Cover image for Hitchhiker : a biography of Douglas Adams
Hitchhiker : a biography of Douglas Adams
Simpson, M. J.
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Justin, Charles & Co., [2003]

Physical Description:
xxv, 406 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates ; 25 cm
Personal Subject:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR6051.D3352 Z87 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PR6051.D3352 Z87 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Don't panic, Pack your towel, pour yourself a pangalactic gargle blaster, and take off on a wild, no-holds-barred tour of the life and career of Douglas Adams, creator of the phenomenally successful Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

A seemingly typical graduate of the Oxbridge comedian-breeding ground, Adams was clever, funny, and interested in all sorts of things, from endangered animals to the better sorts of champagne. Admiringohn Cleese, Adams determined to be a writer-performer in the Monty Python mode but realized primarily the writing part of his aspiration. From sketches and music for the venerable Cambridge Footlights troupe, Adams went to BBC Radio, the wildly popular Dr. Who, and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio series featuring the bemused Arthur Dent, some dreadful alien poets, and the android Marvin. A master procrastinator, Adams would postpone by accepting further commissions and going off to research them until he was forced to hole up and write furiously under the vigilant eyes of publisher, agent, or wife. He had an ever-ready stack of ripping yarns about his life and work, but Simpson, though a huge admirer, firmly points out discrepancies between Adams' versions and actual events, allowing fans glimpses into Adams' life that the intensely private writer wouldn't. In his brief life, Adams managed to work or party with everyone he admired, from Pink Floyd to Paul McCartney; remained friends with those whose deadlines he blithely ignored; and succeeded in almost every medium he tackled. A biography that will entertain die-hard fans and those who've never cracked a Hitchhiker book alike. --Roberta Johnson Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Longtime Douglas Adams devotee Simpson has penned his second book on the subject (he also wrote The Pocket Essential Hitchhikers Guide, released in the U.K. in 2001). An engaging yet straightforward portrait of the phenomenally successful writer of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (and its series of spinoff books and radio plays), the book is informed by interviews with many of Adams's close friends and associates (Adams died in 2001 at age 49). Simpson weaves a tale that meanders from Adams's school days and university nights to his work as a scriptwriter for the BBC, through his years as a frustrated novelist and, later, to what Gaiman, in his foreword, calls his career as "a Futurologist, or an Explainer, or something." Simpson, a cofounder of the British sci-fi magazine SFX, does an able job of pulling out revelatory bits, sketching a portrait of Adams as a genius procrastinator, an inventive guardian of his creative efforts and a restless experimenter, always easily distracted from completing a current project by the promise of projects not yet explored. Among the book's more compelling aspects is Simpson's discovery of a large volume of unexplained exaggerations in Adams's recollection of the events in his life, evidence of both the unreliability of memory and Adams's inability to refrain from spinning good yarns, even when they were about himself. It's both a must-have for serious Adams fans and a neat companion volume to Gaiman's more playful 1987 guide to The Hitchhiker's Guide, Don't Panic. Agent, Andrew Lownie. (Nov.) FYI: Titan Books is publishing an updated edition of Neil Gaiman's Don't Panic: Douglas Adams & the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy this month ($21.95 ISBN 1-84023-742-2). (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved