The Hitchhiker's Guide has sold more than 14 million copies world-wide and is an immortal sci-fi classic. It is a book about hapless earthling Arthur Dent and his alien friend Ford who hitchhike through the universe as Earth was destroyed to make way for a hyperspatial express route. In his books, Adams has created the "Babelfish", a fish that translates everything when you plug it into your ear, the "improbability drive" ("a wonderful new method of
crossing vast interstellar distances in a mere nothingth of a
second, without all that tedious mucking about in hyperspace"), the "Total
Perspective Vortex" (which shows you how small and unimportant you really are by revealing the true size of the universe), and, of course, Vogon Poetry. In memory of Mr. Adams, here's an excerpt:
Oh frettled gruntbuggly
thy micturations are to me
As plurdled gabbleblotchits on a lurgid bee.
Groop I implore thee
my foonting turlingdromes.
And hooptiously drangle me with crinkly
Or I will rend thee in the gobberwarts with my
blurglecruncheon, see if I don't!
Of course, the book also answers the question of life, the universe, and everything. A radio play of HGTTG was aired on the BBC in the seventies, and the audio version is always worth listening to (although it differs from the books in many respects). There was also a TV version, and perhaps the movie that Adams has been working on in the last years will also be finished.
HGTTG was also the inspiration to one of Adams' more recent projects, H2G2, a community not unlike Everything2.
"The Guide" puts a lot of emphasis on write-up quality. But it doesn't rely on the arbitrary actions of editors to remove content, it relies on the arbitrary actions of editors to optimize and mark
quality-content (only if you agree, of course). Noise-nodes are still available but can easily be filtered.
Douglas Adams was also a man who cared a lot about the fate of our planet. In Last Chance to See, Mr. Adams reported in vivid detail and with lots of dry British humor about the animal kingdom and species which may no longer roam the Earth in a few years from now, like the Komodo Dragon, the White Rhinos of Zaire, and the Yangtze river dolphins.
Douglas Adams was an atheist, but he will be immortal in our minds, as long as we remember all the laughter and wisdom that he has brought us. And if he has uttered any last words, I hope they were the same as those of Marvin, the paranoid android: "I think I feel good about it." And then the lights went out in his eyes for absolutely the very last time ever.