Douglas Adams Passes: So Long And Thanks For All The Fish
Published at: May 12, 2001, 3:07 a.m. CST by staff
Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.
I hope he packed a towel.
I've been getting reports about this since early Friday, but I've been trying to verify it with his agents at CAA who stonewalled me. I didn't want to print this. I didn't want it to be true. Now I'm getting verification from a number of sources.
Douglas Adams, creator of THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, has died unexpectedly at the age of 49 following a massive heart attack early Friday morning.
I'm in shock, quite frankly. Adams is one of those guys I consider profoundly influential on my own sensibilities. The first time I read about Vogon poetry or about a Pan-Galactic Gargleblaster, or the first time I met Zaphod Beeblebrox and Marvin and Ford and Arthur, or the first time I compared the radio shows to the TV shows to the books... these are moments I remember vividly now. Hell, when Robie and I were driving to Sundance this spring, one of my favorite surprises during the road trip was the complete BBC run of the HITCHHIKER'S radio show, downloaded from Napster, loaded into the harddrive of my laptop.
He wasn't just a great comedy writer, though. There was a wonderfully human side to his surrealism. He believed in both the best and the worst natures of people, and his books were a celebration of those things, both good and bad.
Jay Roach has spent the last few years working with Adams, developing a big-budget feature film version of HITCHHIKER'S, and I had the chance to read a draft of it about a year ago. As with each medium the original story has been adapted to, it worked well enough, and seemed to be the same, for the most part. It certainly reminded me of just how much I love these characters.
I think I'm going to go dig a few books out of the stacks today and curl up with some of my favorite passages. I think I'll take my copy of LIFE, THE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING to this great spot in Runyon Canyon near the Labs overlooking the whole city. I'll sit up there and read the following for inspiration:
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy has this to say on the subject of flying.
There is an art, it says, or, rather, a knack to flying.
The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.
Pick a nice day, it suggests, and try it.
The first part is easy.
All it requires is simply the ability to throw yourself forward with all your weight, and the willingness not to mind that it's going to hurt.
That is, it's going to hurt if you fail to miss the ground.
Most people fail to miss the ground, and if they are really trying properly, the likelihood is that they will fail to miss fairly hard.
Clearly, it is this second part, the missing, which presents the difficulties.
So if you see someone in the sky above Hollywood this afternoon, it's just me, paying tribute to a wonderful voice that will be dearly missed.