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Douglas Adams - The Hitchhiker's Guide and the Legacy

Douglas Adams - The Hitchhiker's Guide and his Legacy

by Bindu Bala

Loved in this line said by Douglas-

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”

Douglas Noel Adams (11 March 1952 – 11 May 2001) was an English author, screenwriter, essayist, humorist, satirist, and dramatist.

Adams was born on 11 March 1952 to Janet and Christopher Douglas Adams in Cambridge. Mr. Adams' family moved to East End of London after few months of his birth wherein after three years his sister was born and named Susan.

Later on, his parents separated in 1957; Douglas, Susan and their mother moved to animal shelter which was run by his maternal grandparents.

Adams had appeared at Primrose Hill Primary School located in Brentwood. At the age of nine, he passed the entrance exam for Brentwood School. Then, he attended the prep school from 1959 to 1964, later on for the main school until December 1970.

Douglas Adams - The Hitchhiker's Guide and the Legacy

Douglas' height was more than 6 feet which made him feel awkward sometimes. His writing capabilities made him famous in the school. Therefore, he became the only student who was awarded by cent percent by Halford for his creative writing, which made him so delighted which he has recollected rest of his life predominantly while going through the writer’s block.

Adams had wrote The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which was originated in 1978 as a BBC radio comedy before developing into a "trilogy" of five books and successfully sold more than 15 million copies in his lifetime. It also generated a television series, various stage plays, comics and along with a video game, and in 2005, a feature film.

Additionally, Adams' contribution to UK radio is memorialized in The Radio Academy's Hall of Fame.

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be

Famous work:

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy -

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was a notion for a science-fiction comedy radio series inclined by Adams and radio producer Simon Brett to BBC Radio 4 in 1977.

Adams came up with a skeleton for a first episode as well as a few other stories (reprinted in Neil Gaiman's book Don't Panic: The Official Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Companion) that could be used in the series.

As per Adams, the idea for the title appeared to him while he lay drunk in a turf in Innsbruck, Austria, looking at the stars. Then he was carrying a copy of the Hitch-hiker's Guide to Europe, and it happened to him that "somebody ought to write a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy -

In May 2002, The Salmon of Doubt was printed, comprising various brief stories, essays, and letters, as well as adorations from Richard Dawkins, Stephen Fry (in the UK edition), Christopher Cerf (in the US edition), and Terry Jones (in the US paperback edition). It also includes eleven chapters of his unfinished novel, The Salmon of Doubt, which was originally envisioned to become a new Dirk Gently novel but ended up becoming the sixth Hitchhiker novel.

In 1979, Adams and John Lloyd wrote handwritings for two half-hour incidents of Doctor Snuggles: "The Remarkable Fidgety River" and "The Great Disappearing Mystery" (episodes eight and twelve). John Lloyd was also the co-author of two episodes from the original Hitchhiker radio series ("Fit the Fifth" and "Fit the Sixth", also known as "Episode Five" and "Episode Six"), as well as The Meaning of Liff and The Deeper Meaning of Liff.

Adams sent the script for the HHGG pilot radio programmer to the Doctor Who production office in 1978 and was custom-made to write The Pirate Planet. He had also beforehand endeavored to submit a potential film script, called Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen, which later became his novel Life, the Universe, and Everything (which in turn became the third Hitchhiker's Guide radio series). Adams then went on to aid as script editor on the demonstration for its seventeenth season in 1979. Altogether, he wrote three Doctor Who serials starring Tom Baker as the Doctor:

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")


Two days prior to Adams’ death, the Minor Planet Center proclaimed the naming of asteroid 18610 Arthurdent. In 2005, the asteroid 25924 Douglasadams was named in his memory.

Adams died due to heart attack caused by an undiagnosed coronary artery disease on 11 May 2001, aged 49, after resting from his regular workout at a private gym in Montecito, California. His funeral was detained on 16 May in Santa Barbara. His ashes were positioned in Highgate Cemetery in north London in June 2002. A memorial facility was held on 17 September 2001 at St Martin-in-the-Fields church, Trafalgar Square, London. This became the first church service broadcast live on the web by the BBC.

Douglas Adams

On 25 May 2001, two weeks after Adams' death, his fans organized a tribute known as Towel Day, which has been observed every year since then.

- Bindu Bala

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