Colfer (left) will bring back Douglas Adams's (right) character Arthur Dent
Children's author Eoin Colfer has been commissioned to write a sixth instalment of the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy series.
Mostly Harmless, the last Hitchhiker book, was written by its creator, the late Douglas Adams, 16 years ago.
Now Adams's widow, Jane Belson, has given her approval to bring back the hapless Arthur Dent in a new book entitled And Another Thing...
Eoin Colfer, 43, is best known for the best-selling Artemis Fowl novels.
He said he was "terrified" by the prospect of creating a new Hitchhiker book almost a quarter of a century after being introduced to what he described as a "slice of satirical genius" in his late teens.
"My first reaction was semi-outrage that anyone should be allowed to tamper with this incredible series," he said.
The book also spawned a BBC TV series starring Simon Jones
"But on reflection I realised that this is a wonderful opportunity to work with characters I have loved since childhood and give them something of my own voice while holding on to the spirit of Douglas Adams.
"I feel more pressure to perform now than I ever have with my own books," he said, adding that he was "determined that this will be the best thing I have ever written".
Jane Belson said: "I am delighted that Eoin Colfer has agreed to continue the Hitchhiker series.
"I love his books and could not think of a better person to transport Arthur, Zaphod and Marvin to pastures new. The project has my full support."
Adams died of heart failure in 2001, aged 49.
Around 16 million copies of his Hitchhiker books, which have been translated into 35 languages, have been sold around the world.
Colfer was a primary school teacher in Ireland before he secured the largest ever advance for a children's novel by an unknown author.
His Artemis Fowl series, about a teenage criminal mastermind who wreaks havoc in this world and the next, went on to sell more than 18 million copies worldwide and a film adaptation is due to go into production next year.
And Another Thing... will be published in October next year.