Douglas Adams was born in Cambridge, England on 11 March 1952. He attended the University of Cambridge, graduating with a B.A. in English literature. After leaving university, he went on to write for several television shows including Doctor Who and Monty Python. Adams is also known to have been employed in a series of odd jobs because of difficulty he had getting work as a writer.
However, he is undoubtedly best known for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Hitchhiker’s Guide began as a radio series on BBC Radio 4 in 1978. Since then it has been novelised by Adams, as part of a ‘trilogy in five parts’. Other adaptations of the series include a TV show, video game, comic book series and feature film. Adams also wrote the Dirk Gently series of novels. Douglas Adams died of a heart attack on 11 May 2001.
- Adams was an outspoken atheist. He claimed to have been coverted to atheism (so to speak) by Richard Dawkins' 'The Blind Watchmaker'. In this book Dawkins sets out to contradict William Paley's argument that certain aspects of nature are too complex to have arisen through evolution.
- Adams was an environmental activist and became known for his concern about endangered species through the Radio series and book: 'Last Chance to See'.
- Adams was also known as en early adopter of computers and technology in general. He was even the first person in the U.K to purchase a Mac.
- Adams' strange signature led to him being nicknamed Bop Ad by many fans.
Books by Douglas Adams
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is a series of humorous Science-Fiction novels. The books follow the life of Arthur Dent, an unremarkable Englishman who finds himself swept up in a convoluted plot of time travel and dizzying shifts in perspective. A sxith novel (And Another Thing...) has since been written by Eoin Colfer, an Irish writer whose previous work includes the Artemis Fowl series of children's novels.
- The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (1979)
- The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (1980)
- Life, the Universe and Everything (1982)
- So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish (1984)
- Mostly Harmless (1992)
- And Another Thing... (2009) (Written by Eoin Colfer)
Dirk Gently series
Dirk Gently is a holistic detective. The first two books in the series follow Dirk's unfortunate involvement in saving the world through the use of his remarkable intelligence and ability to guess with extreme accuracy. The third book, 'Salmon of Doubt' is an incomplete manuscript written by Adams sometime before his death. These books are similar in tone to the Hitchhikers Guide books, and arguably, though deliberately, more convoluted.
- Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (1987)
- The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (1988)
- The Salmon of Doubt (2002)
The Meaning of Liff
'The Meaning of Liff' is a humorous dictionary of invented terms, assigned to feelings and objects 'that there aren't any words for yet'. The book was co-written by John Lloyd, another British comedy writer. A follow up, titled 'The Deeper Meaning of Liff', was released several years later. This new book featured all the content of the original, as well as many new definitions.
- The Meaning of Liff (1983, co-written by John Lloyd)
- The Deeper Meaning of Liff (1990, co-written by John Lloyd)
Last Chance to See
'Last Chance to See' chronicles the adventures of Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine, a zoologist and author, as they attempt to catch a glimpse of some of the world's most endangered species. The species searched for by Adams were the aye-aye of Madagascar, the Komodo Dragon Lizard of Komodo, Northern White Rhinoceroses of Zaiire, the Kakapo of New Zealand, the Baiji River Dolphins of China and several rare species of Mauritian bird. Last Chance to See became a television show in 2009, featuring Stephen Fry in place of Adams. In this new show, the pair returned to see how the species looked for originally were surviving, twenty years on.
- Last Chance to See (1990, co-written by Mark Carwardine)