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SUN 29 APR 2001: Put Your Money Where Your Goal Mouth Is

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It seems that author Doug Adams, best known for The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, has kicked the bucket. Adams wrote other stuff too, but it's little known. Try this experiment: Ask people who Dirk Gently is, and see how many of them actually say something coherent. The number will probably be small. Then try the same thing with Zaphod Beeblebrox. Again, only a few people will say something coherent, but a few of the incoherent people might say things that seem to involve the phrase "cool frood".

Anyway, regardless of how he came to be famous, he can no longer take advantage of it. His death on FRI 11 MAY 2001 of a heart attack came as the BBC's biggest surprise since the death of Graham Chapman just before the twentieth anniversary of Monty Python's Flying Circus in 1989.

But Douglas didn't spend all his time on things that had "Hitch Hiker's" in the title. For example, he put together a site called h2g2, which allows people everywhere to send in commentary about whatever they want. He also prepared a brief series for BBC Radio Four called Hitchhiker's Guide to the Future about how technology will affect our lives in years to come. Fortunately, the last programme of the series aired a week ago, just in time.

His other show on Radio Four was called - take a wild guess - The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which actually preceded the book. It aired many, many years ago, at roughly the time a B Ark departed from Golgafrincham. At that time, Doug threw in a one off joke about a guy who has two heads, which then became a problem when the programme migrated to BBC TV. It turns out that the other head was supposed to be mechanised, but it broke and didn't really do anything the whole series. Go figure.

Effectively, all this was an excuse for Doug to go off on tangents. He liked saying silly things, and why should that have to suffer in the name of a plot line, continuity, or some other nonsense? He also liked baths, especially as deadlines approached.

His company, The Digital Village, doesn't exist anymore, according to http://www.douglasadams.com/. But when it did, it put out a game, Starship Titanic, that was reportedly almost as funny as Hitch Hiker's.

Most recently, he was working on a computer game based upon Hitch Hiker's. Yes, another one. Since the first game in the mid 1980s, great advances have been made in computer technology. For example, colors and graphics have been invented. The game, due out in a little bit, is reportedly a first person "towel-em-up" game vaguely unlike Quake.

There's also a film version of Hitch Hiker's in the works with Disney. Rumours abound as to whom will be cast as Arthur Dent. Hugh Laurie? Jim Carrey? Bruce Willis?!

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