The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Tertiary Phase
By Douglas Adams
Published by BBC Audio books
Produced by BBC Radio
Approx. 3 hours
I'm really not sure what it is but there is something about the British and their creativity and humor. Seriously, think about it all the best stuff entertainment related comes from the UK; The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Dr. Who, The Office, Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes and even American Idol was a British idea first. Continuing with that tradition the Britons birthed Douglas Adams.
The "trilogy in five parts" that makes up the books of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series has to be one of the funniest if not most creative science fiction works in existence. The series has seen many manifestations of itself in media, a BBC Television series, Computer games, movie, stage plays, games, comic books and the BBC Radio Productions.
The first two books in the series were produced for BBC Radio 4 in 1978. The latter books in the series, the Tertiary, Quandary and Quintessential Phases were broadcast on Radio 4 from September 2004 to June 2005. The only members of the original cast not on the new versions were absent due to death. However as tribute in episode one of the Tertiary Phase, Simon Jones, the voice of the book, is heard for a bit as the book is updating itself. A real treat is that Douglas Adams makes a posthumous appearance playing the part of Agrajag.
BBC Audio books has taken these "phases" and released them as audio books. The Tertiary phase basically, is the book "Life, The Universe, and Everything." This book tells of the evil xenophobic race of Krikkiteers who thought themselves alone in the Universe because their solar system was surrounded by a black dust cloud. After a ship crash lands on their planet they set out to kill anything that is not a Krikketeer. The game of cricket is based on these battles, okay so sayeth Douglas Adams, anyway.
At the beginning of the audio book we find Arthur Dent stranded on pre-historic Earth with only trees to talk with. A spaceship lands and Arthur thinks he may be saved. But the ship is manned only by a man that has set out to insult everyone in the universe. After he insults Arthur he leaves, and Arthur is stranded once again. But the story picks up when Ford Prefect appears and they go jaunting across the universe with Slartibartfast to keep the Krikkiteer robots from reassembling a key that will release the Krikkit solar system from its time lock and then destroy everyone.
With the greatest absurdism and dry wit that only Douglas Adams ever pulled off these audio book / radio release of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Tertiary Phase is a welcome presence to any Douglas Adams fan. If you are not yet a fan of Douglas Adams or the Hitchhiker’s series, you can easily give this a listen and jump right in to a hilarious romp without missing a beat with this production.
One other note, why can't the U.S. bring back radio theater?