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The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Signed Douglas Adams first editions 1979

The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Signed Douglas Adams first editions 1979


London: Pan Books Ltd., 1979 [&] London: Arthur Barker Limited, 1979


8vo., 2 vols; the Pan paperback edition in colourful, holographic-style card wraps; pp. [v], 6-158, [ii]; the hardback in blue publisher’s boards, gilt to spine; in the original unclipped pictorial dust jacket (£4.95 net) designed by Patrick Gierth; pp. [v], 6-158, [ii]; both copies very good to near-fine, the paperback with pages evenly toned, as ever, slightly rubbed to extremities of wraps, the odd scratch to edges; the hardback very lightly spotted to upper edge, with some mild compression to spine tips; the jacket retaining, unusually, all of its brightness along the backstrip; ever-so-slightly toned and shelf worn to flaps; some mild spotting to the verso of jacket unobservable to exterior. 


Two copies of Adam’s iconic work, based on the famous radio series of the same name. The true first edition, issued in paperback, is here signed by the author to the inside front cover ‘Best Wishes,/ Douglas Adams’. Together with the first hardback edition - the correct first issue, with the ‘Capricorn One’ advert to the rear panel. A superb duo, and certainly rare with these attributes. 


On 8th March 1978, the first episode of The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was released on BBC Radio 4. It was followed by another five, which received such tremendous reviews that it was repeated twice that year alone, and many more times in the years that followed. Released later as an LP, the Pan Paperback appeared the following year, with a plot based upon the first four episodes within the series (albeit with certain events occurring in a different order, and with some of the more specific details changed). By the second week of publication the book had reached number one in the book charts, and another four novels subsequently followed: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe; Life, the Universe and Everything; So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish; and Mostly Harmless. Adams had been considering a sixth book at the time of his death in 2001, the premise of which was eventually taken up by Eoin Colfer, who released And Another Thing… in 2009. 


Now somewhat of a cult classic, the books follow a series of characters, including Arthur Dent, the last surviving inhabitant of Earth, along with Ford Perfect (a humanoid alien and author of the eponymous book), Zaphod Beeblebrox, the depressive Marvin the Paranoid Android, and many others. The idea for the series was first conceived of by Adams as he was hitch-hiking around Europe with a guide to the continent. Lying drunk in a field one evening looking up at the stars, the author thought what a clever idea it would be for someone to make a guide not only of Europe, but the universe as a whole. 


Copies of the paperback are rare indeed signed.

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