“This is an interesting world I find myself in—an interesting hole I find myself in—fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!”
– Douglas Adams
That’s Douglas Adams for you. 11 March 2013, Google aptly honours him on b’day with the Google Doodle. An English writer best known for his humour and dramatics, Douglas stood out from his classmates in school for exemplary writing skills and quite literally too, he was too tall for his age and almost 6 ft 5 in when he stopped growing.
After graduating in Literature, he went on to write for TV and radio shows. Graham Chapman of Monty Python’s fame and Douglas formed a writing partnership for Monty Python for a sketch that plays on the idea of a mind-boggling paper work in an emergency in episode 45 – Patient Abuse.
7 To be read super Douglas Adams entertainers include:
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy(1978) – a science comedy radio series, the title he said struck him when he was drunk and gazing at the stars in Innsbruck, Austria. The BBC comedy series developed into a “trilogy of five books” and sold over 15 million copies in his lifetime and a feature film made out of it in 2005.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (1987) – “thumping good detective-ghost-horror-who dunnit-time travel-romantic-musical-comedy-epic” as Douglas describes, it is a detective novel with a humourous pinch to it. A number of depictions in the novel are inspired by Adams’s university life. The novel was UK’s 9th highest grosser in 1987.
The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (1988) – This was a sequel to Adams’s Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and is a fantasy detective novel. The book is based on the theological Dark Night of the Soul by Saint John of the Cross and the title was picked from a dialogue in Adams’s ‘Life, the Universe and Everything’ to describe the boredom of the character Bowerick Wowbagger, who becomes an immortal after an accident with “an irrational particle accelerator, a liquid lunch, and a pair of rubber bands”.
The Meaning of Liff (1983) – This book was co-written by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd. This is a very interesting book, that uses words that do not have current English usage to describe common feelings and objects( Toponymy). Few famous ones are – Shoeburyness (“The vague uncomfortable feeling you get when sitting on a seat that is still warm from somebody else’s bottom”) and Plymouth (“To relate an amusing story to someone without remembering that it was they who told it to you in the first place”). Description of the book in Michael Gartner’s words – “dictionary of things that there aren’t any words for yet”(15 March 1987) Words, Newsday.
Last Chance to See (1990) – this is a series of BBC radio documentary and book where Adams and Mark Carwardine travel to various parts of the world to in search of species on the verge of extinction including the rare species Kakapo and Baiji. Being an environmental activist he participated in campaigns for endangered species.
Doctor Who – This is recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest running science fiction in the world and a critical acclaim as the finest British television programmes. It won the British Academy Television Award for the Best Drama series in 2006 and further went on to win 5 consecutive awards at the National Television Awards between 2005 and 2010.
The Salmon of Doubt (2002)- This is a unfinished novel posthumously published exactly one year after his death. Famous for its inclusions from the incomplete novel Adams was working at the time of his death, it also contains essays on technology and life experiences.
Much is less when talking about Douglas Adams work the all-rounder and a thorough entertainer. Do you have any favorite character or episode from his writings or any of his TV series? Do share them here.