Colfer to write sixth ‘Hitchhiker’ book

Author takes over for late Douglas Adams

“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” has outlived Douglas Adams.

The late author’s series of humorous sci-fi books (which also appeared as a radio show, a computer game, a TV mini, multiple plays and a 2004 movie) ended on a very bleak note with the fifth novel, “Mostly Harmless,” and before he died, Adams publicly stated his desire to write a sequel with a happier ending.

Now, bestselling young adult novelist Eoin Colfer has been tapped by Penguin to write book six: “And Another Thing,” set for publication in October 2009.

Colfer said that the opportunity was “like suddenly being offered the superpower of your choice. It is a gift from the gods.”

In his own books, including the “Artemis Fowl” series (which is currently optioned by the Weinstein Co.), Colfer frequently mixes humor and sci-fi. Adams’ daughter Polly Adams and widow Jane Belson both expressed their support of the project.

Adams had been working on the book himself before his death. In an interview from his posthumous prose collection “The Salmon of Doubt,” Adams told writer Matt Newsome that he had abandoned a novel about his character Dirk Gently and was mapping out a new “Hitchhiker” book. “I would love to finish ‘Hitchhiker’ on a slightly more upbeat note, so five seems to be a wrong kind of number,” Adams said. “Six is a better kind of number.”