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You wake up. The room is spinning very gently round your head.

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]
posted by jbickers on Mar 10, 2014 - 82 comments

Don't panic.

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.)
posted by Rory Marinich on Mar 11, 2013 - 99 comments

"A client sent me a cheque for £6,000. I lost it. I always intended to ask them to issue another but never got round to it."

BBC readers procrastinate.
posted by Chrysostom on Aug 30, 2012 - 17 comments

Mostly Harmless

Douglas Adams would have been 60 today. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Mar 11, 2012 - 67 comments

LIFF (n.) A book, the contents of which are totally belied by its cover.

"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]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 1, 2011 - 18 comments

The Glorious 25th of May: Do you know where your lilac towel is?

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]
posted by MonkeyToes on May 25, 2011 - 36 comments

skiffy

Today's Guardian Review is a science fiction special [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on May 14, 2011 - 89 comments

42?

'"Is there an answer?": Searching for the meaning of life in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' by Julia Galef.
posted by hydatius on May 11, 2011 - 36 comments

Panic!

The BBC plans to jettison the Douglas Adams-founded H2G2, but the H2G2 Community Consortium is trying to raise money to buy it back.
posted by rhiannonstone on Jan 25, 2011 - 30 comments

...leaving behind a small scratched depression in the earth and a single, elderly untouched sweet potato.

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]
posted by rodgerd on Jan 12, 2011 - 27 comments

The Post That Cannot Possibly Go Wrong

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]
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 22, 2010 - 109 comments

That's a big number

"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]
posted by SpacemanStix on Dec 2, 2010 - 73 comments

Mothership

"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]
posted by Rory Marinich on Apr 1, 2010 - 480 comments

It was, after all, merely an album of bagpipe music.

I like bagpipes. And I'm not afraid to admit it. They can be traditional, rock, 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?
posted by rusty on Mar 17, 2010 - 81 comments

Do you realize that robot can hum like Pink Floyd?

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.
posted by fogovonslack on Oct 25, 2009 - 30 comments

Kakapo Love

'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.
posted by homunculus on Oct 1, 2009 - 29 comments

Make a toaster from scratch

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.
posted by ShadePlant on Jun 25, 2009 - 40 comments

...I didn't actually read the link...

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.
posted by Artw on May 28, 2009 - 73 comments

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

From the Infocom treasure trove: Milliway's, the unreleased sequel to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
posted by matthewr on Apr 18, 2008 - 43 comments

The fourth part of three

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.
posted by humuhumu on Jun 1, 2007 - 11 comments

That was one of mine. It won an award, you know.

"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.
posted by humuhumu on May 1, 2007 - 6 comments

douglas adams and ringo starr walk into a bar...

"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.
posted by humuhumu on Apr 3, 2007 - 5 comments

Hitchhikers Guide to the Web

Prescient documentary about the web on the web (Google Vid) (synopsis here). Douglas Adams (of Hitchhiker fame) anticipates t’ internet. He was a funny writer in love with deadlines; he loved the whooshing noise they make when they go past. He was a farsighted chap and creator of the word and concept of babelfish amongst many other adopted cultural references.
posted by Gratishades on Dec 10, 2006 - 14 comments

More of a Babel facehugger than a Babel fish

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.
posted by imperium on Oct 27, 2006 - 21 comments

...almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

"...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.
posted by loquacious on Mar 28, 2006 - 41 comments

Forty-two.

Douglas Adams will soon be coming to the silver screen (again). 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.
posted by rooftop secrets on Dec 25, 2004 - 81 comments

Hoopy!

New Hitchhiker's BBC radio series debuted today. I managed to miss it but one can listen online starting Thursday. Previously discussed here.
posted by CunningLinguist on Sep 21, 2004 - 15 comments

SlartybartFAST!

Win 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.
posted by Blue Stone on Jun 24, 2004 - 15 comments

Trailer for The Tertiary Phase of H2G2

The trailer for The broadcast of The Tertiary Phase of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (by Douglas Adams). It doesn't just sound great, it doesn't just sound amazing, it sounds amazingly amazing! [via]
posted by feelinglistless on Jun 21, 2004 - 33 comments

HHGG Screenwriter Self-Interview

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...
posted by GriffX on Jun 3, 2004 - 39 comments

Cup of tea?

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.
posted by Mwongozi on Jun 2, 2004 - 20 comments

Buy Douglas Adams' tent

Buy Douglas Adams' tent What I really want is his towel.
posted by feelinglistless on Apr 27, 2004 - 16 comments

And, well, everything ...

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?
posted by feelinglistless on Nov 4, 2003 - 13 comments

douglas adams in mp3

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!"
posted by crunchland on Jul 24, 2003 - 16 comments

Authors au naturel

Don Swaim 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. (RealAudio)
posted by starkeffect on Jun 27, 2003 - 6 comments

Good 'ol Dr. Who

Have you seen the episode of "Dr. Who" written by the late Douglas Adams, that was done completely in Flash animation?
posted by GriffX on May 21, 2003 - 7 comments

The TARDIS hung there in space, exactly as a brick wouldnt.

Dr. Who Shada Episode by Douglas Adams Flash or Real Player
posted by blue_beetle on May 3, 2003 - 28 comments

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?
posted by ed on Nov 19, 2001 - 19 comments

Towel Day -- tribute to Douglas Adams

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)
posted by briank on May 16, 2001 - 30 comments

A Lament for Douglas Adams

A Lament for Douglas Adams by his close friend, Richard Dawkins.
posted by Jongo on May 14, 2001 - 11 comments

Douglas Adams dead?

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...
posted by LMG on May 12, 2001 - 84 comments

The Second Reincarnation of the Final Grandson of Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged.

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.
posted by samsara on Mar 15, 2001 - 5 comments

42!

42! The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy is now real, and you can get it on your cell phone.
posted by owillis on Jun 12, 2000 - 6 comments

Don't Panic!

Don't Panic! 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.
posted by baylink on May 19, 2000 - 6 comments

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