Sunday, November 8, 2009

Eoin Colfer

Well, I talked and talked about Eoin Colfer before he arrived at Kepler's but I was still blown away when he visited us last week to talk about And Another Thing...He's charming, a wonderful storyteller, and so very, very funny. I'm smitten, I admit it! One of the very best author presentations I've had the good fortune to attend - like going to a very good comedy club - and I just want to say that you should make the time to go and hear him wherever and whenever he talks. He's that amusing.

So Don’t Panic - but Arthur Dent is hitchhiking through the galaxy again. Eoin Colfer has written a 6th novel in the ever-more increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy on the 30th anniversary of publication of the first book in the late, great Douglas Adams’ phenomenally successful series. It was one of the funniest books ever published.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, triggered by the destruction of Earth to make way for a hyperspace expressway, has 15 million copies in print, has been heard on radio, seen on TV, enjoyed on the big screen, adapted for the stage, spawned several computer games, - there was even a musical version. And it has many many fans.

And now, in an effort to achieve enlightenment through the pursuit of towels, liberty, and a nice cup of tea, Eoin Colfer explained how be has brought the eternal pessimist Arthur Dent, his alien best friend Ford Prefect, and everyone’s favorite renegade Galactic President Zaphod Beelbebrox back for another adventure along with a pantheon of unemployed gods, a lovestruck green alien, an irritating computer, and at least one very large slab of cheese.

Eoin told us how The Hitchhikers Guide sat on his Golden Shelf - along with his Kate Bush and Pink Floyd LPs - his favorite things from his teenage life along with the first Highlander film. And how the series made him realize science fiction did not have to be serious. Here was an author who managed to write fantastic books that were also funny - very funny - full of one liners and witty parody. They were unlike anything else.

Eoin talked about how excited and nervous he was when asked to write this 6th edition of the series (and how he initially said no because he didn't think it should be done). He talked about the fans (and facebook groups) who wrote to say how he really shouldn't be attempting to write it. But Douglas Adams' widow was a fan of his work and thought he could introduce the series to a younger audience. Apparently Douglas did leave notes but Eoin didn't use them because he wanted it to be HIS book. So he picked his favorite characters and then did something controversial with one of them (OK, yes I'll tell you, it's Zaphod).

Here he is talking about And Another Thing...:

And here, Eoin talks about Artemis Fowl:

Finally, I must talk about his chair. The egg chair (see photo) is being shipped from book shop to book shop on this tour. It's gorgeous, with cow cushions and magificent Hitchhiker art on the back. Eoin explained all that is significant about the chair and happily swirled around on it for enthusiastic fans.

But for all those fans who unhappily missed Eoin this time for whatever reason, we did video the entire presentation and I'll let you know as soon as it's posted.

And, for the record, And Another Thing is very funny. It keeps the spirit of Adams' work but is very much Colfer's. I'd recommend it to anyone.

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