of the Two Known States
of The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy
(1st UK Edition, 1st Printing)
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy or H2G2 began as a humorous science-fiction radio play produced by the BBC. For those that might actually care, the first published book of H2G2 was actually titled The Hitch Hiker's Guide . . ., but since there was never any degree of consistency of naming and since Douglas himself stated in 2000 that he preferred the one-word version, that's kind of that.
Until very recently I did not even know that there were two states of jacket for the true first (UK) edition of H2G2. I purchased a 1st edition from Adrian Harrington Rare Books (inventory #22639) in May of 2004. In May of 2006, I was browsing the online catalog of Lloyd Currey when I noticed that he was offering a 1st edition with a substantially different jacket. I bought Mr. Currey's copy, which, it turned out was from the library of David G. Hartwell, Sr. Editor at Tor, who said he picked it up in a bookstore in the UK when it came out, and have been doing a comparison of the two books ever since.
The books themselves are identical. The jackets differ substantially.
The Harrington copy has no price on the front flap, no ISBN or publisher's imprint on the back flap, the rear panel is solid blue and has no blurb.
The Hartwell copy has a price of four pounds, ninety-five pence on the front flap, an ISBN and publisher's imprint on the back flap, and the rear panel is white with a blurb for Capricorn One.
According to source? the British Book-club edition of this title carried the club's imprint on the title page, verso and the spine, which the Harrington copy does NOT have. Mr. Currey and Andy Richards of Cold Tonnage speculated that the first variant could possibly be a proof, an export copy or a book club. So far there is no evidence to strongly support any one of these.
I have made inquiries to Weidenfeld Ltd, of which Arthur Barker, Ltd was a subsidiary at the time that H2G2 was published, but have received no response.
Anyone wishing to contribute information on 1st Edition, 1st printing copies of this title is encouraged to email me. Questions and comments can be addressed to the same account.
Karl E. Ziellenbach - last revised 06/06/2006