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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

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Joined: 08 Mar 2001
Posts: 1344
Location: Lubbock, Texas
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy PostTue May 15, 2001 3:02 am  Reply with quote  

It is with great sadness that I report the passing of Douglas Adams, author of the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," and creator of the babelfish, described in another thread. I'm sure Mr. Adams would tell us all to hold our towels close and remember, "Don't Panic!"

Author Douglas Adams, who wrote The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, is seen at home last year in Santa Barbara, Calif. Adams died Friday at age 49. (Dan Callister/Online USA) So Long
... And Thanks for All the Fish

By Edward Mazza

May 14 Sci-fi humorist Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy novels, died on Friday. He was 49.

Adams, who was born in the United Kingdom, apparently suffered a massive heart attack while working out at a gym near his Santa Barbara, Calif., home, it was announced on Saturday.
"He was not ill," family friend Elizabeth Gibson told the Associated Press. "This was completely unexpected."

The Hitchhiker's Guide trilogy of which there are actually five novels sought to answer the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything.

That answer, Adams wrote in a typical Hitchhiker's non sequitur, is 42.

From Radio to Worldwide Phenom

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy started as a BBC radio series in 1978. The novel and its sequels sold some 15 million copies and launched a U.K. television series and a loyal cult following.

It is also currently in development as a motion picture by Disney, parent company of

"I'm absolutely devastated," the BBC's head of comedy, Geoffrey Perkins, told that network's news agency. "I've known Douglas for 25 years. He was absolutely one of the most creative geniuses to ever work in radio comedy."

Perkins produced the original Hitchhiker's Guide radio series.

"He probably wrote one of the greatest radio comedy series ever; certainly the most imaginative," Perkins said.

Life, the Universe and Everything

In Adams' universe, the Earth is razed for an intergalactic highway. Survivor Arthur Dent and his strange alien friend, Ford Prefect, then hitchhike the galaxy, using the Guide to help them on their way.

They also learn the importance of keeping a fish in their ears, and why one must always carry a towel.

"When I originally described The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, over 20 years ago, I was only joking. I didn't see myself as a predictive kind of science fiction writer," the author wrote.

"But it turns out that I, inadvertently, had a terribly good idea. The Guide was compiled by researchers roaming round the galaxy, beaming their copy in, which was then instantly available to anybody to read. Over, believe it or not, something called the SubEthaNet."

In other words, an intergalactic version of the Internet a medium the author has used extensively in recent years to create a "real" version of the Guide, where folks from all over get together to offer advice on life, the universe and everything (see Web links, right).

"We're gradually beginning to get some tiny, tiny inkling of how powerful a networked community sharing information really could become," Adams writes on the site.

Recent entries discuss the virtues of cow-skin rugs and which line to use at the supermarket checkout. Some five entries are added each day, according to a note on the BBC-hosted site.

Guide contributors have throughout the weekend posted messages of mourning on the site.

The Five-Book Trilogy

The sequels to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy are The Restaurant at the End of the Universe; Life, the Universe and Everything; So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish; and Mostly Harmless.

The last title is the Guide's entire entry on planet Earth.

Adams also wrote two books about Dirk Gently's "holistic detective" agency, and Last Chance to See, a book about endangered species with Mark Carwardine.

Adams was also a founder of Digital Village, a multimedia company.

He is survived by his wife, Jane, daughter, Polly, and mother, Jan Thrift.

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Joined: 08 Mar 2001
Posts: 1344
Location: Lubbock, Texas
PostTue May 15, 2001 3:14 am  Reply with quote  

"Perhaps I'm old and tired, but I always think that the chances of finding out what really is going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say hang the sense of it and just keep yourself occupied." - Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

"Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job." - Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

"'My doctor says that I have a malformed public duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fibre,' he muttered to himself, 'and that I am therefore excused from saving Universes.'" - Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

"There is a theory which states that if ever for any reason anyone discovers what exactly the Universe is for and why it is here it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable." - Douglas Adams

"Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so." - Douglas Adams

"Some say that the universe is made so that when we are about to understand it it changes into something even more incomprehensible. And then there are those who say that this has already happened." - Douglas Adams

"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so." - Douglas Adams, Last Chance to See

"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof was to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools." - Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless

"A computer terminal is not some clunky old television with a typewriter in front of it. It is an interface where the mind and body can connect with the universe and move bits of it about." - Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless

"Arthur: 'It's at times like this I wish I'd listened to my mother.'
Ford : 'Why, what did she say?'
Arthur: 'I don't know, I never listened.'" - Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

"In the beginning, the universe was created. This made a lot of people very angry, and has been widely regarded as a bad idea." - Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

"God's final message to his Creation: We Apologise For The Inconvenience" - Douglas Adams, So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish
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Joined: 24 Apr 2001
Posts: 672
Location: North Carolina
PostTue May 15, 2001 9:53 pm  Reply with quote  

Thank you for this sad bit of news. And thank you ever so much for the quotes I laughed and cried. I vaguely remember reading The Restaurant at the End of the Universe while I was in college. I don't think it was very relevant to me then... I think I'll go and get all of them. Laughter is truly the best medicine. Plus it will "keep me occupied".
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