Derek Keilty, author of the Flyntlock Bones series, on a work of genius that inspired him to write.
The book I wish I had written is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams because it is genius. It has all the ingredients to make it one of my favourite books of all time. I love the sci-fi/humour blend, anarchic style and even the Vogon poetry. Not to mention all the wacky ideas: The Guide itself, the improbability drive, babel fish, Marvin the paranoid android – all funny, mind-blowing stuff. And then there are the quotes, and my favourite, ‘The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.’
The characters are clever, ridiculous, witty, weird and all add to the nonsensical brilliance of the settings and plot, reminding us of our place in the universe. The names like Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz (a civil servant like myself) were an inspiration to a young me in striving to think up good character names for my own stories. In fact, it was probably Hitchhiker’s that got me into writing as the year it was published, while still at school, I wrote my first sci-fi novel at 40k words called Hyperdrive.
So for many reasons, not just the royalties, I wish I’d written not just the first book, but all four in the series, as they are all out of this world.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams is published by Macmillan, 978-1529034523, £9.99 pbk.
The Ghost of Scarletbeard, book 3 in Derek Keilty’s Flyntlock Bones series, is published by Scallywag Press, 978-1912650774, £6.99 pbk.