A Conversation for Douglas Adams - His Life and Worlds

Topic of the Week: Douglas Adams

Post 1

Gold_Dragon

Hi. Just starting off a post, 'cause there didn't seem to be one that I wanted. You know, people, there is a book called "The Salmon of Doubt" and it contains all your questions answered, and by Douglas himself (except for his death, and personal family). Yeah. It's about 11$ CAN, 8$ US or <5 ENG lbs, etc. Seriously, go and get it, it's his last "book".


Topic of the Week: Douglas Adams

Post 2

~ jwf ~ scribblo ergo sum

Good point GD!
smiley - cheers
Salmon of Doubt is as revealing and rewarding as any DNA biography could ever be, auto or otherwise. Being an accidental rather than intentional collage of 'pictures' taken in the life of the man, it provides glimpses into the man as boy, young artist, as a man, as a writer/philosopher and proves his qualifications as our guide to the galaxy and our future.

It does so mostly thru his own words, not written for this purpose of 'biography' but serving the truth of the matter so much better than any that might be written retrospectively by adoring fans.
smiley - bigeyes

Perhaps most importantly we find in the text of some of his speeches (especially the extemporaneous bits) and business correspondence just what an intelligent and well informed human being he was and how really clever he could be when thinking on his feet. He wasn't just a 'sit-down' writer, an armchair philosopher and sci-fi satirist. Salmon of Doubt shows the man up and running, filling each minute with as many seconds as he had time for.

Every now and then, I found myself fighting an urge to put that book down and re-read the HHGG in the light of new revelations. For example the dis-appearing and re-appearing herds that stampeded their way across the plains to bring Arthur Dent to the roadhouse home of the King mean so much more when we learn how much Douglas loved to experiment with linear videotape editing. And by his intuitive precognitions he had even foreseen the layering effects of digital video editing and the new 'filmic narrative' techniques of juxtapositions outside linear time.
smiley - wizard

That said, I'm glad to see that the Editors are working to include a proper and comprehensive Edited Guide on the subject of our founder and mentor. We can only hope they will rely heavily on direct quotes of his own words rather than just cobble together the subjective opinions of infatuated secondary sources such as thee and I. DNA had a pretty objective view of himself and fairly clear view of Life, the Uni et al. He should be allowed to speak for himself.
smiley - cheers
~jwf~


Topic of the Week: Douglas Adams

Post 3

Galigan

As well on 'the salmon of doubt' there is a book called 'Don't Panic', by Neil Gaiman, which is all about Douglas Adams and the Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. it talks about his life and works and basicly everything he ever did and who he did it with.
Includes references to 'The Meaning of Liff', Dirk Gently and 'the Salmon of Doubt'. (£6.99 by Titan Books)
An excellent read and a wonderful insight into the life of the great Dougls Noel Adams himself.


Topic of the Week: Douglas Adams

Post 4

The Duke of Dunstable

If you really want to get to know Douglas and how he worked, the book you need is the official biography "Wish You Were Here", by his friend Nick Webb, who also made the deal with Douglas in 1979 to write the books for PAN.


Topic of the Week: Douglas Adams

Post 5

Galigan

how about we find all the reliable biographies of DNA that we can and use the bit that are common in all of them, and probably the others cos most of them are good. that way the guide entry about him will be the most accurate and up to date account of his life and works there is to date!


Topic of the Week: Douglas Adams

Post 6

The Duke of Dunstable

And we'll all be sued our kneecaps off for copyright infringements.


Topic of the Week: Douglas Adams

Post 7

Galigan

Alright, just a suggestion.


Topic of the Week: Douglas Adams

Post 8

constructor_uk

I agree with jfw on the whole, the primary source for any biography should be the person in question. However, to get an objective opinion of the man and his works it is sometimes necessary to seek the opinions of those around him and his works, too.

From what i have learned so far it seems for example, deadlines were almost loathed by DNA, perhaps that has influenced his works ??

Having not read Salmon of Doubt, an omission soon to be rectified,(thanks jwf) I would offer Neil Gaiman's "Don't Panic: Douglas Adams & The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" as a good insight into the man and his works.

All that aside, I think its important that some secondary opinion is sought, but then I dont believe DNA would appreciate any of us regurgitating sections of his work.

I believe DNA as an author used many conventional devices to encourage the reader to extract and apply their own meaning depending on their cultural experiences. Shouldn't we be looking to express some of those opinions rather than trying to pontificate the meanings of the author himself ??


Topic of the Week: Douglas Adams

Post 9

Gold_Dragon

Hey, why should we be sued for copyright infringment? This is, after all, Douglas' brainchild and should be considered as such. As his fans, we deserve the right to put whatever the heck we want up here, without getting arrested. And yeah, this topic of the week is about his biographies... not him(!). So, now what?


Topic of the Week: Douglas Adams

Post 10

Spanish Jacky

Just regarding the whole Copyright thing - You can't get sued if you read someone's book and then take that information and use it somewhere else. Copyright infringement is where you copy the words of someone's book word for word. The law isn't meant to protect against the use of ideas or information, just against the skill that was invested in creating the original piece of work in the first place. So we could look at all the different works on Douglas Adams, find the bits that are common to them and then put those in the guide (as long as we don't actually copy the words used).

Do you see?


Topic of the Week: Douglas Adams

Post 11

roddydodd

I do see, yes. So Pinter won't be coming after you then?


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Topic of the Week: Douglas Adams

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