Happy 60th Birthday, Douglas Adams

On this day, sixty years ago, an intelligent, insightful and hilarious mind was born, bubbling away inside a tiny baby named Douglas Noel Adams. He would go on to become famous for writing a radio series, book series, television series and a movie all based on The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, as well as other books, articles, essays, an involvement with endangered animals, a love for technology, and so much more, only to be stolen away from us just under eleven years ago, at the age of forty-nine. And ever since, he has been sorely missed by many people all over the world.

If you’ve never read, heard or seen any of this man’s work, I strongly recommend you do so as soon as possible. His books are of course the best place to start, and consist of 5 books in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, as well as two books in his Dirk Gently series, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, and The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, not to mention several others, including The Salmon of Doubt, a collection of essays and articles, plus the chapters of the novel he was working on when he passed away.

On a first glance, his stories seem quirky, bizarre, funny and rather silly. But upon subsequent and more detailed readings, it becomes clear that these stories were the product of a sharp, analytical mind, someone who looked at life and society with a fascination, curiosity and optimism which is often lacking in the world views of other writers. Interestingly enough, Douglas Adams didn’t particularly enjoy writing, due to his perfectionist nature, and yet he persisted and produced some amazing writing, which has been loved by many the world over. For me personally, his books are some of the only books I have reread several times, and which always remind me of why I read and why I write so much – his work, simply put, inspires me.

I guess then, the best way to end this short blog is with a quote. Rest in peace Douglas Adams, the world still misses you all these years later.

“There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.”

12 thoughts on “Happy 60th Birthday, Douglas Adams

  1. The only problem, yes problem and only, with your blog is that you inspire me to read too many books. I am surprised sometimes by the books that I haven’t read – it’s almost like I already hold them with such regard that I am afraid to ruin it. That is a shame, and will not stand!

    Fantastic post: I really liked these two sentences –
    “On a first glance, his stories seem quirky, bizarre, funny and rather silly. But upon subsequent and more detail readings, it becomes clear that these stories were the product of a sharp, analytical mind, someone who looked at life and society with a fascination, curiosity and optimism which is often lacking in the world views of other writers.”

    • Hahaha, well I suppose that’s a good thing then! (Don’t worry, I have discovered so many books through other people’s blogs too, so I’m much in the same boat).
      I know what you mean though about books you haven’t read – I often do that. I’m worried that I’ll read those books and not be as impressed as everybody else is, or as much as I would expect to be, and so I avoid them. But when I do read them I realise how great they are, and how silly I am. Now I think my biggest problem is simply owning too many amazing books I haven’t yet read – it is just going to take a while to plod through them all.
      Thank you for your kind words, too! The support is always much appreciated! 🙂

  2. There is much about the man behind ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide’ I did not know. Thanks for enlightening me. I have enjoyed the series but have not had the opportunity to read his other work. I shall attempt to make the time to rectify that situation. 🙂

    • He really was quite a fascinating man. Quite a lot of his personal life appears in various places in The Salmon of Doubt book, and Douglas Adams is mentioned quite a bit in some of Stephen Fry’s memoirs (about Fry), as the pair were quite close friends for many years. All that met him said that there was nobody quite like him, nobody with quite the same way of thinking or looking at the world.
      Ahh, it is definitely worth reading what little other work we do have of his – the two Dirk Gently books are both hilarious, and quite different from the Hitchhiker’s series, but still very much Adams. 🙂

  3. Well said, sir. My first encounter with the brilliance of Douglas Adams was on my way to Las Vegas. My boyfriend had Dirk Gently on his ipod, and we kept having to pull off the freeway because we were laughing too hard to drive safely.

    • Hahahah, that is funny! I have the radio series of Hitchhiker’s I still need to listen to, I was thinking of listening to it in the car on my way to work, but maybe I shouldn’t for fear of crashing by laughter. 😛
      It is very funny though, isn’t it? I just love the character of Dirk Gently – there is a perfect description of him in The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul, near the start, which describes him waking up slowly under his blankets by smoking, and how the smoke puffs out of the blankets, and it is just hilarious. If only there could have been more stories about him…

  4. I first read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in high school, and I really enjoyed them. The quote in the picture was actually what hooked me back then! Very fun books 🙂

    • Hahaha, yeah I heard that quote before I read the books too, and thought “I need to read these books!” They are great books, and still make me laugh no matter how many times I read them. 🙂

  5. Great tribute! Enjoyed reading about the man behind the Hitchhiker books. Haven’t read them and now I feel I must! The quotes are amazing…he’s certainly my kind of author 🙂

  6. I had no idea he would have just turned 60. Really brings home to you how young he was when he died. Glad to see we share the same opinion of his work though! 🙂

    • Yeah I know, he should have had decades left! It’s very sad.
      You’re an Adams fan as well though? That is always a good thing, I love finding others who are fans of his work! Very few writers can make me laugh like Douglas Adams can. 🙂

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