We consider self education and discussion to be over and above the beliefs and opinions of any individual or group.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Writer Discussion: DOUGLAS ADAMS

Write any questions / comments about the author here.

4 Comments:

Blogger The Adoxist Society said...

Some stuff on Adams cribbed from the info-scope:

Douglas Adams created all the various and contradictory manifestations of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy: radio, novels, TV, computer game, stage adaptations, comic book and bath towel. A major movie is currently in development hell and will almost certainly be released any decade now. Douglas Adams lectured and broadcast around the world and was a patron of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and Save the Rhino International. He was born in Cambridge, UK and lived with his wife and daughter in Santa Barbara, California, where he died suddenly on May 11th 2001.

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/authors/Douglas_Adams.htm

The author Douglas Adams, who has died aged 49, became a household name when his BBC TV series, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, was turned into a cult science fiction novel.
Adams had worked as a radio and television writer and producer before his life was changed by the book's publication in 1979.

It went on to sell more than 14m copies worldwide and preceded a series of best-selling titles by the author, including 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 five books in the series detailed the adventures of Earthman Arthur Dent, who hitched a lift on a passing starship when his home planet was destroyed to make way for an interstellar bypass.



I love deadlines - I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by

Douglas Adams
In the book, The Guide is a portable device that can tell you anything you want to know about wherever you are.

Most helpfully of all, it had the words "Don't Panic" printed in large, friendly letters on the front cover.

The books produced many memorable characters, including Betelgeusian travel writer Ford Prefect, Galactic President and space pirate Zaphod Beeblebrox, and Marvin the Paranoid Android.

They introduced readers to the worst poetry in the known universe, the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster (a drinking experience said to be akin to having your brain smashed in with a slice of lemon wrapped around a gold brick) and the fact that the Earth was a gigantic biological computer designed to calculate the meaning of life.

The series was initially broadcast on radio, and later became a successful TV series.

In an interview with BBC News Online, Adams explained how the idea for the book first struck him.



Douglas Adams was working on a Hitch Hiker's movie

"I was hitch-hiking around Europe in 1971, when I was 18, with this copy of A Hitchhiker's Guide to Europe," he recalled.

"At one point I found myself lying in the middle of a field, a little bit drunk, when it occurred to me that somebody should write a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It didn't occur to me that it might actually be me years later."

Adams went on to write other novels, including Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul and the Meaning of Liff - an alternative dictionary of nonsense words and place names.

But he was never a punctual writer.

Adams was once quoted as saying: "I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by."

Hollywood film

His early career involved some time as a writer and script editor for the series Dr Who. He wrote eight episodes, four under the pseudonym David Agnew.

More recently, Adams had been involved in writing computer games, one based on the Hitchhiker's Guide and another called Starship Titanic.

But his latest project was producing the screenplay for the Hollywood film version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.



The way he was: Douglas Adams in 1980

Born in Cambridge in 1952, Douglas Adams was educated in Essex before returning to Cambridge to study at St John's College.

He married Jane Belson in 1991 and their daughter, Polly, was born in 1994.

Such was the cult appeal of his books that many fans took them more seriously than the author himself.

In the Hitchhiker's books, the meaning of life was finally revealed to an eager audience as the number 42.

Adams said: "I think I disappointed a lot of people with that. They must have been expecting this great, profound piece of genius, but I screwed them!"

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1326695.stm

Welcome to h2g2 - the unconventional Guide to Life, the Universe and Everything. It's like an encyclopedia, only better because all the entries are written by people like you!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/

January 10, 2005 at 11:58 PM

 
Blogger The Adoxist Society said...

Here's something on PUDDLE THEORY:

(from a Guardian obituary by Richard Dawkins)

Lament for Douglas Adams

A friend's lament for Douglas Adams
Obituary
Douglas Adams dies at age 49
Actor Stephen Fry pays tribute to a friend
Planetary tribute to Hitch Hiker author as Arthurdent named

Richard Dawkins
Monday May 14, 2001
The Guardian

A lament for Douglas Adams, best known as author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, who died on Saturday, aged 49, from a heart attack.
This is not an obituary; there'll be time enough for them. It is not a tribute, not a considered assessment of a brilliant life, not a eulogy. It is a keening lament, written too soon to be balanced, too soon to be carefully thought through. Douglas, you cannot be dead.

A sunny Saturday morning in May, ten past seven, shuffle out of bed, log in to email as usual. The usual blue bold headings drop into place, mostly junk, some expected, and my gaze absently follows them down the page. The name Douglas Adams catches my eye and I smile. That one, at least, will be good for a laugh. Then I do the classic double-take, back up the screen.

What did that heading actually say? Douglas Adams died of a heart attack a few hours ago. Then that other cliche, the words swelling before my eyes.

It must be part of the joke. It must be some other Douglas Adams. This is too ridiculous to be true. I must still be asleep. I open the message, from a well-known German software designer. It is no joke, I am fully awake. And it is the right - or rather the wrong - Douglas Adams. A sudden heart attack, in the gym in Santa Barbara. "Man, man, man, man oh man," the message concludes. Man indeed, what a man. A giant of a man, surely nearer seven foot than six, broad-shouldered, and he did not stoop like some very tall men who feel uncomfortable with their height. But nor did he swagger with the macho assertiveness that can be intimidating in a big man. He neither apologised for his height, nor flaunted it. It was part of the joke against himself.

One of the great wits of our age, his sophisticated humour was founded in a deep, amalgamated knowledge of literature and science, two of my great loves. And he introduced me to my wife - at his 40th birthday party.

He was exactly her age, they had worked together on Dr Who. Should I tell her now, or let her sleep a bit longer before shattering her day? He initiated our togeth erness and was a recurrently important part of it. I must tell her now.

Douglas and I met because I sent him an unsolicited fan letter - I think it is the only time I have ever written one. I had adored The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Then I read Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.

As soon as I finished it I turned back to page one and read it straight through again - the only I time I have ever done that, and I wrote to tell him so. He replied that he was a fan of my books, and he invited me to his house in London. I have seldom met a more congenial spirit. Obviously I knew he would be funny. What I didn't know was how deeply read he was in science. I should have guessed, for you can't understand many of the jokes in Hitchhiker if you don't know a lot of advanced science. And in modern electronic technology he was a real expert. We talked science a lot, in private, and even in public at literary festivals and on the wireless or television. And he became my guru on all technical problems. Rather than struggle with some ill-written and incomprehensible manual in Pacific Rim English, I would fire off an email to Douglas. He would reply, often within minutes, whether in London or Santa Barbara, or some hotel room anywhere in the world. Unlike most staff of professional helplines, Douglas understood exactly my problem, knew exactly why it was troubling me, and always had the solution ready, lucidly and amusingly explained. Our frequent email exchanges brimmed with literary and scientific jokes and affectionately sardonic little asides. His technophilia shone through, but so did his rich sense of the absurd. The whole world was one big Monty Python sketch, and the follies of humanity are as comic in the world's silicon valleys as anywhere else.

Advertiser links
Italian Cooking Class at Casa Ombuto
Enjoy hands-on cooking lessons in Tuscany. One week cooking...

italiancookerycourse.com

La Manga Club in La Manga Spain
We offer luxury villas and apartments to rent in Europe's...

lamangaspain.com

Pico Verde Walking Holidays
Guided and independent walking holidays in Northern Spain.

picoverde.com
He laughed at himself with equal good humour. At, for example, his epic bouts of writer's block ("I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by") when, according to legend, his publisher and book agent would lock him in a hotel room, with no telephone and nothing to do but write, releasing him only for supervised walks. If his enthusiasm ran away with him and he advanced a biological theory too eccentric for my professional scepticism to let pass, his mien at my dismissal of it would always be more humorously self-mocking than genuinely crestfallen. And he would have another go.

He laughed at his own jokes, which good comedians are supposed not to, but he did it with such charm that the jokes became even funnier. He was gently able to poke fun without wounding, and it would be aimed not at individuals but at their absurd ideas. To illustrate the vain conceit that the universe must be somehow preordained for us, because we are so well suited to live in it, he mimed a wonderfully funny imitation of a puddle of water, fitting itself snugly into a depression in the ground, the depression uncannily being exactly the same shape as the puddle. Or there's this parable, which he told with huge enjoyment, whose moral leaps out with no further explanation. A man didn't understand how televisions work, and was convinced that there must be lots of little men inside the box, manipulating images at high speed. An engineer explained about high-frequency modulations of the electromagnetic spectrum, transmitters and receivers, amplifiers and cathode ray tubes, scan lines moving across and down a phosphorescent screen. The man listened to the engineer with careful attention, nodding his head at every step of the argument. At the end he pronounced himself satisfied. He really did now understand how televisions work. "But I expect there are just a few little men in there, aren't there?"

Science has lost a friend, literature has lost a luminary, the mountain gorilla and the black rhino have lost a gallant defender (he once climbed Kilimanjaro in a rhino suit to raise money to fight the cretinous trade in rhino horn), Apple Computer has lost its most eloquent apologist. And I have lost an irreplaceable intellectual companion and one of the kindest and funniest men I ever met. The day Douglas died, I officially received a happy piece of news, which would have delighted him. I wasn't allowed to tell anyone during the weeks I have secretly known about it, and now that I am allowed to it is too late.

The sun is shining, life must go on, seize the day and all those cliches.

We shall plant a tree this very day: a Douglas Fir, tall, upright, evergreen. It is the wrong time of year, but we'll give it our best shot.

Off to the arboretum.

• Richard Dawkins is Charles Simonyi professor of the public understanding of science at Oxford. A full obituary of Douglas Adams will be published in tomorrow's Guardian.

'He'll be remembered as someone who created a complete other world'

Actor Stephen Fry pays tribute to a friend
Obituary
Douglas Adams dies at age 49
A Lament for Douglas Adams by Richard Dawkins
Planetary tribute to Hitch Hiker author as Arthurdent named

Sunday May 13, 2001
The Observer

To his friends Douglas Adams will be remembered as a giant of a man with a kindness to match. But to his fans I think he will be seen as someone who brought wit into science fiction. With the greatest respect to Gene Roddenberry and others, that had not been done before.
He had almost a Wodehousian style and some of his phrases and jokes entered our language. He changed the way people spoke. You still hear some of his jokes from the Hitchhiker's books being told in pubs.

I think he would like to be remembered as someone who created a complete other world through his work. But he was also a bridge between science and popular culture. He was absolutely passionate about science and nature and his work made rather arcane things become quite accessible.

He was always angry that some people saw scientists as arrogant. He never did. He saw science as about exploration, discovery and wonder. He would say that arrogant people were people who thought they were certain about something. He did not think science was about that. He could connect science to everyday people's experiences. The image of Arthur Dent in his dressing gown wandering around next to these huge spaceships and time machines was part of that.

His death is a great loss. It is a total bummer to say the least. But I think, to paraphrase one of his phrases, at least one of the headlines on his death should say, 'So long and thanks for all the books'.

January 19, 2005 at 2:28 PM

 
Blogger The Adoxist Society said...

Here's something on PUDDLE THEORY:

(from a Guardian obituary by Richard Dawkins)

Lament for Douglas Adams

A friend's lament for Douglas Adams
Obituary
Douglas Adams dies at age 49
Actor Stephen Fry pays tribute to a friend
Planetary tribute to Hitch Hiker author as Arthurdent named

Richard Dawkins
Monday May 14, 2001
The Guardian

A lament for Douglas Adams, best known as author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, who died on Saturday, aged 49, from a heart attack.
This is not an obituary; there'll be time enough for them. It is not a tribute, not a considered assessment of a brilliant life, not a eulogy. It is a keening lament, written too soon to be balanced, too soon to be carefully thought through. Douglas, you cannot be dead.

A sunny Saturday morning in May, ten past seven, shuffle out of bed, log in to email as usual. The usual blue bold headings drop into place, mostly junk, some expected, and my gaze absently follows them down the page. The name Douglas Adams catches my eye and I smile. That one, at least, will be good for a laugh. Then I do the classic double-take, back up the screen.

What did that heading actually say? Douglas Adams died of a heart attack a few hours ago. Then that other cliche, the words swelling before my eyes.

It must be part of the joke. It must be some other Douglas Adams. This is too ridiculous to be true. I must still be asleep. I open the message, from a well-known German software designer. It is no joke, I am fully awake. And it is the right - or rather the wrong - Douglas Adams. A sudden heart attack, in the gym in Santa Barbara. "Man, man, man, man oh man," the message concludes. Man indeed, what a man. A giant of a man, surely nearer seven foot than six, broad-shouldered, and he did not stoop like some very tall men who feel uncomfortable with their height. But nor did he swagger with the macho assertiveness that can be intimidating in a big man. He neither apologised for his height, nor flaunted it. It was part of the joke against himself.

One of the great wits of our age, his sophisticated humour was founded in a deep, amalgamated knowledge of literature and science, two of my great loves. And he introduced me to my wife - at his 40th birthday party.

He was exactly her age, they had worked together on Dr Who. Should I tell her now, or let her sleep a bit longer before shattering her day? He initiated our togeth erness and was a recurrently important part of it. I must tell her now.

Douglas and I met because I sent him an unsolicited fan letter - I think it is the only time I have ever written one. I had adored The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Then I read Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.

As soon as I finished it I turned back to page one and read it straight through again - the only I time I have ever done that, and I wrote to tell him so. He replied that he was a fan of my books, and he invited me to his house in London. I have seldom met a more congenial spirit. Obviously I knew he would be funny. What I didn't know was how deeply read he was in science. I should have guessed, for you can't understand many of the jokes in Hitchhiker if you don't know a lot of advanced science. And in modern electronic technology he was a real expert. We talked science a lot, in private, and even in public at literary festivals and on the wireless or television. And he became my guru on all technical problems. Rather than struggle with some ill-written and incomprehensible manual in Pacific Rim English, I would fire off an email to Douglas. He would reply, often within minutes, whether in London or Santa Barbara, or some hotel room anywhere in the world. Unlike most staff of professional helplines, Douglas understood exactly my problem, knew exactly why it was troubling me, and always had the solution ready, lucidly and amusingly explained. Our frequent email exchanges brimmed with literary and scientific jokes and affectionately sardonic little asides. His technophilia shone through, but so did his rich sense of the absurd. The whole world was one big Monty Python sketch, and the follies of humanity are as comic in the world's silicon valleys as anywhere else.

Advertiser links
Italian Cooking Class at Casa Ombuto
Enjoy hands-on cooking lessons in Tuscany. One week cooking...

italiancookerycourse.com

La Manga Club in La Manga Spain
We offer luxury villas and apartments to rent in Europe's...

lamangaspain.com

Pico Verde Walking Holidays
Guided and independent walking holidays in Northern Spain.

picoverde.com
He laughed at himself with equal good humour. At, for example, his epic bouts of writer's block ("I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by") when, according to legend, his publisher and book agent would lock him in a hotel room, with no telephone and nothing to do but write, releasing him only for supervised walks. If his enthusiasm ran away with him and he advanced a biological theory too eccentric for my professional scepticism to let pass, his mien at my dismissal of it would always be more humorously self-mocking than genuinely crestfallen. And he would have another go.

He laughed at his own jokes, which good comedians are supposed not to, but he did it with such charm that the jokes became even funnier. He was gently able to poke fun without wounding, and it would be aimed not at individuals but at their absurd ideas. To illustrate the vain conceit that the universe must be somehow preordained for us, because we are so well suited to live in it, he mimed a wonderfully funny imitation of a puddle of water, fitting itself snugly into a depression in the ground, the depression uncannily being exactly the same shape as the puddle. Or there's this parable, which he told with huge enjoyment, whose moral leaps out with no further explanation. A man didn't understand how televisions work, and was convinced that there must be lots of little men inside the box, manipulating images at high speed. An engineer explained about high-frequency modulations of the electromagnetic spectrum, transmitters and receivers, amplifiers and cathode ray tubes, scan lines moving across and down a phosphorescent screen. The man listened to the engineer with careful attention, nodding his head at every step of the argument. At the end he pronounced himself satisfied. He really did now understand how televisions work. "But I expect there are just a few little men in there, aren't there?"

Science has lost a friend, literature has lost a luminary, the mountain gorilla and the black rhino have lost a gallant defender (he once climbed Kilimanjaro in a rhino suit to raise money to fight the cretinous trade in rhino horn), Apple Computer has lost its most eloquent apologist. And I have lost an irreplaceable intellectual companion and one of the kindest and funniest men I ever met. The day Douglas died, I officially received a happy piece of news, which would have delighted him. I wasn't allowed to tell anyone during the weeks I have secretly known about it, and now that I am allowed to it is too late.

The sun is shining, life must go on, seize the day and all those cliches.

We shall plant a tree this very day: a Douglas Fir, tall, upright, evergreen. It is the wrong time of year, but we'll give it our best shot.

Off to the arboretum.

• Richard Dawkins is Charles Simonyi professor of the public understanding of science at Oxford. A full obituary of Douglas Adams will be published in tomorrow's Guardian.

'He'll be remembered as someone who created a complete other world'

Actor Stephen Fry pays tribute to a friend
Obituary
Douglas Adams dies at age 49
A Lament for Douglas Adams by Richard Dawkins
Planetary tribute to Hitch Hiker author as Arthurdent named

Sunday May 13, 2001
The Observer

To his friends Douglas Adams will be remembered as a giant of a man with a kindness to match. But to his fans I think he will be seen as someone who brought wit into science fiction. With the greatest respect to Gene Roddenberry and others, that had not been done before.
He had almost a Wodehousian style and some of his phrases and jokes entered our language. He changed the way people spoke. You still hear some of his jokes from the Hitchhiker's books being told in pubs.

I think he would like to be remembered as someone who created a complete other world through his work. But he was also a bridge between science and popular culture. He was absolutely passionate about science and nature and his work made rather arcane things become quite accessible.

He was always angry that some people saw scientists as arrogant. He never did. He saw science as about exploration, discovery and wonder. He would say that arrogant people were people who thought they were certain about something. He did not think science was about that. He could connect science to everyday people's experiences. The image of Arthur Dent in his dressing gown wandering around next to these huge spaceships and time machines was part of that.

His death is a great loss. It is a total bummer to say the least. But I think, to paraphrase one of his phrases, at least one of the headlines on his death should say, 'So long and thanks for all the books'.

January 19, 2005 at 2:32 PM

 
Blogger The Adoxist Society said...

Adams cf. Dickens in use of 'silly' names. Adams' names are space-names

January 19, 2005 at 11:31 PM

 

Post a Comment

<< Home