Fwd: So Long, And Thanks for all the Fish...

From: Wade T.Smith (wade_smith@harvard.edu)
Date: Sun May 13 2001 - 04:51:48 BST

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    - Wade

    ---------------- Begin Forwarded Message ----------------

    May 12, 2001

    Douglas Adams, Author of 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,' Dies at 49


    LOS ANGELES -- Douglas Adams, whose cult science fiction comedy ``The
    Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'' drew millions of fans and spawned a
    mini-industry, has died at age 49.

    The British-born Adams died Friday of an apparent heart attack in Santa
    Barbara, Calif., a family friend, Elizabeth Gibson, said Saturday. She
    said Adams collapsed while working out at a gym.

    ``He was not ill,'' Gibson said. ``This was completely unexpected.''

    The ``Hitchhiker's Guide,'' which began as a British Broadcasting Corp.
    radio series in 1978, is a satirical adventure about a group of
    interplanetary travelers; it opens with the Earth being destroyed to make
    way for an intergalactic highway.

    It was turned into a book, which sold 14 million copies around the world,
    and later into a television series.

    The book was followed by several sequels, including ``The Restaurant at
    the End of the Universe,'' ``Life, the Universe and Everything'' and ``So
    Long, and Thanks For All the Fish.''

    The books blended satire, memorably named characters such as Zaphod
    Beeblebrox and Marvin the Paranoid Android, and witty philosophy, at one
    point supplying the answer to ``the ultimate question of life, the
    universe and everything.'' The answer was 42.

    Adams later recalled how he first thought of the book during a teen-age
    trip around Europe.

    ``I was hitchhiking around Europe in 1971, when I was 18, with this copy
    of 'A Hitchhiker's Guide to Europe,''' he said.

    ``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.''

    Geoffrey Perkins, the BBC's head of comedy, called Adams ``absolutely one
    of the most creative geniuses to ever work in radio comedy.''

    ``He probably wrote one of the greatest radio comedy series ever,
    certainly the most imaginative,'' he added.

    Born in Cambridge, England, in 1952 and educated at Cambridge University,
    Adams began his career as a writer and script editor at the BBC.

    He followed the ``Hitchhiker's Guide'' with several books about
    ``holistic detective'' Dirk Gently; ``Last Chance to See,'' a book about
    endangered species; and, with John Lloyd, the hilarious alternative
    dictionary ``The Meaning of Liff.''

    He also founded a multimedia company, Digital Village, which produced the
    ``Starship Titanic'' computer game and an online travel guide inspired by
    the ``Hitchhiker's Guide.''

    A frequent radio broadcaster on science and technology, Adams had been
    working for several years on a screenplay for an oft-delayed
    ``Hitchhiker's Guide'' movie.

    In August 1996, he told a technology conference in New Orleans that the
    main problem in adapting the series for film was not special effects.

    ``It's the nature of the story, which is picaresque, which translates to
    one damn thing after another, and another, and another.

    ``It's very hard to translate that to a 100-minute feature film,'' he
    said. ``Every script has a beginning and a middle and an end.''

    Adams married Jane Belson, a lawyer, in 1991. The couple, who had lived
    in Santa Barbara since 1999, had a 6-year-old daughter, Polly. Adams is
    also survived by his mother, Jan Thrift of England.


    Associated Press Writer Jill Lawless, in London, contributed to this

    Copyright 2001 The Associated Press

    ----------------- End Forwarded Message -----------------

    This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
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