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Hitchhiker: A Biography of Douglas Adamsby M. J. Simpson
Synopses & Reviews
Pack your towel, pour yourself a pan-galactic 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 Hithhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Here are the facts behind the myths of one of the 20th century's most endearing and enduring works of fantasy and humor. Did Douglas Adams really come up with the title The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy while lying (possibly stoned, possibly with a girl; possibly not) in a starry field in Switzerland, as he variously claimed? Who were the real-life models for Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ford Prefect, the lovely Trillian, and everyman Arthur Dent? And why has Hollywood kept dragging its heels on making the Hitchhiker's movie for over twenty years?
The Hitchhiker's novels were all major bestsellers in the United States and throughout the world. But there was much more to Douglas Adams than Hitchhiker. He was a driven and gifted polymath who cut a colorful swath in radio, television, live theater, comic books, computer games, CD-ROM, and the Internet before dying tragically in 2001, at age forty-nine. A writer for the stage, for radio, and for television, an avid ecologist and cutting-edge technophile, Douglas Adams was one of the most beloved, influential thinkers of the late twentieth century, and was also, quite probably, one of the funniest people who ever lived. As a young writer Adams had three cultural heroes: the Monty Python troupe, the long-running British sci-fi TV series Dr. Who, and The Beatles. Within just a few years of graduating Cambridge University he was working with all of them, and throughout his life he assembled a cast of friends and colleagues that grew to include Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Salman Rushdie, David Gilmour, Steve Jobs, Jay Roach, and many others.
M. J. Simpson is acknowledged as the world's leading authority on the life and career of Douglas Adams (when Adams's personal assistant had any questions about her boss, she called Simpson!). Although delightfully "unauthorized," M. J. Simpson received full access, cooperation, and support from everyone who knew Douglas Adams to produce this rich, revealing, funny chronicle of one of the most wildly creative minds of our time.
"[Allows] fans glimpses into Adams' life that the intensely private writer wouldn't....A biography that will entertain die-hard fans and those who've never cracked a Hitchhiker book alike." Roberta Johnson, Booklist (Starred Review)
"[E]ngaging yet straightforward....It's both a must-have for serious Adams fans and a neat companion volume to [Neil] Gaiman's more playful 1987 guide to The Hitchhiker's Guide, Don't Panic." Publishers Weekly
"Simpson scrupulously uncovers Adams's inspirations...and, in homage to his subject, he divides the book into forty-two chapters..." The New Yorker
"As M. J. Simpson notes in his minutely detailed Hitchhiker: A Biography of Douglas Adams, the man commonly credited with inventing the genre of humorous science fiction was a tragic figure with a chaotic personal life." Time
"M. J. Simpson has written an engaging and unbiased study of his subject who emerges as a shy and frequently distressed genius." London Evening Standard
"Simpson's style is easy and informative...[but with] mind-bendingly diligent research." The Daily Telegraph (U.K.)
"The style here is as sardonic and sharp-edged as Adams's own work....Hitchhiker is nigh unbeatable: any subsequent Adams biographers will have to struggle hard to match the achievement of this one." The Good Book Guide
"Impressive in its encyclopedic detail [and] deft in its analysis of Adams's contradictory remarks about his own life....For anyone who loves his work, this book is an indispensable read." The Scotsman
"Simpson's book achieves the true aim of any [literary] biography — it makes you want to go out and buy the works of the subject." Irish Independent
"A thorough and fair-minded biography of a dazzling if frustrating talent. A fine epitaph." Literary Review
"Don't worry (or, indeed, panic), Hitchhiker is good....Excellent, in fact....Simpson works hard to separate myth from truth, overturning 'established fact' convincingly on more than one occasion." ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha, the Official Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Appreciation Society
Book News Annotation:
Douglas Adams' most famous and enduring work was the series of books that began with Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, a light hearted science fiction spoof that inspired a cult following in the United States and his native Britain. Simpson (co-founder of the science fiction magazine SFX) approaches his biographical subject with a similar lightness, including large amounts of anecdotal material from friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. Distributed by National Book Network.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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.
M. J. Simpson has produced a rich, revealing chronicle of one of the most wildly creative minds of our time: Douglas Adams, creator of the phenomenally successful Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
About the Author
M. J. Simpson is co-founder of Britain's best-selling science fiction magazine, SFX. He has written for numerous sci-fi and general interest magazines, and is the author of The Pocket Essential Hitchhiker's Guide. He lives near London, and has been collecting information and materials about Douglas Adams for twenty years.
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