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New Douglas Adams Book Planned 144

Posted by Hemos
from the so-long-and-thanks dept.
Cabby writes "The BBC and the Independant on Sunday have the news that all the remaining Douglas Adams material is going to be published later on this year, including the unfinished novel 'The Salmon of Doubt' and the proposed screenplay for the Hitchhikers Guide movie"
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New Douglas Adam Book Planned

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    The big question is why?

    To make money, silly. Okay, never mind and you are bang on right. It's just Adams had, or is it has, a lot of fans and so even unfinished stuff is going to be bought and no-one is going to dare to say a bad thing about it.

  • Well, Douglas ADAMS please (in the headline
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 04, 2001 @04:56AM (#178695)
    Come on, people! There are many great and famous works which have been left unfinished by the death of the author or artist, later to be distributed posthumously:

    The Aeneid - Vergil
    Requiem Mass - Mozart
    The Art of Fugue - Bach
    Pieta (Florence) - Michelangelo
    "Unfinished" Symphony - Schubert
    Tenth Symphony - Mahler
    The Silmarillion - Tolkien

    Some other famous works were complete but not published until after the author's death:

    The Prince - Machiavelli
    Billy Budd - Melville

    Of course, not all posthumous works are great, but they are at least useful in understanding the work of the artist, and there really is the occasional masterpiece.

    Sure, Adams' estate will profit from this, but that is no reason to be disappointed or jaded.
  • Seriously, now. Did anyone *not* expect him to write another book? I just assumed that it wouldn't come hout during his death, but wait until the tax situation cleared . . .
  • by hawk (1151)
    someone implemented IP over spoon . . .
  • > (e.g. Jim Carrey as Zaphod)


    ooh, please! As the scond head. Detach it and surgically attach to, ahh, hell, anyone!


    Oh, it didn't work. MY apologies to the Carrey estate. Somehow we'll have to get along without those "masterpieces" . . .


    hawk

  • I can just imagine it: you get three quarters of the way through the book, having no clue what's really going on but expecting it to all make sense in the end...

    ...and then the rest of the book is blank, except for an editor's note at the end, explaining that the author died partway though.

    People would argue for years over how he intended to finish it.
  • George de Mestral Patented velcro. Aparently he was inspired by the way a burr's hooks attach to clothing and animal fur.

    Short Bio for George [invent.org]

    Vermifax

  • by Odinson (4523) on Monday June 04, 2001 @05:45AM (#178701) Homepage Journal
    He's dead, now we can make a 80 million dollar movie, and there is noone to stop up from making it suck!

    I get that feeling every time someone interesting dies who has any IP.

  • Pouring out a 40 of Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster for my homie.

    Doug: Big up from y'all'z monkeyboy dawgz. Peace.
  • I actually thought Mostly Harmless showed him at the top of his form in quality of writing terms.

    I loved the book -- until the end. The end was a bit of a problem; a tragic outcome seems somehow incompatible with the spirit of the series. I mean, here you are laughing your head off and all of a sudden everyone dies, in all universes, for ever and ever.

    Oops.

    I would really prefer to think that Arthur and Fenchurch were somehow reunited on a planet far, far away from anywhere. I think the problem was that Adams couldn't figure out a way to end the series and eliminate the constant cries for new stuff.

    D

    ----
  • Mozart's Requiem isn't particularly good. I've always preferred Fauré's.

    I agree with the original poster. Unless the work was basically finished and just needed the odd little change, they really shouldn't be publishing it.
  • I'm saying that Faure's was better. It was a purely off-topic comment.
  • by kimba (12893)
    • I haven't read the book (obviously) but if its not particulary good then its only going to sour the memory of the other good books that he's done.

    I wish someone had told him this _before_ he released Mostly Harmless :-)

  • I don't think I'm alone in saying that I thought the Dirk Gently novels (esp. the second one) were the most inventive and funny writing Adams' had ever produced. It wasn't knock-down funny like the HH radio scripts, but it was a slower deep kind of funny. The scene in which Dirk is fighting the eagle is so damn good...
  • it reappeared as the seventh Hitch-Hiker novel.

    I'm obviously not as big a fan as I thought...
    What was the sixth?

  • excellent point, but it's important to realize that _none_ of Kafka's novels were finished.
    The Trial and the Castle were both assembled by Max Brod in sort of a best guess fashion, and are a couple of the most amazing books around.
  • NO GLANDS.
    ---
  • "Douglas Adams is back, and better than ever!"
    -- David Manning


    ---
  • Sometime in the early 90's I ordered this book from the local bookstore ounder the title "A Spoon to Short" then its title changed to Salmon of Doubt, eventually its ISBN number disappeared. Last I checked (about a year ago) The bookstore still had my order in processing. Perhaps they will actually recieve something for me one day. I gave up when the ISBN vansihed, figured they would to, but hey.


    I'm curious to know what the book is about however because as a previous poster mentioned it has been both a Dirk Gently & Hitchhiker Novel.


    The problem of course is that this book is not completed, or if it is, DNA was not satisfied with it. This doesn't mean it won't be a good read, it means he wouldn't have released it. Reading it may show us a little of his writing process, but no matter how good (or bad) it is, we'll have to remember it isn't what was suspoed to be published.


    DNA once commented " I love deadlines, I love the sound they make as they fly by" I have a feeling he intened on letting this book never meet any deadline as he has done several projects since it (H2G2, Starship Titantic come to mind)

  • "(Same to all the stupid people who write phrases like 'Douglas Adam's' or even 'Hitchicker'. Christ on a bicycle, have none of you ever read anything!)


    ...seventh Hitch-Hiker
    (sic) novel..."
    ...ideas in a faux-HitchHiker
    (sic)...


    If you're going to slam on people not spelling "hitchhiker" correctly you could at least manage to spell it correctly (or even consistently) in your own post.

  • Have you ever read Robert Sheckley (one of Adams' favorite authors, BTW)? Then, did you go see an abomination called Freejack, supposedly based on Immortality, Inc.? There is no limit to how badly a movie can butcher a brilliant SF story. Especially if that author is known for a sarcastic, biting type of dark humor, which applies to Adams as well as anyone I can think of.
  • I read recently that there is also a 3D game
    in production, in either pc-gamer or some
    other UK games mag. Can't find any links for
    it, but it had a little picture and some
    blurb, maybe someone else has come across some
    info.

    Ant
  • Hmm, I remember reading the first novel, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy when I was just 12 years old. Absolutely loved it, laughed myself silly when I got the chance to hire out the TV series on video some years later. (I'm only 23!). I must say however that I was rather saddened by the last book, Mostly Harmless, as it was a very poignant (sp?) way to end the series. And it happened far too quickly. After reading that novel it felt like Wham, Bam, thank you Ma'am and the Earth is no more. But I digress :). I feel that those works which Mr Adam's was composing prior to his death should remain unpublished or perhaps set in public domain instead of copyrighted by his estate. As for a movie? God save us all! I can just imagine some Hollywood director/producer getting their hands on The Guide and mutilating the plot in the name of a good movie. I would rather the excellent trilogy' be what Mr Adams is remembered for, not some crappy movie looking to cash in on his death. So long, Mr Adams, and thanks for all the fish.
  • Doug was not happy with the direction he went with Mostly Harmless either. Thats why he was working on a 6th book.
  • maybe there's a reason these works were unfinished

    Erm.. yes.. he's dead.
  • Terry Pratchett (he of the Discworld books)has clearly said this will NOT happen to him - he has appointed a "literary executor" to basically wipe his harddrive the moment he pops his clogs. I heard him answer a question on this (for some reason) at a book signing and he said nobody would be finishing off any book he'd started... or publishing the half a book if there was such a thing.
  • [About Kafka requesting his unfinished works to be burned]
    Somehow, I have always suspected that Kafka wasn't entirely sincere about that. Especially since he made the request to his long life friend, the author Max Brod, who practically worshipped Kafka and his writings, and who, since their school days, with some exaggeration, had picked up every scrap of paper, that Kafka even touched, and put in a gilded frame.
    And among the works Kafka wanted Max Brod to destroy, was the short story "Ein Hungerkünstler", a story, together with three others, he would edit, and correct spelling errors in, while in his dying bed.
    Furthermore, those works Kafka really wanted to destroy (his earliest works), he did destroy. His own death from TB, wasn't a suprise, so if he really wanted, he could easely have destroyed whatever he wanted to.
    Kafka was a meticously writer, who himself knew how good he was. Those works he published, got very good reviews.
    So in my not so humble opinion, Kafka's message in his litterary testament to Max Brod, was something like this "Hey Max, you really don't have to burn my papers, but if you publish them, which I am sure you do, please separate the unfinished works from the rest, and let no one be in doubt which is which."

    On another note; How I dislike, how Kafka is always portrayed, as this serious, "romanticly pale and TB-sick" author. He was a funny man, and his works are chuck full of humour. His slightly paranoid (rightly so), undecesive characters, who always think eight steps ahead before taking any action, and therefore end up taking no action whatsoever, are funny.
    I am sure, more people would read Kafka, if they realized how funny his works are.
  • I for one believe that the dead are affected by (and in some cases can affect) the temporal world, but not to the extent that they are likely to post to slashdot.

    How else can you explain some of the posts in this sid?
  • by prizog (42097) <`gro.silavon' `ta' `todhsals-silavon'> on Monday June 04, 2001 @06:53AM (#178722) Homepage
    "I'd hate to have any of my unfinished work thrust onto the public. The difference between finished and unfinished is that with the former I'm happy with it going for general release, the latter, i'm not."

    That's what Franz Kafka thought too. He asked his wife and his editor to burn all his work after his death. Fortunately, his editor didn't, and that's why we have all of Kafka's stuff. Amerika, his unfinished novel, is still *great*.
  • My favorite was the discussion of Shroedinger's Cat to stall for time.
  • Why don't they open-source the book and let hackers finish it?

    Excuse me while I duck from the moderators. Low karma, here I come!
    ------

  • No, he meant spelt, the grain.
    ------
  • well you don't expect live people to keep writing after they're dead, do you?
  • Writers are their own worst critics...good writers esepcially. And great writers, of whom I think Mr. Adams squeaks into the fray quite nicely, are often so critical of their own work they don't recognize the genius in it.

    To add to your list of examples: Kafka (of "The Trial" and "The Castle" fame) did not publish anything while he was alive and his posthumous wish to his friend was to burn all his manuscripts. Thankfully, his friend had the good sense to realise Kafka was a genius of a writer.
  • Elron Hubbard .... he just kept cranking them out for years after his death .... probably something to do with that infestation of murdered space aliens ....
  • By F Scott Fitzgerald

    Another wildly popular unfinished novel.
  • To quote Neil Gaiman [americangods.com] from an earlier slashdot story [slashdot.org]:
    I hope that his death isn't followed by the publishing of all the stuff he hadn't wanted to see print.


    --
  • The dead have no claim to our world, because they are totally uneffected by it.

    Rather wild and unsubstantiated statement, can you prove it?

    Just curious.


    ---- Sigs are bad for your health ----

  • Well, I personally consider very few things to be actually impossible...just wildly improbable (to paraphrase the now "potentially" absent Mr. Adams).

    Apparently, Jesus once said "the meek shall inherit the Earth". Assuming he meant the planet Earth, and not just dirt in general, that stakes a definitive "claim to [our] world". And who is more meek than a dead person?

    Therefore, the dead do potentially have a "claim to our world", however, as posession is 9/10ths of the law (at least in the USA), I say the live people have a greater claim.

    Being affected or not seems unrelated to the lack of any said "claims".


    ---- Sigs are bad for your health ----

  • Weston Super Mare? have you been there recently?
    ugh.

  • well put it this way, it probably hasn't got any better than you remember :)

    phil.

  • Well it was originally going to be a Dirk Gently book, but then it was going to be a HHG book, and then it just never happened. Given where the HHG series left off, it's kind of appropriate that Salmon of Doubt gets published post-humourously, though...

    Mind, I've read enough about DNA's writing style to know there aren't going to be any notes explaining what was yet to be written. (IIRC, generally he didn't actually know where the story was going to end up when writing) It'll be interesting.
  • Well obviously he meant "smelt", which was a very subtle reference to the title.

    If you haven't already read it, it's a paternity case for Dirk Gently. Although reared by salmon, the eponynmous fish of the title long harboured the suspicion that he was really a herring.

  • I literally read the "Trilogy" from begining to end

    Read ? You mean there's a _book_ of this stuff too ? I thought it was just on the radio !
    (and at Theatr Clywd - anyone else remeber the Vogon Poetry Appreciation Chairs, made from forklifts)

    Adams was infamous for his writing style (much like my coding style). Fiddle with the damn thing in a perfectionist manner for years, and never actually ship it until your agent pulled it out with pliers. I've not read this ms., but I bet a half-finished Adams' script is already in a far better state than most writer's final drafts.

    Besides which, the Adams otaku will never shut up until it's published, spun-off, and there's some crappy plastic action figures to go with it.

  • Maybe this means that the BBC will cut loose of the official copies of some Dr. Who stories that were never finished or in a couple of cases filmed at all. I hate to have less than reverence for the dead, but the idea of getting much of the Dirk Gently material as it originally appeared in the script of the episode "Shada" that was never finished thanks to a BBC stike is just exciting.
  • I certainly hope they aren't planning on releasing a few "Douglas Adams' [insert title] by [insert some other author]"... Alistair MacLean's stuff comes to mind. (Several books with his name 'by Alastair MacNeill' appeared after his death.)

    Unless it's something like a 98% finished work, I'd rather not see them take his name and slap it on something that has very little DNA in it...

    -pf

  • And how about The Silmarillion, argueably Tolkien's best work.

    I suppose it depends how "unfinished" this book is.

  • by The_Messenger (110966) on Monday June 04, 2001 @04:23AM (#178741) Homepage Journal
    Whatever happened to that old pirate saying about dead men not telling tales? Gee, this shakes my faith in the entire pirate methodology. What, next you'll be telling me not to "avast, landlubber?" Golly.

    --

  • If you link through to the title article, there's a link in the sidebar that goes to a story about the 3D game. It was supposed to be available in "Spring 2001," but those wacky game publishers usually have trouble meeting dates.
  • I haven't read the book (obviously) but if its not particulary good then its only going to sour the memory of the other good books that he's done.

    I wish someone had told him this _before_ he released Mostly Harmless :-)

    *sigh* yeah. "So long..." was a good enough ending. Mostly Harmless, really just sucked. :-(

    On the bright side it was after reading that that I discovered "Last Chance to See" a non fiction naturalist sort of book that is just lovely. So while I don't even know the actual publishing chronology, I think of "Last Chance..." as his last book and feel nice about it.

    Kahuna Burger

  • Well as somebody who has listened to/read most of the works you've mentioned (The Prince, Mahler's 10th, Tolkien's Silmarillion, Mozart's Mass, Vergil's Aeneid), I can say that they are certainly fantastic but that there is a noticable point in all of those works that I've mentioned where the feel *changes*. It's the most obvious in Mozart's Mass: I heard the local university do a performance of it, and the movements composed by the guy-who-I'm-too-lazy-to-look-up were definitely different. In fact, interesting story about the Mass: Mozart composed it for financial reasons, like most of his stuff. Then he died, but his wife still needed cash and the mass wasn't finished. So his wife asked a bunch of his students, and all his best students said "No way we can do that justice, Mozart started that no way we can finish it". One of his *weaker* students was the only one willing to accept the job.

    So yes, it is possible for unfinished work to be finished and released posthumously. But it is still very noticable that the author/composer/artist did not complete the work, and the quality is detracted considerably.

    Essentially, like I'm sure many people have already pointed out, chances are the reason this is being released is because somebody somewhere wants money. And I don't know what bothers me more, the fact that that is true, or the fact that I'll probably buy it anyway (just like Star Wars Episode II.... it'll probably still pander Jar-Jar style to the 8 year old demographic, and I'll probably still go see it anyway).....
  • Unless you hunt around for the lost chapers, which overwrite the ending of mostly harmless.

    I'm not sure where exactly they take over (I assumed it was Mostly Harmless, and not any of the earler ones). They also must have been writen recently to, as he mentions USB in it.

  • It was going to be directed by Jay Roach, who I think could handle it just fine. The only catch was that the producers wanted some star power.

    Here's hoping we get Bruce Campbell as Zaphod.
  • by TomV (138637) on Monday June 04, 2001 @05:14AM (#178747)
    Does this strike anyone as a bit creepy? Rifleing through a dead man's PC for snippets of work?

    Oh, it's certainly a creepy process. After my dad died, one of the tasks that fell to me was to trawl his PC for documents, bank account details, tax stuff, contacts who needed to be informed of his death and, indeed, any remaining unpublished material (he was an academic of fairly high standing in a rather obscure field), particularly the commentary he'd been working on for the previous 15 years and had very nearly finished. It took one of his ex-colleagues about a year to get it finished, but as his family we're all very happy with the fact that it's out there and will probably be a major text in the field for many years to come, a fitting tribute to his knowledge and learning.

    If the material is good, then it's a memorial to the late author's effort and talent. If it's not up to scratch and not likely to enhance the author's respect, then it should probably go quietly to the grave.

    all depends on the material and the decision of his heirs. But it's a far from pleasant experience, the trawl

    TomV

  • In reply to your comment: You've had too much coffee, big guy.

    In reply to your .sig: Try this [comp-u-geek.net] site.

  • A new book [pocketessentials.com] about the HHGG phenomenon has recently been published in the UK.

    I must declare an interest by admitting that my brother is the author.

  • Does publishing the screen play mean they are not going to make the movie?

    Well, if its made by any of the big hollywood film companies then none of us will be going to see it will we. You may recall that we are all boycotting the MPAA over the DeCCS case.

  • by veddermatic (143964) on Monday June 04, 2001 @04:22AM (#178751) Homepage
    Are you kidding.. they haven't even started compiling material for his posthumous CD with guest stars Tupak and Notorious BIG.......

    Death does not mean you can stop selling crap... at least not in our culture. Why, I saw John Wayne hawking Coors Light just yesterday on that there TeeVee!

  • by Sudderth (146030) on Monday June 04, 2001 @05:34AM (#178752) Homepage

    Here's a quote [americangods.com] by Neil Gaiman, a popular fantasy and comic-book writer (Sandman, Good Omens with Terry Pratchett, etc.). This blogger entry was a sort of eulogy written just after Adams' death, and sums up why I think the unpublished stuff should remain so (unless the Hitchhiker's movie is finally made with no changes to Adams' script).

    He was a very brilliant man. (Not said lightly. I think he really was one of those astonishingly rare people who saw things differently and more clearly and from a different angle.) I don't think he liked the process of writing very much to begin with, and I think he liked it less and less as time went on. Probably, he wasn't meant to be a writer. I'm not sure that he ever figured out what it was that he did want to do; I suspect it's something they don't have a concept for yet, let alone a name -- and if he'd been around when this thing was around (World Designer? Explainer?) he would have done it brilliantly.

    (I hope that his death isn't followed by the publishing of all the stuff he hadn't wanted to see print.)

  • by oman_ (147713)

    I for one would love to see unfinished work.
    If it sucks then it sucks, but that's what I would expect. Being such a big fan I'd love to get my hands on whatever I could.. even if it is just to bring back a few of the joys and memories of reading through HHGTTG for the first time.
  • What can I say? I can just see him setting up somthing like this intentionally...

  • There is no consistency in the way you refer to Guide. It's been referred to as Hitch-Hiker, Hitch Hiker and Hitchhiker over the years, quite often by Adams himself. These are all perfectly good similes and it doesn't really matter which one you use.
    CORRECT SPELLING however is another matter, and 'hicker' is not a word in anyone's book.
    Belgium man, Belgium!



    Hacker: A criminal who breaks into computer systems
  • Actually, I think you'll find that 'spelt' is a perfectly good English word. It is the past tense of the verb "to spell".
    In the original title of this thread, Slashdot had spelt Douglas Adams' name incorrectly. They must have fixed it later.
    You are a complete arse who cannot see a perfectly legitimate English sentence when it is in front of your face. GET A DICTIONARY YOU IGNORANT BUFFOON!

    Hacker: A criminal who breaks into computer systems
  • by JimPooley (150814) on Monday June 04, 2001 @04:33AM (#178757) Homepage
    Well. It would have been nice had Slashdot SPELT HIS NAME RIGHT in the heading... "Douglas Adam" indeed.
    (Same to all the stupid people who write phrases like "Douglas Adam's" or even "Hitchicker". Christ on a bicycle, have none of you ever read anything!)

    The Salmon of Doubt. It would actually be interesting if all the drafts are present. It originally began in the early 90's (93?) as the third 'Dirk Gently' novel. Then the character of 'Dirk Gently' was written out. Some time later, it reappeared as the seventh Hitch-Hiker novel. Then it vanished altogether. Amazon were accepting orders for it for some time and ZZ9 [zz9.org] were constantly having to tell people that no such book had been published!

    Now it would be very interesting to see if any of this change survives.

    It may seem like grave-robbing, but I'd rather they did this than have some hack finish off Adams' ideas in a faux-HitchHiker style. I'm very glad to see Ed Victor saying there is no question of having someone finish ideas off.


    Hacker: A criminal who breaks into computer systems
  • More like "from the picking-the-flesh-from-the-corpse-of-Douglas-Adams dept"... maybe there's a reason these works were unfinished?

    --
  • In this culture, death doesn't even mean that you have to stop writing.

    Take a look at L. Ron Hubbard, for instance...

  • by peccary (161168) on Monday June 04, 2001 @04:32PM (#178760)
    You know, he's only spending a year dead for tax purposes. I'm sure that he'll maintain creative control.
  • We see an amazing number of "new" stories by dead people, these days: a sequel to the venerable A Canticle for Leibowitz [amazon.com] ; an "uncensored" version of Stranger in a Strange Land [amazon.com] . Even the late, overrated Gene Roddenbery seems to be just hitting his stride [andromedatv.com]. It brings a whole new meaning to the term "ghost writing"!

    __

  • Well. It would have been nice had Slashdot SPELT HIS NAME RIGHT

    ::snicker::

    I'm sure you can all see the irony in this...no need to point it out. It's practicly spelt out four you in blak and wite...

    "Sweet creeping zombie Jesus!"
  • Death does not mean you can stop selling crap... at least not in our culture.

    I'm sure we can all agree that sales is probably the most profitable post-mortem profession you can get into these days.

    "Sweet creeping zombie Jesus!"
  • According to the NY Times, they are sharecropping Narnia [nytimes.com] by having other authors write books in the Narnia universe.

    However, they are toning down the Christian elements to cater to today's readers.

    "We'll need to be able to give emphatic assurances that no attempt will be made to correlate the stories to Christian imagery/theology."

    Now I'm as Godless as the next guy, but I can't help but think that this would be slightly contrary to C. S. Lewis's original vision for his series. I think I can speak for everyone in wishing the publisher a painful eternity in the fires that burn but do not consume.

  • Many of Franz Kafka's works were released post-humously against his expressed intentions (in his will there was something about having everything burned..). Most of his books were never really finished, just pieced together by editors from the stuff they were able to find.

    While, on one hand, it may sound like the money-grubbing corps at it again, a definate argument is to be made about humanity deserving to see them...
  • I think he's refering to "Young Zaphod"

    Except that "Young Zaphod Plays It Safe" was not a novel, and came out before the 5th book ("Mostly Harmless") was released... so calling it the sixth novel would be silly.

  • Most of Shada was filmed. You can buy a partially-restored version of it from almost any video store large enough to have old TV sci fi.

    It's kind of dry to watch. The unfilmed scenes are filled in with Tom Baker narrating text based on the events in the screenplay. (Or just raw text, if you watch one of the early bootlegs).

    There's also a couple of scenes where they did not get around to looping K9's voice, so you just see The Doctor holding one end of a conversation with long pauses in between.

  • He's got a point. Shada is vastly inferior to some of Adams's other Dr. Who episodes, yet it outsells most other episodes in the show's history. (Although that is perhaps only because Shada was broadcast, while most fanboy Whovians have seen all the other episodes and are starved for a little more of the show. I'm guilty of sitting through it myself, and might have bought it if a friend didn't already have a copy to loan me.)
  • Judging by the comments here, I must be the only person on Earth who thinks that "Mostly Harmless" was a better book that "So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish".

    "So Long" was too happy. Arthur leans that Earth is still there and then spends a few chapters having flying sex with a total hottie while listening to Dire Straits records. The tone of the story was completely different than in the first three, which introduced a lot of very dark themes. (You can't escape bureaucrats; truely understanding the world would make you go mad; life is short, cruel, and usually unfair; etc.)

    In "So Long", Adams abandoned the motif of depression that defined the series up until then in order to meditate upon just how sexy Mark Knopfler's guitar solos are.

    The "rain god" was funny, but probably would have been a better fit in a Dirk Gently novel.

    I will grant you that Adams at his worst was still better than a lot of authors at their best *cough*Pratchet*cough*, but I really consider "So Long" to be the weakest of the five books.

    "Mostly Harmless" was a return to form. Of course the Vogon bureaucracy would have ultimate vicory in the end... could it really be any other way?

  • Does publishing the screen play mean they are not going to make the movie?
  • Wow. So much for the claim that AC's never have anything useful to contribute...
    ---
  • It'll reveal if God really is sorry for the inconvenience.
  • ...how many dead people keep writing after their deaths! Talk about ghost writing...


    --
    Scott Robert Ladd
    Master of Complexity
    Destroyer of Order and Chaos

  • Douglas Adams on a bad day is better than a whole lot of other stuff released.

    TekWar anyone?

  • "Writers are their own worst critics...good writers esepcially. "

    I think that I agree with you. Douglas Adams was a terrible critic, which was probably why he did not realise that much of his later output was pretty terrible, and to be honest shamed his earlier output.

    Many of the hitchhiker books fell over on this, being a pale reflection of the radio series. And what was he playing out with Dirk Gently. Whatever convinced him that cobbling together two Dr Who stories in this way was a good idea?

    Douglas Adams was not a great writer. He had a great turn of phrase, an inventive and fertile mind for looking sidewise at issues, and a brilliant flair for one liners. This did not make his a great writer however. Compare HHGTTG for instance with "Catch 22", if you want to see what a great writer can do.

    "won't you buy it if it is published?"

    I won't buy it no. I have bought much of Douglas Adams' output, but I stopped after Dirk Gently convinced me I was throwing my money away. I do hope however that Radio 4 repeats the HHGTTG, I would certainly look forwards to that.

    Phil

  • "I don't think I'm alone in saying that I thought the Dirk Gently novels were the most inventive and funny writing "

    The first Dirk Gently novel was indeed inventive. At least it was 15 years before when they were Dr Who stories. What I don't understand is why he choose to recycle them in an inferior form later on.

    Phi

  • Exactly.

    A few more additions to that list -

    Every James Bond novel from "Man With The Golden Gun" onwards (that one was unfinished at the time of Ian Flemming's death).

    Several Isaac Asimov works.

    "Made In Heaven" album by Queen.

    Numerous albums from other artists released after their death.

    Heck, it's a free country, so why not let them go ahead and release it?
    Those who want to buy it can, those who don't want to don't have to. Everyone is happy.

    Adams will be far from the first person to have works finished and released after his death.
  • he'll be published unfinished, like Pushkin. All his own work, not diluted by another's.

  • by Mr_Silver (213637) on Monday June 04, 2001 @04:22AM (#178781)
    The big question is why? Now I'm not disbuting that Douglas Adams is a great author but the main reason this book hasn't been released is because its unfinished.

    I haven't read the book (obviously) but if its not particulary good then its only going to sour the memory of the other good books that he's done.

    Live and let live. I'd hate to have any of my unfinished work thrust onto the public. The difference between finished and unfinished is that with the former I'm happy with it going for general release, the latter, i'm not.

    (Anyone remember Gene Roddenberry's unfinished work? And how poor that was? Makes you realise why it was unfinished ...)

    --

  • As Douglas, himself said, making a film would be difficult, as Hollywood prefers a begining, a middle and an end to stories, whereas the HH stories go on and on and on. Hence, it has taken up to his death, to continue thrashing out a possible script. Without DNA it's highly unlikely, IMHO, that the series will spawn a film. Douglas was one of the few with genuine passion to do a film. But, stranger things have happened, and it's possible the Dark Forces of Hollywood will now concoct some stupid piece of garbage (e.g. Jim Carrey as Zaphod)

    Typically when an author dies and rights revert to those, including estates, which do not place the same personal value on the property, it gets exploited all over the place and some truly terrible things happen (e.g. Dr. Seuss & The Grinch Movie, IMHO the Chuck Jones w/Boris Karloff beat it hands down.)

    If they just wad all the stuff up and put it into a binder I might buy a copy, but any derivative works, probably not.

    --
    All your .sig are belong to us!

  • Was it actually a movie or just edited together from the TV series (which aired on PBS in the US)??

    --
    All your .sig are belong to us!

  • I'm quite happy to be able to listen to his final, unfinished work.

    ---
    'Fruity smells are what I like'
    Debbie Gibson
  • Now I know you're not suggesting that Mozart's Requiem shouldn't be available to the public, purely on the basis that you don't like it that much. So what are you saying?
  • For once, I guess we can be grateful someone didn't use strong encryption...
    --
    "I'm not downloaded, I'm just loaded and down"
  • Like others have said, let Mr. Adams rest. Unless his last wish was to publish this stuff, it's safe to assume that he didn't want it published. Gotta love that boolean logic, eh?

    So why rape his work after death? Just to capitalize on recent media attention? Is his estate in financial dire straits? I, for one, am unlikely to purchase any of this stuff - unless the critcs tell me to! ;)

  • I can't let this one go by without comment. Are you saying that because the guy published some stuff, he forfeits privacy and the rights to control how his work is presented? Man, if this ain't Open Source run amok!

    So you like his work! Great! Douglas Adams probably had that goal in mind and, dammit, if it didn't make him rich and famous. But come on, dude, he is not part of your life - his writings are. Douglas Adams doesn't owe you anything. As for your financial investment, you own the book you bought - that's it. Unless, of course, you forwarded Adams a few bucks when he was a struggling, destitute hack.

    But let's take your line of reasoning a little further, shall we? You post your comments on /. and you are now publishing in the public domain. Furthermore, I've developed a perverse-worship-ideal about all things Flarg!-ian. Congrats! You're part of my like now! Can I have your address? What's your girlfriend's name? Do you have any unusual moles? Do you have any pictures, writings, thoughts, bad habits, or other creatively unique thoughts for me? By your own logic, "All Flarg!s are belong to us.".

    What's that you say?.... Thought so.

  • I can just imagine it: you get three quarters of the way through the book, having no clue what's really going on but expecting it to all make sense in the end...

    ...and then the rest of the book is blank, except for an editor's note at the end, explaining that the author died partway though.

    People would argue for years over how he intended to finish it.


    I dunno...there's a bit of poetic justice in it I think. Anyone recall how Adams had Samuel Taylor Coleridge finish out "Kublai Khan" with the "second and far more interesting part"?

    IMNSHO, I think it would be great if they released "The Salmon of Doubt" as it was originally written as a Dirk Gently book. I loved all of Adams work, but I think that I cared for the Dirk Gently books more that the HHGTTG books. And with that title...I mean, come on, it's got to be a Dirk Gently book.
  • So you're saying that the era spoils all valid reasons for publishing the final work of a truly intestesting writer? I think that's a very shallow reading of the situation. "Tackiness" is such a terribly subjective thing, and has deep tendrils in the destruction of quality. Consider: Harry Potter sequels, unauthorized Priness Di biorgaphies and "Survivor" guest appearances are invented first for their marketability, and then adapted for content. In other words, any value that exists for the reader stems from an afterthought, not from the theme of the content. The essential difference between this sort of disjointed construction and releasing an essentially unfinished work is that the content is driving the concept, and not vica versa. Cosnider it thus: The Onion's editors write a headline before they right the page content, and therefore the page content is often far inferior to the hook. In the rest of the newspaper industry, the inverse is true...which is how a wholly intelligible and interesting article can have a title like "Man Dies in Truck Accident." Douglas' work, even if released for financial reasons, will indeed have positive literary value because it is not generated in response to this financial drive.

    As for dignity, we must choose are battles. When all the pundits come out of the woodwork to prove Adams was gay/a nazi/a communist/a Tory/Ethel Merman, then we'll fight for his dignity. But to say that taking his notes and bringing them into the eye of his fans is robbing him of his dignity is anticipating that he was hiding them delibrately. If he was, trust me, we never would have found them -- Adams was an ace with a computer and would have locked them down like a new bicycle.
  • Good points, all, and dually noted. Your perspective is totally valid.

    However, I would like to throw a few monkey wrenches into your theory. First: if the work has been tooled and retooled and gone into proproduction multiple times, then it is not exactly a hidden work. This is an obvious difference between the case at hand and other works released posthumously: the work wasn't buried under mountains of correspondence in somebody's attic, or in the possession of a trust friend, or in some other way existant only in analog in a precarious location. It exists on the disk drive of a personal computer, which he used to write all of his works, and his publisher knew about it (in computational terms, a handle existed to the file and it was still in memory). So, as soon as some reporter says to the publisher "will we ever see a lost work of our D.D., D.O.A. D.N.A.?", he is able to respond "well, yeah, I guess." The work is at hand: it needs no restoration. Furthurmore, the editors who were helping D.A. with the work are alive and kicking, and able to supply their interpretation of his vision as explained to them during the editorial process to its finalization.

    I'm not saying finances weren't a factor -- certainly, collectors who couldn't care less about D.A. are going to want copies for their Dead Author's shelves. But finances were not the only factor, or needen't be -- this certainly won't be the case with future "memorial editions" of the H2G2 and Dirk. And I argue, also, that D.A. never put in that much money -- I bought my copy of the penultimate H2G2 at an overstock sale for $3 -- it's roughly 800 pages long in hardcover.

    Privacy is something to be reserved for his relationship with his friends and family, with his style of living, or for his medical records...it's not something to worry about with works that were destined for the public view, anyway. I know if I were to die tomorrow, my code wouldn't be locked away in my coffin -- it would be exploited by the other programs, fixed, tweaked, replaced and otherwise trampled. A work like this -- which has apparently been close to release on several occasions -- is a rather different matter than truly personal documents.
  • by dasmegabyte (267018) <das@OHNOWHATSTHISdasmegabyte.org> on Monday June 04, 2001 @05:08AM (#178815) Homepage Journal
    I wish all you "let the man be" people would take a hint from classical literature.

    Writers are their own worst critics...good writers esepcially. And great writers, of whom I think Mr. Adams squeaks into the fray quite nicely, are often so critical of their own work they don't recognize the genious in it. Alan Ginsberg sat on Kaddish for something close to a year before releasing it, and when he did he only made minor revisions. And Emily Dickinson didn't release anything during her life -- books of her work were only compiled after her death when her loved ones and associated exchanged poems she had written for them. Surely, E.D. would have complained about the publishing of her most personal thoughts, her rawest fantesies, into the general public. But she can't. That's one of the appeals of posthumous publishing, you can remove the complaints of the party post likely to be embarassed by their own genius. And I, for one, applaud the effort. The dead have no claim to our world, because they are totally uneffected by it. If some of us would like a chance to see Adams' final works published -- and I do, if even as a tribute to the editrial process Adams undertook -- then by all means we should be allowed to.

    Unfinished does not mean "crappy," just as finishing a book does not imply it was done with any quality. Mostly Harmless was a mistaken book to most who read it, far too cynical and abrupt. An unrushed, paced novel with no thoughts of marketability or story length would be a gem from the often disjointed Adams -- it could be as brilliant as some of the unfinished symphonies. And those who would place blame on the future publishers, answer me this: won't you buy it if it is published? Won't you read it and complain when it lacks the genius of Dirk Gently? I know I will...money making or not, this is not "2pac' s poetry book"...this is Douglas Adams.
  • I hear so much complaining people, when are we going to learn that economics don't stop just because we die? The Beatle's released new songs in the '90's, complete with John's voice. John Candy and Marilyn Monroe died filming movies that were later (or will be anyway) finished and thrown out there.

    I certainly wouldn't mind if I died and somebody updated my web page. Let's not let the world end because of some little departure.



  • I agree that Mostly Harmless was the most cynical work by Douglas Adams, and that it didn't really fit in with the rest, but I also find that quite apt. Apart from killing off all possibility of a sequel (although I would love to read the complete history of the Cathedral of Chalesm), it could be understood as a comment on the popularity of the series (of the books, not the original radio~), and what it had become.
    In that, it was quite visionary, albeit darkly so. I postulate parallels between the development of the Guide within the series and the Internet in the real world - how long before netNanny et al watch over all of us, from some black box plopped on every router everywhere? How long before the common technology Internet, brought to you by Microsoft?
    I mean - Neuromancer is more positive in outlook.

    But before descending irredeemably into a rant - Salmon of Doubt: bring it on. I have the complete collection, including both Liffs, the short story with Zaphod, and last Chance. It's going to be published anyway, and I, for one, will show great appreciation being able to witness it.

    Not a day goes by where I don't ask myself "What would Arthur do?" (ending up in me indulging in activities in a very wide range, from making sandwiches to putting on Dire Straits)

"The geeks shall inherit the earth." -- Karl Lehenbauer

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