Douglas Adams

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(March 11, 1952 – May 11, 2001)

Douglas Noel Adams, an English SF writer, humorist, and script writer, is best remembered as the author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a chronicle of the misadventures of Arthur Dent, the last Earthman. Other important characters include Ford Prefect, Zaphod Beeblebrox and Marvin the Paranoid Robot.

The Hitchhiker's Guide originated in 1978 as a quirky six-part BBC radio comedy before developing into further episodes (called “fits”), a series of five books that sold millions of copies in Adams’ lifetime, a television series, stage plays, comics, a computer game, and a feature film in 2005.

U.S. fans who traveled to the UK and visiting Britfen in the late ’70s brought back cassettes and shared them around, so the program was already well-known in American fandom by the time it aired on NPR in 1981. The cheesy TV show further enamored fans, and the series spawned many popular catchphrases, including “...almost, but not quite, entirely unlike...” “Always know where your towel is,” “Don't Panic,” “42,” “Mostly Harmless,” “Share and Enjoy,” and “So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.”

Adams died of a heart attack at age 49. On May 25, 2001, two weeks after his death, fans held a tribute called Towel Day, with events at Baycon 2001 and elsewhere, a commemoration observed annually around the world ever since.

More reading:

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