were another couple of really scary periods in the past month that hit me like a motherfucker. I think the worst of it is the fact that this all effects Danica too, who… while diligently making sure I remain all in one piece sometimes ends up neglecting herself. I know how that goes, because… well, we discovered a long time ago that we don’t think too highly of ourselves, but we’ll do absolutely anything for each other, and sometimes we end up being at odds in very strange ways. We’ve often had fights where we argue about which of us should be shouldering the burden of the other which is… far better than some of the alternatives. But we both recognize that we have to work to do internally, and we’re both trying. It’s hard, but we’re trying.

Posting here has helped. Hearing from all of you has been wonderful and uplifting. Without all of you, this road would be a lot harder to walk down and for helping us both move forward, we are forever grateful.

++ PROGRAMMING NOTE

Next week, I have a personal goal of getting up something on this site each and every weekday. If all goes well, you’ll be hearing about the comics activism project in next week’s posts. With any luck, it will piss some people off.

That’s how we’ll know we’re onto something.

The Douglas Adams Project

I wrote something about this a little while back, but then completely neglected to share it when I dove down into a deep dark feelings pit. Things often get forgotten in the feelings pit, like the shape of a smile or the sound of genuine laughter. I feel like I’m already getting off track.

Last year, I read a staggeringly small amount of actual prose books. I think the number topped out at around… three and a half, which is terrible. In that time, I know I bought more than three and a half prose books, which becomes problematic when you’re trying to live a fairly minimalistic life.

So, at the start of the year, I came up with several goals, some of which apply here. One was to read more books. Another was to buy less. A third was to look at our already populate shelves when the mood to read prose strikes, which would in turn help with that second goal. These goals ended up colliding with the feelings pit, and a very specific project came about: The Douglas Adams Project.

The idea is simple: over the course of 2016, I’ll be working my way through the works of Douglas Adams, starting with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, and rolling straight into Dirk Gently. If some time remains on the clock after those seven, I’m going to extend the exercise into the sixth Hitchhiker’s book, The Salmon of Doubt, and the novelization of Adams’ unproduced Doctor Who script Shana. I will likely read these books regardless of whether or not I get to them in 2016, but I enjoy the idea of having stretch goals for this challenge. But anyway.

I chose Douglas Adams because when I was starting to fall into the feelings pit at the beginning of the year, my brain started pumping out fond memories of reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide, and that coupled with the thought that I had owned the complete set for ages, but had never gotten around to reading the rest. Reading them all would serve several purposes, and hopefully pull myself out of the doldrums.

At this point in the project, I’ve just wrapped Hitchhiker’s once more, and the experience was as pleasurable as I remember it being the first time around. There’s a small chance that I got a bit more out of it now that I’m a bit older and wiser and can pull out more wonderful story structure things from it, but that’s a post for another day. (Next week, in fact.)

So yes. There it is. A task for 2016, already on its way to completion. I suspect there will be several road blocks to come, including breaks to read other things that tickle my fancy, combined with the general fact that I rarely see projects like this through to the end. Which is actually another goal for 2016: try and actually get things done. I’ll let you know how that goes as well.