This year marks the 30th anniversary of the release of the classic Infocom text adventure based on "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."
To celebrate, BBC has put up a "spit and polish" refresh of the game, playable in your browser
. [more inside]
Today would have been Douglas Adams' 61st birthday. Google is celebrating with an elaborate doodle.
Neil Gaiman, who once wrote a companion book to the Hitchhiker's Guide, reminisces a little bit about the man here
. Worth reading, if you haven't read it before, is the old lament by Richard Dawkins
, a long-time friend of Adams. (Second thing on the page, not first; scroll down.)
BBC readers procrastinate
would have been 60
today. [more inside]
"In Life, there are many hundreds of common experiences, feelings, situations and even objects which we all know and recognize, but for which no words exist.
On the other hand, the world is littered with thousands of spare words which spend their time doing nothing but loafing about on signposts pointing at places.
Our job, as we see it, is to get these words down off the signposts and into the mouths of babes and sucklings and so on, where they can start earning their keep in everyday conversation and make a more positive contribution to society. " -- Douglas Adams
, on The Meaning of Liff
. And because it's Adams, there are some internet pages for your enjoyment. [more inside]
All the little angels rise up high
. The 25 of May is a day to celebrate two giants of British sci fi/fantasy and humor--Sir Terry Pratchett and the late Douglas Adams. Long may their work endure. [more inside]
Today's Guardian Review
is a science fiction
special [more inside]
The BBC plans to jettison
the Douglas Adams-founded H2G2
, but the H2G2 Community Consortium is trying to raise money to buy it back
Richard Henry has died.
"The bird was originally discovered in Fiordland in 1975 when kakapo were believed to be extinct. [...] Richard Henry played a vital role by offering genetic diversity to the breeding programme, which now numbers 121 birds"; Kakapo, memorably described
by Douglas Adams as the "world's largest, fattest and least-able-to-fly parrot", are not the only New Zealand bird brought back
from the brink (and Don Merton
features in many of their stories, as well as others farther abroad
). [more inside]
Halfway through the third book of the Hitchhiker's Guide
series, there is a throwaway reference
to a doomed starship, one whose incredible splendor was matched only by the cosmic absurdity of its maiden-day annihilation.
But the story didn't end there. Unbeknownst to many fans, this small piece of Adamsian lore was the inspiration for an ambitious and richly-detailed side-story: a 1998 computer adventure game called Starship Titanic
Designed by Douglas Adams himself, the game set players loose in the infamous vessel, challenging them with a maddening mystery laced with the devilish wit of the novels.
The game was laden with extra content, including an in-depth strategy guide
, a (mediocre) tie-in novel
by Terry Jones, a whimsical First Class In-Flight Magazine
, and even a pair of 3D glasses for one of the more inventive puzzles.
Key to solving these puzzles was the game's groundbreaking communications system -- players interacted with the ship's robotic crew
through a natural language parsing engine called SpookiTalk, whose 10,000+ lines of conversational dialogue spawned 16 hours of audio
recorded by professional voice actors, including John Cleese
, Terry Jones
, and even Douglas Adams himself in several cameos (spoiler cameo)
. Want to experience the voyage for yourself? Then watch this narrated video playthrough (intro (ads)
- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9? 10 11 12 13
) ...or click inside for a information on how to run the game for free on Windows, Mac, and Linux (along with a bunch of other goodies!). [more inside]
"Space is big
. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space. " -- Douglas Adams [more inside]
"We were like children with toy train sets. And that was part of the problem. It was such fun. Computing was not supposed to be fun." Stephen Fry
visits Apple headquarters to preview the iPad; the resulting article is a sprawl that touches on hero worship, product history, and Douglas Adams, "the first person in Britain to own a Macintosh computer." [more inside]
I like bagpipes
. And I'm not afraid to admit it. They can be traditional
, or cross-cultural
. They may have been around since ancient Rome
. It's the instrument everyone claims to hate, but who can really hate a good drone?
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was (originally) a radio series, broadcast on BBC Radio during March and April 1978. It was a success.
Since then it has spawned a 5-book trilogy
, additional radio broadcasts
, a television adaptation
, a computer game
, a comic book series
, a movie
, and at least one minor holiday.
However, subsequent releases of the original radio series were edited (in part for copyright reasons), and the original broadcasts have been unavailable, until now. A software engineer and H2G2 fan has now tracked down the recordings of the original broadcasts, analyzed the differences between them and the official CD releases, and provided patches and instructions to update the CD release to match the original broadcast. Not only that, but he has written software to automate the process.
'You are being shagged by a rare parrot'.
Stephen Fry and zoologist Mark Carwardine have been revisiting the animals on the edge of extinction which Douglas Adams described in Last Chance to See
. Here they make the acquaintance of an amorous kakapo
Toast always reminds me of the global division of labor.
A British artist inspired by Douglas Adams is attempting to make a toaster from scratch. Apparently this concept was also addressed before in an essay, "I, Pencil," by Leonard Read, a founder of a Libertarian think tank. Bottom line: Pencils and toasters are difficult for one person to make and using a microwave to smelt stuff for the toaster is apparently cheating.
It’s only natural that if you wish to present yourself as a well-read person, a certain degree of complete bullshit is required. There’s no shame in lying about what you’ve read. There’s only shame in getting caught. Then you look like a doofus, and an illiterate one at that... How to lie about books
The fourth part of a trilogy
of interviews with Douglas Adams before he got all famous. "I find the difference, for me, between having no money and having quite a bit is that the bills get bigger. And that's it. The lifestyle doesn't change." Well, he certainly didn't. And for that, much thanks.
"Lovely crinkly edges."
Third and final part of an excellent series of unpublished interviews with Douglas Adams, with the first Hitchhiker's book still to be complete and script editing on Dr Who taking up much of his time.
"Graham Chapman and I were commissioned by Ringo Starr, of all people, to write a one-hour US TV special for him. That was SF comedy."
Fantastic unpublished interview with Douglas Adams from 1979 just after the radio series of Hitchhiker's and before the books, the tv show, and everything else wonderful for which we remember him. Part 2 here
You whisper "Je t'aime", the machine says "I love you".
Carnegie Mellon offer the prospect of a real-time automatic face-mounted translation device.
"...the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything is..." "Yes? Yes!?" "...42."via Dyson, Montgomery, Princeton, a cup of tea - as presented by Seed Magazine.
Douglas Adams will soon be coming to the silver screen
). New concept art, casting info
, updated news
, as well as some background on the project has been diligently compiled
. A short trailer and some additional concept art can be found on the official movie site
New Hitchhiker's BBC radio series debuted today.
I managed to miss it but one can listen online starting Thursday. Previously discussed here
a part in the new Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy movie, by submitting to The Guide, a photograph of the place on Earth you think most deserves to survive the planet's inevitable destruction. Deadline: Friday 25 June 2004
A fairly reassuring self-interview
with Karey Kirkpatrick - the American (gasp!) screenwriter tasked with getting Douglas Adams' original script for "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
into filmable condition.
Here's hoping they don't screw it up...
How to make a cup of tea
A guide by the sorely missed Douglas Adams
which is part of his own creation, the now BBC owned H2G2
Buy Douglas Adams' tent
What I really want is his towel.
Stunned to see that a Tertiary Phase of the radio series of The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy
is going into production and everyone (apart from the obvious) is back for it. It'll be a dramatisation of the third novel Life, The Universe and Everything
. A fourth series covering everything else will follow. It's being produced by Dirk Maggs who's worked with Douglas Adams before and has rejected one my own radio scripts in the past. Not that I blame him. It was pretty awful. It's going to be odd not hearing Peter Jones as The Book, but his seat is being filled by William Franklyn
. I was hoping for Oliver Postgate
if anyone was going to do it. Anyone have a sample of how Mr. Franklyn's voice sounds?
douglas adams mp3 audio archive
... "The Douglas Adams media archive is presented here by the wi2600.org groups for your enjoyment. This allso is to serve as a tribute to Mr. Adams's great, but suddely shortened career. Those who have not heard his voice and those who know it well will both enjoy having this material available. We will miss him!"
has posted numerous unedited interviews recorded in the 1980's with famous authors, including Anthony Burgess
(who has some troubles recalling "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"
), Douglas Adams
, William S. Burroughs
, and many more... even Richard Nixon
Have you seen the episode of "Dr. Who"
written by the late Douglas Adams, that was done completely in Flash animation?
Final Hitchhiker's Novel Found: A Salmon of a Doubt
, the sixth novel in Douglas Adam's series, will be published next May upon Adam's death. But is this a serious effort from a man who was growing tired of the Hitchhiker's
series towards the end of his life or an easy way to cash in on Adams's death, V.C. Andrews-style?
Towel Day -- tribute to Douglas Adams
Here's an idea for those of you who want to show some sort of public sympathy for Douglas Adams. This site is proposing May 25th be "Towel Day" - carry a towel prominently and use it as a talking point for discussing Adams with people. I can't decide if this is lame or cool, so you tell me. (via FARK
A Lament for Douglas Adams
by his close friend, Richard Dawkins.
Douglas Adams dead?
The BBC has reported that the Author of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy has died of a heart attack age 49. I'm in shock...
The Second Reincarnation of the Final Grandson of Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged.
For those of us in constant search of universally meaningful insults, wowbagger delivers. The program is based on a character in Douglas Adams' "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", a character who, after an incident involving a time traveling machine and a piece of elastic band, became so pissed off at the universe that he sought to insult every creature in it, in alphabetical order.
The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy is now real
, and you can get it on your cell phone
Did anyone else realize that The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy really existed? I don't know that I'd describe that font as "Large, friendly letters", but it is, indubitably, on the front cover.