Is someone afraid that we fans are unable to carry on the HHGTG franchise without "new adventures"? Other franchises may have thought this but unlike Star Trek or Doctor Who, HHGTG was written by only one person.
This isn't entirely true. The books were written by one person, but Douglas had a history of collaboration with people when applying HHGG to different media. John Lloyd, anyone? Steve Meretsky? Similarly the rather unsuccessful delegation of Starship Titanic by Adams himself, and the even less successful delegation of the Milliways computer game to Michael Bywater are further evidence of this.
That's not to say Adams wasn't proprietorial - he allegedly received many collaborative offers by people who wanted to gee up his writing speed during his lifetime - but the notion of continuing to do things with the HHGG universe isn't a bad one per se
My personal objection, certainly upon hearing the news, was to the continuation of the story of Arther Dent in book form as a means of "completing" the trilogy.
That premise is poppycock.
I had no objection to Dirk Maggs' continuation and development of HHGG in its original form, becuase that, to me, was the true completion of the series.
I'd similarly have no objection to a collaborative effort by people connected to Douglas, and/or by people paying homage to him for the purpose of... paying homage to him.
My other objection, I guess, is to the fact that Eoin Colfer's name may appear bigger on the cover of the book than that of Douglas Adams.
However, being realistic, one day this stuff will be in the public domain, and anyone can use it, with or without the DNA Estate's approval. How many sequels, authorised or otherwise, have The War of the Worlds or the Time Machine had? Were the originals diminished in any way?
The word 'sequel', I suspect, is much less threatening than the word 'completion', and therein lies the rub.
Adams' writing style shifted considerably from the first groundbreaking HHGG novel and Mostly Harmless, and I remember being disappointed by the change because while the prose style improved, the plotting and the pace never, for me, completely recaptured the sheer brilliance of the original.
A sixth novel by Adams could have been just as much of a turkey as a sixth novel by Colfer or anyone else. The difference is we would have forgiven him, and still purchased the seventh.
If Colfer doesn't deliver, this will be his one shot, the book will fade into obscurity and be forgotten. Maybe another authorised sequel will turn up by some other author a few years later, maybe not. I don't think Douglas Adams' name on a book is a licence to print money anymore, so if this does fail it could protect the DNA legacy until 2078, which is when our sons and daughters will start touting our old hitchhiker fan fiction to publishers far and wide.
Don't Panic! is a not-for-profit role-playing game produced by and for fans of the late Douglas Adams. If you're looking for something fresh, funny, irreverent, and different to every other role-playing experience out there visit http://hitchhikers.wetpaint.com/