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Hitchhiker: A Biography of Douglas Adams
     

Hitchhiker: A Biography of Douglas Adams

by M. J. Simpson
 

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Douglas Adams was a driven and gifted polymath who cut a colorful swath in radio, a television, live theater, comic books, computer games, CD-ROM, and the Internet before dying tragically in 2001 at 49. M.J. Simpson has produced a rich, revealing chronicle of one of the most wildly creative minds of our time.

Overview

Douglas Adams was a driven and gifted polymath who cut a colorful swath in radio, a television, live theater, comic books, computer games, CD-ROM, and the Internet before dying tragically in 2001 at 49. M.J. Simpson has produced a rich, revealing chronicle of one of the most wildly creative minds of our time.

Editorial Reviews

The New Yorker
Douglas Adams, the author of the satiric sci-fi classic “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” emerges in this biography as an epic procrastinator who, at the time of his death, in 2001, when he was forty-nine, had been working (or not) on his final novel for nearly a decade. A lover of Apple computers and left-handed guitars, Adams began his career writing radio shows for the BBC, and episodes of his life read like comedy sketches; he once put off work on a novel by producing a script for a documentary about his inability to finish a novel. Simpson scrupulously uncovers Adams’s inspirations, from “Doctor Who” to a pretentious college roommate who wrote “awful poetry about swans,” and, in homage to his subject, he divides the book into forty-two chapters—a number that “Hitchhiker” devotees will recognize as Adams’s answer to the meaning of “life, the universe, and everything.”
Publishers Weekly
Longtime Douglas Adams devotee Simpson has penned his second book on the subject (he also wrote The Pocket Essential Hitchhikers Guide, released in the U.K. in 2001). An engaging yet straightforward portrait of the phenomenally successful writer of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (and its series of spinoff books and radio plays), the book is informed by interviews with many of Adams's close friends and associates (Adams died in 2001 at age 49). Simpson weaves a tale that meanders from Adams's school days and university nights to his work as a scriptwriter for the BBC, through his years as a frustrated novelist and, later, to what Gaiman, in his foreword, calls his career as "a Futurologist, or an Explainer, or something." Simpson, a cofounder of the British sci-fi magazine SFX, does an able job of pulling out revelatory bits, sketching a portrait of Adams as a genius procrastinator, an inventive guardian of his creative efforts and a restless experimenter, always easily distracted from completing a current project by the promise of projects not yet explored. Among the book's more compelling aspects is Simpson's discovery of a large volume of unexplained exaggerations in Adams's recollection of the events in his life, evidence of both the unreliability of memory and Adams's inability to refrain from spinning good yarns, even when they were about himself. It's both a must-have for serious Adams fans and a neat companion volume to Gaiman's more playful 1987 guide to The Hitchhiker's Guide, Don't Panic. Agent, Andrew Lownie. (Nov.) FYI: Titan Books is publishing an updated edition of Neil Gaiman's Don't Panic: Douglas Adams & the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy this month ($21.95 ISBN 1-84023-742-2). Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781932112351
Publisher:
Justin, Charles & Co.
Publication date:
06/15/2005
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
5.82(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.01(d)

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