Strap yourself in for a wild ride

Published 03 December 2018

In a galaxy far, far away, eco-terrorists are wreaking havoc, farmers are up in arms and an environmental blockade is on the brink of violence or, worse, poetry.

Locked On! The Seventh and Most Illegal in the Hitchhiker’s Guide Trilogy is UNE Peace Studies convenor Marty Branagan's new work of satirical fiction, which picks up where Hitchhiker's author Douglas Adams left off. But while the sci-fi setting may be out of this world, the subject matter is down-to-earth, drawing on Australia’s first blockade of a coal mine, near Narrabri, and the successful blockade of gas extraction on prime farmland at Bentley, near Lismore.

"It's a work of fiction, but accurately reflects how farmers, Aboriginal people and environmentalists came together for the first time as part of the fastest growing mass movement in Australia's history," Marty says.

"I have distilled into the novel my research into non-violence, to show the effectiveness of grassroots campaigns and that even small actions can lead to something bigger."

The insider's account of non-violent protest portrays some of the dramas and joys of civil disobedience, but Locked On! is not without its humour.

"Readers will recognise some of Adams' characters but also some aspects of Maximegalon University," Marty says.

"However, all characters are entirely fictitious, of course, and I've tried to be very even-handed in my satire by insulting every level of the university equally."

Marty says he hopes the book also celebrates rural life and environmental peace.

Locked On! will be launched in Armidale, "the centre of the universe", at Reader’s Companion bookshop (opposite Armidale Post Office) on Friday 7 December at 5.30 pm.

The paperback is available online and an illustrated e-version will soon be available.

For further information contact Marty Branagan.

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