The iPad and the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Being Towel Day, I’m getting back to my roots and thinking more about the ‘increasingly mistitled’ Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy (which is actually four books, five if you count Mostly Harmless, which I really don’t, but still enjoyed). I put a new wallpaper on my iphone and mused on Twitter that it actually was like the Guide itself (photo). A friend from work pointed out, actually, the iPad is actually the closest thing.

He has a point. Stephen Fry thought so as well: “One melancholy thought occurs as my fingers glide and flow over the surface of this astonishing object: Douglas Adams is not alive to see the closest thing to his Hitchhiker’s Guide that humankind has yet devised.”

And he’s not the first to think of it: the National Post thought so. “The Hitchhiker’s Guide of Mr. Adams’ imagination offered its readers a window through which they could learn about the world — or worlds — around them. It offered helpful articles and hints to make their planet-trotting lives easier and provided what they needed, when they needed it.”

I think the Guide itself describes it the best. Try this statement and instead of the Guide put in The Internet and book put thing: “The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times over many years and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travelers and researchers.” (p. 53).

It really has, hasn’t it? I think the price differential (the guide was always slightly cheaper than the Encyclopaedia Galactica) is still the sticking point for me. The iPad isn’t really the Guide – it’s more the Encyclopaedia Galactica, and whatever android, open-source version comes out in the next year or two that is slightly cheaper, pretty reliable, and easy to use is the Guide.

Another good comparison here.

I looked for a while for someone with an iPad with DON’T PANIC on it but this is the best I found.

Source: Adams, D.  (1996). The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide. This one:

Douglas Adams - The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide
My current copy. The book the quote above is taken from.

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