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#29000 - 05/12/01 03:42 PM A Sad Day
Sparteye Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/05/01
Posts: 1773
Douglas Adams, writer and knower of the meaning of life, died yesterday as the result of a heart attack. He was only 49.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Obit-Adams.html


Damn.


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#29001 - 05/12/01 06:50 PM Re: A Sad Day
Max Quordlepleen Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/12/00
Posts: 3409
I was shocked and upset when I heard this news, but knew better than to ask why. I am sure that, were it possible to ask him, his answer would be, "what do you get if multiply six by nine?" He was, as I am, a fan of the Arsenal Football Club, and I hope that the team's poor performance in the FA Cup was not responsible for bringing on the heart attack.
Thanks for all the fun, Douglas, and so long.


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#29002 - 05/12/01 07:15 PM Re: A Sad Day
wow Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/25/00
Posts: 3439
Loc: New England, USA
Sad day indeed.
Dear man. Wonderful stories.
So long, Doug. Hope to see you at the cafe at the end of the universe.


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#29003 - 05/12/01 10:58 PM Re: A Sad Day
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10508
Loc: this too shall pass
the Encylopedia of Science Fiction ('93) entry for Adams says that his last published work was "Mostly Harmless" in 1992. What had he done since then?


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#29004 - 05/12/01 11:42 PM Re: A Sad Day
wordcrazy Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 01/26/01
Posts: 275
Sparteye>>

Douglas Adams, writer and knower of the meaning of life, died yesterday as the result of a heart attack. He was only 49.

I have not read any Douglas Adams. It is a long story, but I am at least 20 years behind in my reading list.
I commiserate with the feeling of sadness you feel.
Will it hurt if I ask you to please give me a quote of your most favorite paragraphs from his ouevre?
Also, my husband is very interested in astronomy. Will he appreciate a copy of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" for his birthday which is coming soon?

chronist

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#29005 - 05/13/01 12:12 AM Re: A Sad Day
Max Quordlepleen Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/12/00
Posts: 3409
What had he done since then?

He had been working to arrange a movie of HHG, as well as setting up http://www.h2g2.com a sort of online Guide. He was also involved in creating a computer game, The Starship Titanic, and was involved in conservation efforts related to Last Chance To See


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#29006 - 05/13/01 12:18 AM Re: A Sad Day
Sparteye Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/05/01
Posts: 1773
Will it hurt if I ask you to please give me a quote of your most favorite paragraphs from his ouevre?

The only thing it would hurt would be my copyright liability, since I'd have to quote the entire Hitchhiker series. My favorite concept was his creation of a method of faster-than-light travel through the use of restaurant mathematics: you know, the mathematics of dividing a restaurant check among the people at the table which defies all existing laws of science, nature and man.

Also, my husband is very interested in astronomy. Will he appreciate a copy of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" for his birthday which is coming soon?

Hitchhiker is best appreciated by someone who has read some other SF first, since a lot of what Adams did parodies SF writing conventions. Still, I know people who have read Hitchhiker as an early foray into the SF genre, and they have enjoyed it quite well. And, since your husband is an astronomer, I'm thinking that many of the concepts in the books would have him rolling on the floor. Get it for him, and then you can read it!


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#29007 - 05/13/01 12:39 AM Re: A Sad Day
Max Quordlepleen Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/12/00
Posts: 3409

Will it hurt if I ask you to please give me a quote of your most favorite paragraphs from his ouevre?


I am sorry. I have just been browsing through my Guide files, but have reached the same conclusion as Sparteye. I would have to paste all of them, at least all of the first four books of the trilogy. One of the many gems I admire is his description of Vogon spaceships as, "hanging in mid-air in much the same way bricks don't" - to me, a wonderfully evocative phrase. I am not a particularly piratical person, but I do have the entire radio series on my hard drive in RealMedia format, and would happily pass them on to anyone who wants to listen to them.


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#29008 - 05/13/01 01:53 AM Re: A Sad Day
Capital Kiwi Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/13/00
Posts: 3146
Loc: Northamptonshire, England
It's a sad day, indeed. Especially since he was only a year older than me. All of a sudden, I feel my mortality a little more sharply. Then I bethink me of Bill Hunt ...

tsuwm asks what Douglas Adams had written recently. The answer is at best amorphous, and I refer you to:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-url/index=books&field-author=Adams, Douglas/102-3433212-8346539

as being the best demi-answer I can come up with.

With all the will in the world, I have to say I regard Douglas Adams as a one-hit wonder to some extent, as was Frank Herbert with the Dune series. HHGTTG was an idea first and foremost, one of the few truly new ones to emerge in the genre for many years. And it caught the popular imagination through the radio series, the TV series and the books themselves.

Adams was one of the first authors to use science fiction as the basis for hilarious comedy about current issues, rather than the other way round. He dealt with it brilliantly. And it is very British humour. Even in Zild, there are people who just don't get the joke.

And no one has done it better since.

The series (six books in the trilogy) are probably more widely known than any other similar type of book. Once when I was giving a reasonably important presentation to a client's management team and the video projector failed to start, I muttered "Must have been built by the Syrius Cybernetics Corporation." as I struggled with the damned thing. Nearly everyone in the room laughed - they all knew what I meant.

I don't think I can come up with a "favourite" passage, Wordcrazy. There are so many. But I guess if I had to pick one, it'd be the HHGTTG's explanation of the Babel Fish and logic, which goes:


'The Babel fish,' said The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy quietly, 'is small, yellow and leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the Universe. It feeds on brainwave energy received not from its own carrier but from those around it. It absorbs all unconscious mental frequencies from this brainwave energy to nourish itself with. It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix formed by combining the conscious thought frequencies with nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain which has supplied them. The practical upshot of all this is that if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language. The speech patterms you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.

'Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as final and clinching proof of the
non-existence of God.

'The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."

' "But," says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED."

' "Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly disappears in a puff of logic.

' "Oh, that was easy," says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.

'Most theologians claim that this argument is a load of dingo's kidneys, but that didn't stop Oolon Colluphid making a small fortune when he used it as the central theme of his best-selling book
Well That About Wraps It Up For God.

'Meanwhile, the poor Babel fish, by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different races and cultures, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.'


The world will be a poorer place without the creator of such household names as Zaphod Beeblebrox, Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Slartibartfast, the Improbability Drive, Marvin the Paranoid Android, the Encyclopaedia Galactica, and, of course, the fictional Max Quordlepleen. May where he's gone be as funny as the worlds of his imagination!


_________________________
The idiot also known as Capfka ...

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#29009 - 05/13/01 02:57 AM Re: A Sad Day
Max Quordlepleen Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/12/00
Posts: 3409
But I guess if I had to pick one, it'd be the HHGTTG's explanation of the Babel Fish and logic, which goes:

And the weirdness continues unabated. When looking for my "favourite" passage, I went first to that very same section, and only decided against it because of its length. Synaptic synchronicity, very hoopy.
I was somewhat surprised to find that altavista's Babelfish translation site makes no reference to the passing of the one who gave it its name.


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