Happy Birthday, Douglas Adams

Science fiction and screenwriter Douglas Adams

What is the secret to life, the universe, and everything?

Google it.  Copy and paste that question from the line above into the Google search box and click the search button, and it will tell you:  42.  That answer comes from Douglas Adams, the author and creator of the infamously famous Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which has become so pervasive in science fiction literature that even major search engines know the answer to the question. He was a favorite with the fans, and could often be seen at conventions not standing separate and above, but being part of it all.

Today is the birthday of science fiction writer Douglas Adams.  He would have been 61.

A colorful and He is best known as the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which started life in 1978 as a BBC radio comedy before developing into a “trilogy” of five books that sold over 15 million copies in his lifetime, a television series, several stage plays, comics, a computer game, and in 2005 a feature film.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy‘s phenomenal success sent the book straight to Number One in the UK Bestseller List and in 1984 Douglas Adams became the youngest author to be awarded a Golden Pan. He won a further two (a rare feat), and was nominated – though not selected – for the first Best of Young British Novelists awards.

He is also known to fans of British teleivion for his work writing scripts for the BBC One science fiction adventure series.  These were:

  • The Pirate Planet (the second serial in the “Key To Time” arc, in Season 16)
  • City of Death (with producer Graham Williams, from an original storyline by writer David Fisher. It was transmitted under the pseudonym “David Agnew”)
  • Shada (only partially filmed and not broadcast due to industrial disputes)

Adams had been living in Santa Barbara, California when he died unexpectedly in May 2001 of a sudden heart attack. He was 49. He had been living in Santa Barbara, California with his wife and daughter, and at the time of his death he was working on the screenplay for a feature film version of Hitchhiker’s.

The third book in the Hitchhiker’s series was So Long And Thanks For All The Fish, which is the last message the dolphins sent as they left Earth en masse before its inevitable destruction.

How apt.

So long, Douglas.  And thanks for all the fish.  We will remember you every year, and always.

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