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Sci-Fi

New HHGTTG Radio Show Gets Douglas Adams' Voice 197

Posted by simoniker
from the genius-at-work dept.
trellick writes "The BBC has not only announced that they are to make radio adaptations to The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy's final three books: Life, The Universe and Everything; So Long and Thanks For All the Fish; and Mostly Harmless. Also, Douglas Adams is to himself provide the voice of Agrajag, the character constantly being reincarnated and dying at the (inadvertent) hands of Arthur Dent, since Adams 'always intended to play the part of Agrajag and recorded himself in the part a few years ago.' Wonderful stuff!"
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New HHGTTG Radio Show Gets Douglas Adams' Voice

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  • by InternationalCow (681980) <mauricevansteenselNO@SPAMmac.com> on Monday June 21, 2004 @05:02PM (#9488663) Journal
    isn't it, that the inventor of the Restaurant at the End of the Universe should project his voice back across time and death? I can't wait to hear this, one of my best memories of late childhood is hearing the Hitchiker's Guide radio series on the BBC.
  • by Render_Man (181666) on Monday June 21, 2004 @05:04PM (#9488688) Homepage
    It just seems fitting that Douglas Adams had the forsight to record the lines for a character who always dies, so that he himself could be re-incarnated in a way.

    Lets just hope he does'nt mind coming back as a potted plant at some point
    • by SlowMovingTarget (550823) on Monday June 21, 2004 @05:09PM (#9488733) Homepage
      Adams really was a brilliant writer. The "Rob was a rain god" line in So Long and Thanks For All the Fish made me actually fall out of my chair laughing (it was a truly spectacular punchline).

      I still use "we demand rigidly defined areas of uncertainty" in software requirements meetings.
      • He did write alot of other stuff than just HHGTTG.
        alot of differnt shows that aired only once on the BBC and a huge amount of differnt radio shows on BBC. And of course the Detective Dirk Gently which was always my fav. A long dark tea time of the soul was the first book i read of his and any Hitchers that havent met Dirk yeah u have been missing alot. All quirky and strange but some how simple comedy that is in all the HHGTTG can also be found in Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.

    • Look! The only reason that he's wasting his breath on this role is that, being dead, he has no other use for it.

      (Sigh... he is sorely missed.)
  • by Psykopat (690928) on Monday June 21, 2004 @05:05PM (#9488703)
    ...said Agrajag. Now let's all yell : "Oh yes ! Once again !"
    • Strangely, the only thing to go through the mind of the tape recordings as they fell was "oh no, not again." It is believed that if we knew why the recordings thought this, we would know a lot more about the way the universe works.
  • by jd (1658) <.imipak. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Monday June 21, 2004 @05:09PM (#9488734) Homepage Journal
    Death isn't much of an obstacle to a great talent.


    The only other case I know of, where an author has gained additional heights of immortality through recordings is J.R.R. Tolkein, who recorded himself reading extracts from The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, plus assorted elven poems.

  • Sadly... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by feloneous cat (564318) on Monday June 21, 2004 @05:09PM (#9488738)
    I asked Douglas Adams sign a book for a friend. When he had asked about it, I said "it's for a friend"... he gave me a sad look and I felt like a heel.

    Meanwhile my wife had him sign the Apple II version of "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" Infocom game. His reaction to her was "oh, wow, I've never signed one of these".

    (sigh)
    • Wait a minute... your WIFE got him to sign a computer game rather than the book? What on earth are you sighing for?

    • My friends and I saw him at UGA when we were all 17 (1996). Being immature highschool seniors, after hearing him talk and getting an autograph we stole his evian bottle he'd been drinking from. We were typical highschool DNA-idolizing geeks.

      We'd noticed DNA sniffling and coughing the entire talk, and he mentioned he was feeling a bit off. A friend finally drank the water in the bottle, and came down with DNA's cold a day later.

      It sounds stupid (and honestly was) now, but it's amazing how "cool" it is f
  • by k4_pacific (736911) <k4_pacific@y a h oo.com> on Monday June 21, 2004 @05:09PM (#9488742) Homepage Journal
    The Bush Administration announced today that the next State of the Union Address will be delivered using Ronald Reagan's voice.
  • Brilliant (Score:2, Interesting)

    by aj50 (789101)
    I really want to hear the later books acted out on radio, the voices were so good and the fx imaginative. Only Adams could have the genius and foresight to record the part before he died and when it wasn't planned to dramatise those later books.
    • Re:Brilliant (Score:3, Informative)

      by AlecC (512609)
      Only Adams could have the genius and foresight to record the part before he died and when it wasn't planned to dramatise those later books.

      Actually, DA was trying to get the BBC to dramatise the books. It didn't come off during his lifetime, but as part of the planning for it, he did a readthrough in which he "acted" all the voices - including Agrajag, and this was taped. They reckoned they had enough to voice the (relatively minor, but very Adams-ish) part. (From BBC radio today).
  • Consistancy at last? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by techno-vampire (666512) on Monday June 21, 2004 @05:11PM (#9488762) Homepage
    In the introduction to the collection of the first four books (and short story) Douglas Adams explained why every version of HGTTG controdicted every other version. Is the BBC going to maintain this tradition, or are they going to follow the books?
    • by Ford Prefect (8777) on Monday June 21, 2004 @05:20PM (#9488852) Homepage
      The books contradict the original radio series, so no change there...

      Is anyone else still pining for the continuation of the plotlines opened in the last episode of the radio series? Arthur on a vendetta against Zaphod, with me left in the middle...

      (NB: I created this user account specifically for this story. Like my creator, I plan ahead... ;-))
      • What I'm hoping for is that they'll realize that Adams accidentally left himself an opening in the last book for a continuation: as long as The Heart of Gold is still around, literally anything can happen. I saw that when I read the book, but never mentioned it because I knew he wanted to end the series and didn't want people bugging him for Yet Another HGTTG book. Now, of course, it's safe to mention it.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2004 @06:07PM (#9489258)
          More importantly, Fenchurch just disappeared. It isn't stated she died, and she doesn't show up at Mueller's Beta in The End. She could have just wound up in yet-another-alternate-universe.

          So she could be keeping an Earth around somewhere. As far as my understanding of HHGTTG bogodynamics goes, the Vogons had to get everyone entangled with the earth back within the plural zone containing earth (and it was easiest to use temporal reverse engineering to make sure they ended up _on earth_ so there was no doubt) to trigger the collapse along the probability axis of the plural zone in which the earth resides. While the cast were off earth and interacting with matter outside earth's plural zone, they were keeping occasional earths around on the probability axis, and like a cantor set, the vogons couldn't totally erase it no matter how many earths they chomped. Or something like that. But the Vogons missed Fenchurch.

          Fenchurch disappeared during a hyperspace transit because she was from a plural zone (so was Arthur, but the story was following him not fenchurch, so even if he jumped universe/probability level _he_ wouldn't lose _himself_). It would be only fitting that the strange mathematics of the plurality could interact with Fenchurch, and, yes, maybe the Heart of Gold, and bring an earth or aleph one or so of earths back - what happens when that rubber band guy finds Fenchurch to insult her?
        • Now, of course, it's safe to mention it.

          "Ah, this is obviously some strange usage of the word safe that I wasn't previously aware of."

          I'm only being a little facetious here. I don't think I'd really want anyone else trying to continue the H2G2 line. I don't know of any authors who have a style similar to Adams, though I don't really know many authors, and any who do should have plenty of material of their own to write and don't need to go off of The Guide. I think it would be better left ended. I've seen
        • Somewhere in The Salmon of Doubt Adams writes about how the book (as a Dirk Gently novel) doesn't work, but may work as a hitchhiker story. He seems to have been considering doing such a book at some point in the future.

          As far as someone else writing one goes, I don't think it is likely to work. You would really need someone who really thinks like him in order to get the style right. I may be wrong, but I don't think that style is something you can force out of someone.

          • The odds of anybody being able to match Douglas Adams' writing style are depressingly, mindbogglingly small. I mean they're so small that the brain of Dilbert's Pointy-haird Boss looks huge in comparison. Think of the conventional probability of infinity minus one as being the size of Jupiter. Now, think of the probability of somebody writing well in Adam's style as being the size of an electron. I mean, really, really really small.
      • Well, don't worry, the new radio series is keeping up tradition and contradicting the old radio series.
  • Poetic justice (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Big Yak (441903) on Monday June 21, 2004 @05:12PM (#9488775) Homepage
    I just finished over 160 hours of driving alone.

    Rather than listen to the same 20 current "top hit" songs play for approximately 120 times each, I loaded all of the Douglas Adams audio books onto my trusty Creative Nomad 60 gig player (hey, why support the iPod -- every cent goes to the enemy! Viva la Microsoft!)

    It was the most enjoyable trip I've ever taken. I had no road rage, I smiled, I laughed, I cried. Those are great books, and I can't wait to hear them all remade again.

    If you have to drive/train/bike/job/skydive to work, you might try some audio books... they really take the edge off.
  • by cardshark2001 (444650) on Monday June 21, 2004 @05:13PM (#9488783)
    What business does he have voicing radio shows? Dead people need to be reminded of their place. Why, in my day, dead people didn't just gallavant about and muck up perfectly good radio stories. No sir, they stayed in the box (or urn) where they belonged, and were happier for it! We had a word for it - yax, which means (loosely) "person who is dead and shouldn't be doing any more voice-overs, but does them anyway out of some overblown sense of self worth".

    Get a lif.... errr.... never mind.

    • This is probably the worst case of outsourcing I have ever heard of. I thought losing my job to someone of another country was bad, but losing my job to a dead person? That's just wrong!
    • Actually, this reminds me of the HTTG Infocom game. If you let your house get knocked down by Prosser and his bulldozer, a bit of shrapnel knocks you on the head and you die.

      But since there are a few more steps to take place, the narrative continues. Regardless what you type, though, the game responds, "You stay out of this, you're dead!"

  • I'm so please that Adams will be doing his voice, because I thought of all the clever plot devices and inadvertancies in the series, Agrajag was one of my favorites. The idea that such a thing could come full circle, literally, so many times and so many ways is just too much--so much that it's a good thing!
  • Sure, 42 (Score:2, Funny)

    by Arpie (414285)
    What was the question again?
  • by Ignignot (782335) on Monday June 21, 2004 @05:18PM (#9488834) Journal
    In high school senior year brit lit, I wrote my thesis paper on the HHGttG series. In the course of my study, I (re)read the entire series in about a week and a half. The concentration of DA's work in such a short time made me a very strange person to be around for awhile... I can't think of any sort of parallel for the experience. I'll be sure to get a copy of the radio broadcast if i can though ;-) DA was a genius.
    • The concentration of DA's work in such a short time made me a very strange person to be around for awhile... I can't think of any sort of parallel for the experience.

      Well, depending on if you went to Berkeley or not, there are a few parallels which come to mind...
  • Now all I'll have to do is make sure I can listen when it's on.

    Hopefully they'll also make available over internet stream, though.

  • Agrajag is my favourite character. Life, the Universe, and Everything was so boring unitl Agrajag came along. The bes part is when his face starts getting all lacerated by his own teeth everytime he moves his mouth.
  • Finally! (Score:5, Funny)

    by nacturation (646836) <nacturation@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Monday June 21, 2004 @05:22PM (#9488868) Journal
    My sig is finally relevant to the story!
  • Audio Books... (Score:5, Informative)

    by bobej1977 (580278) * <rejamison&yahoo,com> on Monday June 21, 2004 @05:23PM (#9488878) Homepage Journal
    You can get all the books in the HG2G series in unabridged audio form, read by the man himself. They were my first purchase on audible.com and they have lived happily on my iPod ever since (in converted mp3 form).
    • I've also got H2G2 on audio book read by DA, but found his voice very hard to listen to for almost 5 hours... just seemed to give me a headache. Maybe it's just this recording (from audible.com) or the shitty iPod headphone... but I after about half an hour of H2G2 I have to go take a lie down.

      I'm sure his voice just used for a single part will be fine though.

  • by geordi177 (732884) on Monday June 21, 2004 @05:30PM (#9488943)
    Douglas Adams had a website [douglasadams.com] that he posted on. One of his last posts (less than a month before his death) I thought had an interesting connection to /. and electronic forums in general:

    "If anybody has any suggestions of features they'd like to see added (or taken away) please say so. We will of course completely ignore them. That's how the new electronic democracy works."
    - Douglas Adams talking about updating his website
  • ah hem (Score:5, Funny)

    by fizban (58094) <fizban@umich.edu> on Monday June 21, 2004 @05:40PM (#9489019) Homepage
    In related news...

    A resident of Tibet by the name of Dug lah-sa Dams was reported to have screamed "Oh no, not again!" before being accidentally run over by a bus load of tourists. The driver of the bus, one Arthur Dent, originally from England, is being held for questioning.
  • by MrP- (45616) *
    I read the series a few years ago and loved it. Last month I finally heard the BBC radio series, loved it also. I want to see the TV miniseries (its on my amazon.com wishlist... which just so happens to be linked below.. anyone feeling generous? =P)

    I cant wait for this new radio series

    I just started re-reading the series a few days ago, I want to cram myself with everything HHGTTG before the movie comes out.
    • Re:Awesome (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Angostura (703910)
      Trust me, you don't *really* want to see the TV series. Badly let down by production values. Though the book's animated graphics were quite nice (hand animated)
  • HHGTTG... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Skjellifetti (561341) on Monday June 21, 2004 @06:34PM (#9489470) Journal
    is 42 in DNA code.
  • by yoz (3735) on Monday June 21, 2004 @07:06PM (#9489692) Homepage
    The BBC mini-site for the new series is here [bbc.co.uk], and includes a short making-of video as well as an audio montage of the new stuff.

    The first of the new series (The Tertiary Phase) has been completed, and the rest are yet to be recorded.
  • One drawback... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Apostata (390629) <apostata.hotmail@com> on Monday June 21, 2004 @07:55PM (#9490018) Homepage Journal
    ...is that 'So Long, And Thanks For All the Fish" not only sucked (when a writer of humour inexplicably starts swearing somewhere in the middle of a series, it's a bad sign), it showed the limitations Adams' would show later-on as writer (unfinished story threads, complete breakdown of narrative, etc..) of the Dirk Gently books. I can't imagine ever wishing to hear SLaTFAtF put to another format, although conceivably it could only make the experience better.

    This is not flamebait - I treasure the experience of reading the first three books, but honestly, even "Life, The Universe, and Everything" became plodding after a while, despite the ingenious ideas he hatched up (ie the hair dressers).

    I will always remember Adams' books, but let's not needlessly enshrine everthing the chap wrote, eh?
    • I liked So Long And Thanks For All The Fish, though I didn't like it as much as the one before it, and that one less than the two before that.

      The one I didn't like was Mostly Harmless.
    • Re:One drawback... (Score:5, Informative)

      by metamatic (202216) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:32PM (#9490610) Homepage Journal
      "inexplicably starts swearing"?

      You must have read the censored American version of "Life, The Universe And Everything", and not the real thing [fatalmind.com].
    • I generally view the last two Hitchhiker books not so much as novels, but as a protest from Adams. He never liked writing (other than the Liff books), and he always hated being pigeonholed as the writer of the Hitchhiker series. Furthermore, he himself recognized the flaws in the last two books and blamed them, at least partially, on a turbulent personal life.

      They're not great books (though you can find great fragments of writing within them--even Mostly Harmless had some killer dialog and a few cutesy
      • ... such wonderful bits as the encounter with Agrajag, the secret of flying, Prak, Belgium, etc. By contrast, all that Restaurant... gave us was "the B Ark", the (distorted?) Ultimate Question, and a lot of (relatively) uninteresting Zaphod scenes.

        What about Disaster Area, Hotblack DeSiato (spending the year dead for tax purposes), the great Zarquon (How am I doing on time; have I just got a bi...), meeting the meat (don't worry sir, I'll be very humane), the B Ark (which I actually liked), the virulent d

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