Geoff Crowther 1944-2021

hitmouse

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I have just found out that Geoff Crowther died last year. The principal co-author, and probably the major subversive influence of the first 2 editions of Lonely Planets’s India: A Travel Survival Kit in the 1980s. He was a cult figure for a certain type of traveller in the pre-internet era, when bumming off to Asia, Africa, or S America as an independent traveller was still seen as a bit of an odd thing to do. The India book preceded mass tourism to places like Goa and Kerala. It was very opinionated and quite unlike the current Lonely Planet output. There was still a strong freak feel to the narrative. For starters it told you where to buy the best ganja in every town, and how much to pay. I think that content has disappeared now. It also described how to get around and manage ( in the 1980s) in a world of steam trains and telegrams, and where Coke and Pepsi were not a thing.
For me, as a bored suburban 18 year sf&f addict, the book was electrifying. It described an utterly fantastic world within my grasp. As a direct consequence I picked up a backpack and flew off to India for a year.
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