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History on 12th October


King John Loses Crown Jewels

Sid Vicious Arrested for Murder

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Published

The 12th of October 1979 AD

Such was the success of the Hitchhiker’s Guide radio series which first aired in 1978 that a book version was inevitable; thus on October 12 1979 the first of the five books in the trilogy was published in London by Pan.
It is a testament to the quality of writing and above all the wit of author Douglas Adams that the book reads as well as the broadcast programmes sounded, though for anyone who hears Stephen Moore’s Marvin or Peter Jones as The Book before reading the novel it is almost impossible not to use their voices in your head.
The work is frequently described as science fiction, but that seems about as accurate and relevant as calling Three Men in a Boat a travel guide: SF is generally a somewhat esoteric backwater of the publishing industry; The Hitchhiker’s Guide reached the top spot on the Sunday Times bestseller list because of the humorous – and perhaps philosophical - content rather than any coherent vision it created. Not taking the publisher’s name in vain, the book was no flash in the pan: nearly a quarter of a century – and a full generation - after it first appeared it was voted number four in the BBC “Big Read” project, only surpassed in popularity by Lord of the Rings , Pride and Prejudice, and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials.

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On this day:
Great London Tornado - 1091, Battle of Fornham - 1173, Battle of Neville Cross - 1346, Regicides Executed - 1660, London Beer Flood - 1814, 1st Professional Golf Tournament - 1860, First Motoring Offences in Britain - 1895, First Full-Scale British Air-raid - 1917, World’s First Fully Commercial Nuclear Power Plant Opened - 1956, Hatfield Rail Crash - 2000
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