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Douglas Adams Answers (Finally) 293

I've gotten lots of e-mail asking, "Where are Douglas Adams' answers to our questions? Has he forgotten us?" Obviously, no one was forgotten, but the man had a screenplay on deadline and had to work, work, work. Yes, if we had a hall of fame category for "Longest time between interview questions and responses to them," this one would be #1, but it was worth waiting for. Obviously there was never any cause for panic, but all true Douglas Adams fans already knew that, right?

Relationship to Terry Pratchett?
(Score:5, Interesting)
by Enoch Root

One author who is often compared to you in terms of style and humor is Terry Pratchett of Discworld fame. What is your opinion of Pratchett's work? Do you agree or disagree with the comparisons between your works?


I can't really answer this one. I've never read anything by Terry Pratchett.

God Exists
(Score:5, Interesting)
by bfree

Did you endorse the use of "Babelfish" by AltaVista or did you consider trying to prevent them from using the word as they are far from proving that God does not exist?


We are working on developing all sorts of cross-promotional opportunities between AltaVista and Does that answer the question?

Modern Culture as silly as the one in HHGTtG?
(Score:5, Interesting)
by SoupIsGood Food

In the HHGTtG series, you deal with a culture accustomed to instantaneous access to hip information -and- time-travel. It seemed to spiral in on itself, with time being as inconsequential a barrier to getting the best possible parties that geography is in the age of highways and jets.

In the contested twilight of the 20th century, we can go out on any given weekend, and find people dressed up in zoot-suits swing dancing, decked out in bell-bottoms at a disco, and rushing about outdoors attired in the shining armor of medieval knights, whacking each other with sticks.

Has the Internet and recursive nostalgia brought us to a point where modern culture is every inch as silly and fractal as the one you created?

Also: I have the phrase "Don't Panic!" marching cheerily across my web-access cell phone's display when not in use. Did you expect to see the technology you envisioned with "The Guide" come to pass in your lifetime? Are you terrified someone might come up with an infinite improbability drive sometime before dinner?


You obviously go to better parties than I do.

Comedy....or Tragedy?
(Score:5, Interesting)
by FascDot Killed My Pr

First, a big thank-you. You've made a lasting contribution to "our" culture (or should that be "culture"?)

I first read HGttG in my early teens. I doubled over laughing the whole time. I read and reread the entire series, bought both Dirk Gently books AND Last Chance to See. Loved them all and wouldn't trade having read them for anything. (btw, the first mental ward scene in Long Dark Teatime is a no-foolin', all-time classic.)

However, a few years ago I was talking to a (then) classmate. Very smart, philosophy-major type. He said (paraphrased) "I thought that HGttG was depressing. Such nihilism." At the time I thought "Hmmm...I didn't SEE a black beret on his head....". But every reading of the series since then his comment has struck me as more true--especially in the case of Arthur Dent. In fact, far from being funny, I now find Dent's character depressing--he's not just a loser, he literally has no control over his life at all (except in So Long for a while). And the control he does have does him no good (e.g. Earth is destroyed while he's trying to save his house.)

So my question is: When you were writing these books did you feel you were being gaily whimsical or did you instead feel frustrated and cynical?


I suspect there is a cultural divide at work here. In England our heroes tend to be characters who either have, or come to realise that they have, no control over their lives whatsoever Pilgrim, Gulliver, Hamlet, Paul Pennyfeather (from Decline and Fall) Tony Last (from A Handful of Dust). We celebrate our defeats and our withdrawals the Battle of Hastings, Dunkirk, almost any given test match. There was a wonderful book published, oh, about twenty years ago I think, by Stephen Pile called the Book of Heroic Failures. It was staggeringly huge bestseller in England and sank with heroic lack of trace in the U.S. Stephen explained this to me by saying that you cannot make jokes about failure in the States. It's like cancer, it just isn't funny at any level. In England, though, for some reason it's the thing we love most. So Arthur may not seem like much of a hero to Americans he doesn't have any stock options, he doesn't have anything to exchange high fives about round the water-cooler. But to the English, he is a hero. Terrible things happen to him, he complains about it a bit quite articulately, so we can really feel it along with him - then calms down and has a cup of tea. My kind of guy!

I've hit a certain amount of difficulty over the years in explaining this in Hollywood. I'm often asked 'Yes, but what are his goals?' to which I can only respond, well, I think he'd just like all this to stop, really. It's been a hard sell. I rather miss David Vogel from the film process. He's the studio executive at Disney who was in charge of the project for a while, but has since departed. There was a big meeting at one time to discuss, amongst other things, Arthur's heroicness or lack of it. David suddenly asked me 'Does Arthur's presence in the proceedings make a difference to the way things turn out?' to which I said, slightly puzzled, 'Well, yes.' David smiled and said 'Good. Then he's a hero.'

In the current, latest version of the screenplay, I think that Arthur's non-heroic heroism is now absolutely preserved, and I'm pleased with the way he works out.

In respect of the screenplay, I'd just mention a couple of things. I finished and delivered this new draft last week, and it's suddenly really working in a way that no previous version really did. It's a very hard circle to square that it should on the one hand be true to the spirit of Hitchhiker, and that on the other hand it should work as a structured movie with a beginning, a middle and an end, and character motivation and so on. Well, I think we've finally got there, after all these years. The other thing I want to touch on is this. There was a bit of a commotion on the Web last month about a version of the screenplay that got leaked, and which people didn't like very much. There is a whole story to be told about that script and the role it played in the politics of the development process, but now is not the time and maybe there won't ever be a time. But it wasn't my script and bears very little relation to any script of mine. The new script is my script and I'm extremely pleased with it.

Interconnectedness of all things.
(Score:5, Funny)
by Spud the Ninja

Dear Mr. Adams.

While the Hitchhikers' Guide trilogy is very good (I own a copy of the omnibus), I couldn't help but notice that it has 5 (five) parts. For this reason, I enjoy the Dirk Gently books greatly. My question is this:

What is your favourite type of cheese for cucumber, tomato and onion sandwiches on a nice French bread?



(Score:5, Interesting)
by MosesJones

There was a Radio Series, a TV series, the books... but no film. What stopped Zaphod becoming the most self-centred person in Hollywood?


My answer above will throw some light on this. But there are some other points. The story started on radio. And while radio and cinema are both extremely visual media (yes, I meant to say that) the way in which they each create pictures is very different. Sound is very important to both of them, but on radio you create pictures with words, and in cinema you create them with cameras. Translating between the two of them is a big stretch. (TV is the worst of both worlds. It's not as good at words as radio is because the pictures are a distraction which demand attention, and it's not as good as cinema because the pictures are not nearly as good.) However, I think we are now well on the way to solving these problems, and I hope that the movie will work out just great. I am very much looking forward to working with Jay Roach, whom I feel very fortunate to have fallen in with.

Interesting Music Software
(Score:5, Interesting)
by weston

In Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, the character Richard MacDuff is obsessed with mapping natural processes into music. I really enjoyed this book; not only was it fun to read, it started me thinking about the relationship between math and music when I was a wee lad of 16 (and I still think it's the sort of thing that might be stimulating to young minds; I gave out the fictional essay "Music and Fractal Landscapes" to my high school students this last semester, and some of them took to the ideas. Some of them thought I was a jerk, though).

But my question is: are there any music composition software packages/languages/environments that you find interesting? Anything that Richard MacDuff would find fascinating?


There's one particular package that I bought and found very promising, though I have to confess that I never found the time to climb its steep learning curve. It's called MAX, and it's a high level object oriented music programming language. You can find information about it at

Distributing copyrighted media over the internet
(Score:5, Interesting)
by Cycon

As someone whose writing talent and sense of humor many of us in the Slashdot community have come to admire and respect, could you explain to us your stance on some of the current issues regarding distributing copyrighted material over the Internet?

For instance, the original BBC recordings of The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy have made frequent appearances on various pirate music sites, and they show up frequently in searches on Napster. What are your feelings on this sort of thing? Also, although I'm not aware of it happening currently, how do you think you might react to discovering that some of your various novels were being traded online?

Finally, many of us feel that the issue revolves around one of availability - for instance, if I knew that I could purchase digital recordings of the original HGTTG broadcast over the internet, I would be happy to do so, but as far as I am aware, such a distribution scheme is not currently available. Do you think that this is merely a cut-and-dry issue of intellectual property theft, or do you feel that issues such as these point out that maybe it is time for the publishing industries of these various forms of media need to redefine the way they do business?


I don't think the issues are cut and dried at all, and I think that we will see new models emerge. I don't think any of us can really predict exactly how they will work, but I do think that any model which fundamentally prevents people getting something they want is going to fail. We shouldn't be trying to prevent copying, just trying to make sure that the creator of the copyright gets something for his or her work when it happens.

However, under the current state of copyright law, copyright holders are obliged to protect their rights aggressively, or lose the right to protect them at all. That's why you'll often see people (such as me) whose natural instinct is to be a little flexible and forgiving in this area having instead to take a tough stand.

In fact, there is a very simple way of getting hold of digital recordings of the original Hitchhiker BBC broadcasts. We sell the CDs off my Web site, at

Is Radio Drama Dead, or Can the Internet Save It?
(Score:5, Interesting)
by Cy Guy

The Hitch Hiker's Guide is probably the most well-known, if not the only known radio drama to gen-Xrs in the U.S. Do you think that given the vast array of media available today the Radio Drama as an art form is dead? Or do you think it can survive as Internet based streaming audio because the audience can listen to it at a time and place that is convenient to them, and there is a revenue model that works for U.S. listeners?


I think that radio is a great dramatic art form. In the UK it never has died, though obviously it has fewer listeners than it did before TV came along. I'd love to see it gain a new lease of life on the Internet, and I strongly feel that one of the things that might drive this is if the BBC created dozens and dozens of streaming channels and started to pump out all of the radio drama and comedy they have had sitting in their vaults for decades. They could do it on a very cheap subscription basis, and I guarantee you that there are lots of absolute gems sitting there. And a lot of dross as well, of course but there's nothing better for promoting creativity in a medium than making an audience feel "Hmm I could do better than that!'

How do you feel...
(Score:5, Interesting)
by Wah

....about predicting the Internet?

My mental image of the the Guide (outside of the Don't Panic sticker) was a laptop computer with high speed access. The big hint was when you said (paraphrased) "The Guide contains vast amount of information on every conceivable concept, much of it completely erroneous or actively dangerous." That's about the best description of the Net I've seen, and it came about before the thing was mainstream. I guess my question is, Have you ever thought of it that way? Do you like turkey? And what's the deal with Smithers?


Yes, the Web/net is a bit like that. And I think the reason it's like that is that it is essentially just people talking to each other.

I think that turkey is just big, bland, dry chicken.

I've consulted my lawyer and I have no deal with Smithers.

The Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster
(Score:5, Funny)
by phossie

What is the origin of the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster, and how would you make one on Earth?

I need to know.


Unfortunately there are a number of environmental and weapons treaties and laws of physics which prevent one being mixed on Earth. Sorry.


This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Douglas Adams Answers (Finally)

Comments Filter:
  • Given the obvious thought and length of these answers, I can see why it took so long for this interview to come back :)

    For some reason, I get the feeling the DNA just doesn't like to write that much. (Where is A Salmon of Doubt, damn it!)
  • The subject says it, I think.
  • by kwsNI ( 133721 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:08AM (#985873) Homepage
    What a cool interview. I think he must have had his pet mice :) write it for him.

    Mods, if you haven't read his books and don't know that mice are the smartest creatures on Earth, don't mod me down :)...

    No, seriously though. It's a great interview. It's nice to see someone put so much thought and effort into one of these. Definately worth the wait. I think I'll even go out and buy another one of his books today.


  • by Backline ( 202972 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:08AM (#985874) Homepage

    DAMN IT. I was hoping he would tell us how the hell the dolphins got off planet earth before it was destroyed by the vogons to make a hyperspace bypass

    I was hoping to employ the same technique to get out of work for a coupla days


  • I'm not sure he's totally right about failures not being funny in the US, but it IS an interesting point.

    Now if only we hadn't gotten so many "pan-galactic gargle-blaster" questions modded up to +5 we could have had a good interview going here.
    Less money, less admin, less machine--more power
  • by AntiPasto ( 168263 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:12AM (#985876) Journal
    National public radio, and Public Radio International have amazing shows... All Things Considered and Morning Edition on NPR are *by far* better than most TV news shows I know of... and programs like A Prairie Home Companion [] illustrate quality culture in radio that I wouldn't miss.


  • by wugmump ( 6611 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:13AM (#985877) Homepage
    Max is no longer sold or maintained by Opcode, which has been absorbed into the Giant Sucking Sound that is Gibson, Inc. Instead, David Zicarelli, one of the original developers of the application, has re-taken control of the software. Downloads, information, pricing and ordering stuff can be found at Cycling '74 [].

    Also, there's a fantastic DSP addon to Max called MSP, which manipulates waveforms and ADSR info the same way Max manipulates MIDI information. This is the multimedia development environment of the future. Share the joy!


  • Damn!

    If he's ever in America I shall have to kidnap him and cook him a turkey. That's the problem with British cooks...

    On the other hand, their beer is a lot better than ours...

  • There's a certain dry quality to some of DNA's answer's, isn't there? Reminds me of a section I enjoyed in Neil Gaimain's (I think) book about the HHGTTG series: it had some fan mail Adams had received, especially letters with a lot of questions in, together with his replies. The one that sticks in the memory went:

    Q. Have you ever been contacted by the intergalactic police concerning the whereabouts of Zaphod Beeblebrox?

    A. No. They are fictional characters.

    No? Oh well, I thought it was funny.


  • I would have liked to see a few more serious
    questions, but on the whole, interesting stuff.

    I can hardly wait for the movie. I'm curious as
    to which existing script it'll follow closest.
    (the radio series, tv series, or books--they're
    all fairly different)

  • by webword ( 82711 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:17AM (#985881) Homepage
    (1) Douglas Adams cares about fish. "So Long, and Thanks for All The Fish"
    (2) Penguins like fish.
    (3) Linux mascot is a penguin.
    (4) Therfore, Linux likes fish.
    (5) Damn, that's not it.
    (6) Therefore, Douglass Adams cares about responding quickly to our questions.
    (7) No, That's not it.
    (8) Penguins like Linux. That's it.
    (9) Uh, no, you idiot. That's not the answer.
    (10) What is the Answer?
    (42) This space left intentionally blank.
  • No, no you got it wrong.

    The mice wrote it, But DA is THEIR pet. Currently he's just a mouthpiece until they get the giant robot bodies working.

  • Hmmmmm, it took him that long to answer half his questions with one-liners? That's pretty disappointing. Of course, maybe that's because we moderated up only very silly questions.
  • I'm so glad that DA was very *appropriate* with his answers... Very quick, short, and to the point... its nice to see that he was willing to tease us a bit with plans, as well as give Slashdot back some humor with a few answers (like the last one!)

    I totally agree with English literature to be rather anti-heroic in US standards... this is a constant theme in Brit Lit, and I think quite a nice mindset, and would be a large part of HHGTTG's appeal to me.

    Americans are too power/glory hungry, and the anti-hero theme gave me insight into balance, and acceptance of life, instead of living in a fantasy world.


  • Well as any DA fan should know, he hates deadlines. Did you really expect him to meet this one?
  • Don't forget Douglas Adams has also been involved in a few excellent computer games:

    HHGTTG: an Infocom classic text adventure.
    Bureaucracy: Another Infocom text adventure
    Starship Titanic: Graphical adventure.

    All of which you can find on eBay most of the time. One even contains Peril-Sensitive sunglasses.

    I didn't play the last, since it was in the middle of the Titanic hype and some girl had just made me sit through that movie twice. HHGTTG is a true classic, and was the first adventure game I got through without any hints. I played it on a CGA-equipped genuine IBM PC with one of those excellent clicky keyboards, and enjoyed every second. It also made me more curious about tea, which I rediscovered and learned how to make properly as a result.

    Crowther and Woods' Colossal Cave Adventure was the first one I ever played, on a family friend's CP/M system. But HHGTTG and that clicky keyboard were the things that made me really decide that I was going to do something with computers. Thanks Douglas, you changed my life!
  • by Golias ( 176380 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:24AM (#985887)
    If you go back to the /. archive of when the questions were asked, there were probably about two dozen people that asked "what is your next book likely to be, and is it coming anytime soon?"

    Since the mod points were split up between them, none of them rose as high as the question about his favorite cheese.

    There were several other really good potential questions, but instead we get two questions about the same upcoming film. Alas.

    Perhaps the method of moderating and selecting /. interview questions should be re-examined.

  • But the green guy from the Hitch Hikers Guide book covers is being used on some adult links site full of porn ads.

    Here []

    He's on that page more than once. Not sure if anyone else mentioned it before or noticed.

  • Homer has got to be one of the biggest failures ever, but he's still funny and the Simpson's are on TV. Although Homer does have control (sometimes) of his life, so I guess that doen't really compare with what he was saying... oh well.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:26AM (#985890)
    How can you have a Douglas Adams Q and A and not cover his time as a writer for Dr. Who? Such as how much his was responsible for Tom Baker's jokes. Such as the Zoroastrian elements. Such as how much working on the show influenced him. Et cetera.
  • by / ( 33804 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:26AM (#985891)
    I had hoped he'd answer my question about what influence the writings of Lewis Carroll had on him. It had gotten modded up to +5, but perhaps it contained one-too-many references to 42 and got unilaterally rejected on those grounds.

    If anyone knows the answer, please speak up. This one's bothered me for the last decade or so.
  • by Johnath ( 85825 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:27AM (#985892) Homepage
    Also, although I'm not aware of it happening currently, how do you think you might react to discovering that some of your various novels were being traded online?

    I think the trade in novels online was just waiting for a vessel to carry it, and with palm pilots now shipping with up to 8M of ram, the opening has presented itself. Check out this site: jects/palm/palmtext.html []

    which for better or for worse, has all five books of the hitchhiker trilogy in iSilo (reader software for palmpilot) and ascii format. I think it would be really great if DA could stick to his "more lenient side" and not take a hard line on things like this, they really are great for reading on the subway - but at very least, the site seems topical.


    PS - Without meaning to flame, bitch, or otherwise irritate people, I had expected... I dunno... more, from DA. Am I the only one who felt that the only questions that got more than three words were the ones promoting the movie or his website(s)? No disrespect intended, the man has 7 times the genius in his pinky that I have along my entire left side, but...shrug... I was expecting more.
  • by wishus ( 174405 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:27AM (#985893) Journal
    DA's contrast between american and english humor was interesting - I've never seen the "failure" take on it before, although it works quite well.

    In even the worst american humor (Jim Carey, in my opinion) the protagonist accomplishes something.. There is catharsis, the impression that he has done something.

    While not all British humor centers around failure, it is certainly present. If you think about MP's "Holy Grail", the knights of the round table are certainly failures.. Sir Robin, the brave? ".. He bravely ran away...".. And riding pretend horses while banging coconuts.. these guys are complete losers..

    I've always found english humor much better than american humor, but then people here have always thought i was strange, too.

  • I hope everyone above is joking because that was possibly the worst interview I've read on /..
    Non-answers, flip-answers, and plugs for products. It's like Woody Allen fanatics that laugh at the credits because they are so droll and insightful.
    I love the guys writing, read 3 Hitchhikers, but peeyoo.
  • I don't really think he's "infamous" for hating deadlines. Since when is hating deadlines considered an evil or bad thing?

    infamy (nf-m) n., pl. infamies.

    1. Evil fame or reputation.
    2. The condition of being infamous. See Synonyms at disgrace.
    3. An evil or criminal act that is publicly known.

  • by SoupIsGood Food ( 1179 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:29AM (#985896)
    <em>You obviously go to better parties than I do. </em>

    I'm a reclusive misanthropist, I don't go to parties. There is a startlingly profound difference between "go to" and "somehow wind up at".

    SoupIsGood Food
  • by DebtAngel ( 83256 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:29AM (#985897) Homepage
    Read So Long and Thanks for the Fish again. They found a planet clos to earth in another dimension, and being smarter than us, went there.

    They then, kindly enough, did exactly the same thing to the human race. But, knowing the human race like they did, they quite rightly sent humans to a different planet than they went to.

    The real question is what happened to the mice.

    It takes just a *little* reading between the lines, but not a heck of a lot.
  • You must be somewhere in the US without microbreweries. Here in Oregon we have more breweries than in Germany. There are 7 brewpubs within 2 miles of my home.
    Before writing off US beer come to Oregon.
  • Where was the deeper meaning of 42 explained? Quite a big hole left with What do you get when you multiply six by nine? (Grunt)

  • It is important to remember that often an author is very separate and distinct from the characters he/she creates. I know my expectation was for witty and tongue in cheek and other Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect-esque responses. And yet, we had the true blue Douglas Adams talking to us.
  • Actually...I just looked at the new copies of the books on He's not on them anymore? My copies are ancient.
  • by imac.usr ( 58845 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:30AM (#985902) Homepage
    they must have an unimaginable amount of radio material from their history (assuming it hasn't been tossed out as with the Dr. Who debacle), and I for one wouldn't mind hearing it streamed via RealPlayer/QuickTime/whatever.

    I probably wouldn't want to pay to subscribe to it, though. And how likely is the Beeb to do such a thing for free, coming from a land where license fees for radios and TVs help make up their operating budget?

    (note: that's not a rhetorical question.)

  • I think genius also comprises of when *not* to talk... I think he knew we were all superfans, and that anything we did would not be enough...


  • I must agree. I didn't have a TV for my five year stint in college, and I had to rely on the radio for news and entertainment. NPR kept me better informed about world news and events than people watching the standard 5/6/7 o'clock news shows. It has less bias and almost no corporate censorship of news events that the other news channels carry. The commentaries, stories, and shows are also amazingly entertaining. It is just a shame more people are not listening or know about it.
  • for what? The fish? ;)
  • My theory is that the Dolphins stumbled across their own version of the Electronic Thumb. Either that, or they had enough tid-bits from all those sunken ships that they could talk the Rich Kids (you know... the ones that liked to harass the yokels...) into taking them off-planet.

    Of course, we may never really know for sure... 8\

    Just another computer geek....
  • I think it's interesting that a good writer like Douglas Adams) answers questions in less words than a musician (Lars).

    To paraphrase John Byrne, I think it was, (the great comic book artist), once said that drawing was not about making a lot of marks and lines to create something, but to use only those absolutely necessary to make it recognizeable. The art is in knowing what not to draw, or say.

    In conclusion, that's why metallica sucks.
  • History is littered with people whose first works (in whatever medium) are greated with acclaim and are elevated to classics and the creators deified.

    DNA is just such a person. He's managed what others have only glimpsed, like the Beatles changing styles from album to album, but not like Python who've been abusing the same sixth form gags for 30 years, he has been trying to outgrow his roots.

    The radio series was wonderful (if you don't own the CDs, go buy. Now) the books translated them to a new form.

    His subsequent ventures have seen a few flops, but they have been different.

    I saw him lecture a few years ago on some element of futurism and I really got the feeling he was looking at the world through slightly different eyes and it was a privilege to glimpse his perceptions.

    One thing that has always surprised me - and he touched on it in some of his answers - that such a basically English (not British) sense of humour is such a hit in the US. Why is that?
  • That's the problem with British cooks...

    Hey, but they make great fish & chips.


  • Radio dramas are rarely heard in the US, in Seattle, WA we had (still have?) a sunday night radio drama show on one station. Its on late at night and I haven't checked for it in quite a while, but it still may be running.

    Back in the olde days radio drama was the big thing. There were cool sound effects and good voice actors. The plays were written so you could follow the action only with your imagination.

    Nowadays most radio stations are too concerned with providing either the latest new music or up-to-the-date traffic and weather to bother spending money on quality radio drama. Another excellent program that I haven't heard in a long time in the Seattle area is Music with Moscowitz, the last station I heard it on switched formats and dropped it, when it was the highest rated show in its time slot!

    Eric is chisled like a Greek Godess

  • by KahunaBurger ( 123991 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:41AM (#985916)
    I'm a crossover Adams/Pratchett fan muself, and I was pretty put off by his (lack of) answer to that question. Even if he really hasn't read any of the other author's work, he could have said something, even if it was only "Americans think we're the same because we're both british humour writers, but there are actually many differences in narrative style." Or, "he sucks because he's selling more new books."

    The non-answer almost made me think that maybe he's jealous of Pratchett's current surge in popularity, and I'm getting sick of my favorite authors turning out to be petty dicks as people (JMS, James Randi, the guy who wrote West SIde Story... Stephen King had a short story about the phenomenon.) I would have rather had something more definitly positive or negitive of the Pratchett comparison, if not the books themselves.

    -Kahuna Burger

  • by mcgregorj ( 114352 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:41AM (#985917)

    In fact, it's really not dead. For a program which looks at American culture in an off-beat way which many Douglas Adams fans (and people who like the stranger things in life) would appreciate, check out This American Life. []

    You won't be disappointed.

  • by Dr. Blue ( 63477 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:43AM (#985918)

    Actually, in the mid 80's there was an O'Charlie's restaurant in Nashville that made a drink called a "Pan-galactic Gargle-Blaster" in honor of the HHG series. They even had a (unofficial) contest going on who drank the most. We got into some serious trouble one night when I tied the previous record (5) and a friend beat it with 6. Ever see anyone do a slow-motion sideways fall from a high barstool? At least it seemed slow-motion to me at that time! :-)

    I think some of the people I hung out with at the time snarfed the drink recipe, but I wouldn't have a clue where it is now.... :-(
  • One thing that has always surprised me - and he touched on it in some of his answers - that such a basically English (not British) sense of humour is such a hit in the US. Why is that?

    Because, the Political Correct Crowd notwithstanding, the US is essentially English. Our culture is deeply rooted there. We have flavored things from the immigrants who came afterwards, we grew while facing challenges that our cousins back home never did, and we accomplished great things.

    My heritage is half German, but I recognize my culture is essentially English. I cherish the traditions from my German ancestors, but the language and social structure bear more upon our society than anything else.

  • by _Swank ( 118097 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:52AM (#985932)
    I disagree with you that Homer is actually a failure, at least in the same sense that Douglas Adams is speaking of. Sure, Homer is definitely a bit dim-witted, lazy, and pretty much everything else that would and/or should lead someone to being a dismal failure. Yet despite, or maybe due to the overabundance, of these traits he actually succeeds. His brief, but semi-successful singing career, his stint as an astronaut, his boxing breakthrough, and nearly every other misadventure of Homer's are really things that we envision "successful" people doing. I think it is probably that mix of the stereotypical traits of a failure with the fruits of success that gives Homer his appeal.

    Over-analyzing the Simpsons....
  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:52AM (#985933) Homepage Journal

    In the US, failures are only funny when there's either slapstick going on, or it's a comedy of errors; But very nearly every movie in the US has a happy ending, so any failures along the way are just plot complications.

    There's a movie containing Michael Douglas called Falling Down [] which I have not seen, but am told is just a movie about a guy having about as bad a day as you can possibly experience without being in a POW camp someplace. In essence, it's a story about a kind of failure... So I wouldn't say there are no examples of movies about Failure in the US, but then, I don't know how the movie ends, either.

    I do know that people who post spoilers are bad, however, and being naughty in my sight, they shall snuff it.

    In any case, America is an extremely young nation with very little history of its own, even as compared to England. Let's face it, we only go back a couple hundred years. We're sensitive about our failures in the same way that a boy just past puberty is insecure about his sexual orientation; History speaks for itself, but we (as a nation, not individuals necessarily) still get defensive when someone brings up something embarrassing. Remember the Alamo?

  • by GoVegan ( 72692 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @07:53AM (#985936)
    I think Drew Carey covers the antihero thing pretty well: An overweight geek with huge Buddy Holly glasses who has been in the same job for ten+ years.

    I enjoy seeing him fail. His character was promoted temporarily, but from the second it happened I enjoyed waiting for him to plummet back to where he was before. The show is supposed to be about a loser and his three loser friends.

  • Disney?

    He's letting the same people who felt no compunctions at all about letting Quasimodo ride off into the sunset with Esmerelda or the Little Mermaid avoid becoming seafoam make his books into a movie?

    Please say it ain't so...


  • Well....yes, I suppose, you're probably right: radio dramas are an extinguished breed. However, I'd like more to comment on the poster of the original question: No, the HGttG broadcasts are NOT the only known radio dramas; you left out the Star Wars radio dramas. Those deserve mention, if for no other reason than they showed surprising initiative at the time.
  • I asked if he had given permission to Altavista to use the name BabelFish and the answer was that they are working on cross-developments between altavista and h2g2! Sounds to me like that is about the best proof that
    he's not got the slightest interest in slashdot, except as a vehicle to push all his latest and greatest creations
    I am amazed at such commercial superficiality from a man who can write such an brilliantly amusing piece of insightful predictive cynicism (see comments on anti-heroism, they are a flavour of my own view that the HitchHickers is the most depressing book around...I love it though)
  • by DrEldarion ( 114072 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [0791uhcsm]> on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @08:03AM (#985945)
    Mods, if you haven't read his books and don't know that mice are the smartest creatures on Earth

    Hm, so they must just be letting us THINK that we made them smarter... []. Ingenious.

    -- Dr. Eldarion --
  • (1) Douglas Adams likes fish (2) Penguins like fish (3) Linux mascot is a penguin (4) Linux runs on Macs (5) Douglas Adams uses a Mac (6) sorry for the inconvenience
  • I don't think the HHGTTG can claim be the first, in that succeeding similar ideas (such as Everything) rip it off. It's just too much of a broad concept. However, once DNA saw the possibilities (read: commercial) in Everything, *then* he created H2G2.

    As for your last point, no, I think it's astonishingly precocious if an author does not care about his audience, and still expects to be taken seriously. Some artists claim that their work is for themself, and others liking it is just a lucky chance, but that sounds desperately conceited. DNA is quite happy to reap the rewards of his popularity, but if it was more widely known that he is, at least metaphorically, raising the finger to his audience, his income would drop.

    And stop flamebaiting. I have more personal relationships than you have (Insert comical yet insulting value here).

    --Remove SPAM from my address to mail me
  • I visited Islington a few weeks ago, and must say that I was quite amused that there's a Hotblack Desiato Realtors.

    The Islington one was the original: DA saw the name, thought it was cool and used it (with permission).

  • by autechre ( 121980 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @08:14AM (#985955) Homepage
    Since he mentioned MAX, I feel that I should post a reminder that while MAX is a commercial program for MacOS, you can get jMax, the descendent, free for Linux and SGI.

    You need the JDK, Swing, and libaudiofile (probably have that anyway) to compile it. Everything but Swing can be found in packages (at least, for Debian), and Swing is also free (beer).

    What is it? Well, it's a programming language for music. You can either do it textually or graphically. What you do is create little modules, and link them together via "patch cables". Each module could be a slider, wah-wah, sine generator, or whatever. It also allows for time-programmed events. Once linked together, you can then "run" this "program" to produce sound.

    I've only just gotten time to start with it in the past few days, but as someone who's been doing music for years, it's truly incredible to me. And I also like the fact that it's one app Linux has that Windows doesn't :)

    ps: Aphex Twin uses MAX. If you haven't listened to his stuff, do so immediatly.
  • So Arthur may not seem like much of a hero to Americans he doesn't have any stock options, he doesn't have anything to exchange high fives about round the water-cooler. But to the English, he is a hero. Terrible things happen to him, he complains about it a bit quite articulately, so we can really feel it along with him - then calms down and has a cup of tea. My kind of guy!

    He's right about English culture, you know. In the immortal words of Floyd:

    Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.
    Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
    Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
    The time is gone, the song is over, thought I'd something more to say.

  • I love deadlines.. especially that "whooshing" sound they make as they go by.

    Never knock on Death's door.
    Ring the doorbell and run
    (He hates that).
  • disney, as in hollywood pictures.

    'disney,' remember, owns a lot of other companies that make films that are not strictly 'disney' films.

    i think that, if anyone were to try and dismember the hitchhiker plotline so thoroughly as that of "hunchback," mr. adams would very quickly extricate himself and his franchise from the process.
  • Is it just me or has anybody else gone through 6-7 copies of the hitch hiker series as books loaned never come back?
  • yes, i listened to the seattle show. i believe it was called "mystery radio theater", and was on kiro radio [].

    i eventually got sick of the writing, which was horrible.

    looks like they aren't playing it anymore, but they are still playing "when radio was", show that plays old radio dramas. lots of good stuff.


  • Or, maybe, the fans of Douglas Adams realize that we might as well not waste points on that question, because he'll NEVER answer it.

    I think the system worked perfectly here.
    No more e-mail address game - see my user info. Time for revenge.
  • Of course! The meaning of Liff was/is my favourite - every couple of months I just have to leaf through the book. There is even a Finnish version of the book - very good version, I have to admit. Translation would not work so the Finnish team made a book about Finnish city/county/community names. The name of the book is "Elimäen tarkoitus" - they even managed to 'translate' the joke ("The meaning of Life" is "Elämän tarkoitus" in Finnish and "Elimäen" is a small city in Finland - actually Elimäki, but conjugated)
  • by pudge ( 3605 )
    The question about best-known radio drama ... I've been told I am a gen-x-er, and I didn't know H2G2 was a radio drama. I grew up with Green Hornet and The Shadow. Oh well.
  • by PurpleBob ( 63566 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @08:49AM (#985986)
    Doug has expressed in the past how much he hates that green guy, which was invented by his American publishers. A fitting end for the green guy, I guess.
    No more e-mail address game - see my user info. Time for revenge.
  • My copy of Lewis Carroll's Games and Puzzles mentions that LC had a huge fascination with the number 42 and encoded it everywhere in his books (he was a mathematician). It seemed reasonable to me that DA got the number from LC, but it would be nice to know for sure.

    Marc A. Lepage (aka SEGV)
  • What is the origin of the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster, and how would you make one on Earth? I need to know.

    Since you can't make one on Earth (the treaties could probably be ignored, but the laws of physics are going to be a bit tricky) you need to find a substitute. I've found the Zombie to be a crude but effective substitute. Some nice fruit juice, lots of Rum. YMMV.

    Or you can always fall back to gin-and-tonics, which are available in every culture.

  • by PurpleBob ( 63566 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @08:53AM (#985992)
    Last I heard, the movie was being made by Miramax, which is a division of Disney, but it's also the same division that made Pulp Fiction. That might put things in perspective.
    No more e-mail address game - see my user info. Time for revenge.
  • question []? Jeez, that's what I get for leaving the questions to others.
  • Another movie that breaks the traditional mold of American "happy-ending" films is another Douglas picture called "War of the Roses", a dark comedy about a bitter divorce (the ex-wife-to-be is played by Kathleen Turner) -- all I will say is that there ain't no happy ending.

    Suprisingly enough, a third Douglas film, Fatal Attraction, originally had an ending where Glenn Close's (?) character, rather than the attack Douglas and his wife, commits suicide and frames Douglas for her murder. (Psychologists said that this original ending was far more realistic behaviour for the type of disorder Close's character exhibited.) The depressing ending didn't test well, and was replaced by the more traditional ending where despite all his faults, Douglas' character becomes a hero of sorts.


  • by Anonymous Coward
    In England our heroes tend to be characters who either have, or come to realise that they have, no control over their lives whatsoever

    I guess that explains English cooking.
  • I wonder if Douglas Adams had read the book The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody by Will Cuppy?

    The book consists of a series of essays on well-known figures of history, with the main text giving the (usually) straight dope and the many, many footnotes (a Cuppy trademark) making fun of it all. Underneath the footnote humor was a wonderful set of irreverent observations, some of which struck me as fodder for master thesis topics for historian candidates.

    Failure, presented in a funny way.

    As I recall, the book was on the USA best-seller list for weeks. I didn't see it until much later (in paperback). If my history classes had been taught in this way, I might have been hooked on history instead of bits.

  • Here here! although guiness is Irish ;)
  • What did you expect? If he didn't know the guy's work, then he couldn't comment on it. Period.
  • Excellent idea. Now that Douglas Adams has answered, please see if Terry Pratchett is willing to participate.


    - His books appeal to many geeks.
    - He was an active participant in the Usenet group last time I checked (a year or two ago, admittedly). So he'd be likely to support this kind of interview.
    - He recently toured the States to promote "The 5th Elephant". Ok, maybe that's not an entirely valid reason, but I got my photo taken with him in Minneapolis which was way cool.
    - I'm not interested in a flame war, but it would be very interesting to find out what (if any) opinion Pratchett has on Adams' writing style.
  • It takes time and energy to do radio drama, but mostly it takes someone with the vision and energy to do it properly, and a station willing both to put up the money for it and to air it without worrying whether it will drop their ratings because it isn't exactly in their format. It works quite well on Seattle's KIRO. I haven't checked in the last few months, but last I heard it was still running on the weekends barring baseball/football games. It fits well into KIRO's format (primarily news/talk) and demographic (25+, tending toward affluence), and producer Jim French obviously brings a passion to it. Not many radio stations have that sort of combination any more; geez, most radio stations would be lost if they couldn't play the same fifty songs over and over.

    I'd like to see Moscowitz get on the air again, or even better, onto a streaming audio server. He's sort of a low-rent, home-grown Dr. Demento who runs (ran) a couple of hours of novelty tunes, followed by a couple of hours of really old country. We're talking everything from The Prisoner's Song and Sons of the Pioneers through Bob Wills, Bill Monroe, Ernest Tubb, Kitty Wells, Patsy Cline and on down to maybe the early seventies. I liked it, and I don't care much for country.
  • Not quite. Consider it from a legal standpoint. If DA hasn't read any of Pratchett's work, DA can't be accused of being derivative. I don't think he dodged the question, he just seemed to be answering honestly: he hasn't read Pratchett's work, so he can't give an informed opinion.

    As far as Adams being a putz as a person, I'd also have to disagree. I managed to stumble into him at E3 a couple of years ago (he was there for Starship Titanic). He was very nice and took time to answer a couple of questions about the game. Keep in mind that this was not at the official signing thingy. He easily could have said "terribly sorry, I'm late for an appointment," but did not.

    Call it an attempt at increasing good word-of-mouth PR for the game, if you like, but he managed to convince me that's he's basically a likeable person.


  • Many, many years ago I picked up a book entitled "Don't Panic," a companion book to the HHGTtG. It was written by Neil Gaiman (I had no idea who he was at the time - today I'm a huge fan of his as well.) Mr. Gaiman spent a lot of time researching it and talking with Mr. Adams - and he answers a lot of questions that /. posters posed, but weren't moderated high enough to be submitted. (An example: who Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings was based on is addressed in the book.) Its a wonderful source of detail and trivia re: the original trilogy (I don't think So Long... is covered in it.)

    Good luck finding it - I'll pull it off the shelf tonight and append this comment with the publisher's info as soon as I can.
  • by emerson ( 419 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @11:26AM (#986056)
    When Metallica is slow to answer, Slashdot runs a snitty article [] complaining about it.

    When Mr. Adams is even slower to answer, Slashdot takes this "that's-ok-we-know-you're-busy" stance.

    Hmmn. Double Standard? Editorial Spin?

    Or maybe it's just that putting out a "Douglas Adams slow to answer" article won't generate the same amount of controversy (read: thousand$ of ad banner impre$$ion$) as anything about Metallica?

    In either case, it seems Slashdot's description would more correctly be "Strong Opinions from Editor Nerds. Stuff that we think matters."

  • Brazil wasn't anything to do with satisfying viewers in both the US and the UK. For example, a similar kind of thing happens in Life, the Universe, and Everything, where Arthur Dent turns up at the universe's longest running party. It is some kind of awards ceremony where people are being given a "Rory" award. In the US version, it is being given out for

    "The Most Gratuitous Use Of The Word 'Belgium' In A Serious Screenplay"
    while in the UK version, it is being given out for

    "The Most Gratuitious Use Of The Word 'Fuck' In A Serious Screenplay"
    which is a very different kettle of fish altogether. In the US version, it gives a load of explanatory information about the word 'Belgium' (ripped from Episode 10 of the radio series, but with an edit over the F-word), while in the UK version, it just gets to the point. Let's face it, it wasn't particularly funny in the radio series (although my tape copy provided some unintentional humour by saying "un-f(bleeped)up personality" in respect to use of dirty words in public.)

    This happened to Gilliam's Brazil as well. Gilliam wanted the original edit of the film, but Universal were too queasy about letting it out. Gilliam managed to sell the European rights to other people (Warner in the UK) so a 'European cut' of Brazil was released, with much more violence than there is in the original US version. Gilliam managed to force the release of his original US version instead of Sidney Sheinburg's cut version, which would have been a disaster.

    The Sheinburg version is available in Criterion's excellent Brazil box set, on both LD and DVD. It is an interesting entity in its own right, because it's utterly terrible, ending with a *happy ending*. Er, Universal, it's a depressing movie, as the poster above pointed out. But did they care? No, they nearly put it out! (It's even been seen on cable in the US a couple of times.)

    However, the US version of the film, as it was officially released (the newest Criterion cut is better and newer than either) is different to the European version in many of these respects. A film this also reminds me of is Blade Runner, which also was mucked up ending-wise (with the permission of Ridley Scott, however, because of the film's poor test scores - which shows the fallacy of test scores.)

    All are about failures in society and the person, and usually both. That's the thing.
  • by Mignon ( 34109 ) <> on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @11:33AM (#986060)
    I have the recipe. I'll sell it to you for $250, which includes the recipe for Nieman-Marcus chocolate-chip cookies.
  • This illustrates my point perfectly, and I'd go into that, but instead I would like to share an english lesson with you.

    Excerpted from []:

    defeat []

    1. The act of defeating or state of being defeated.
    2. Failure to win.
    3. A coming to naught; frustration: the defeat of a lifelong dream.
    4. Law. The act of making null and void.

    2. Failure to win. That seems to speak pretty clearly to me.

    Excerpted from Remember the Alamo []:

    The Alamo was remembered, as well as the Goliad massacre (perpetrated by order of General Santa Anna), forty-six days later, on April 21, 1836 at the Battle of San Jacinto, where 783 men led by General Sam Houston defeated 1,500 Mexicans. The battle lasted only eighteen minutes. When all was over, 630 men of the Mexican army were dead; 730 were prisoners. Nine Texans lost their lives.

    General Santa Anna, disguised as a peasant, was captured the following day.

    The independence of Texas was won !

    So here we're talking about how the Texans got caps popped in them, and died (natchly), and then just to put a happy ending on it, we talk about San Jacinto.

    Now, I know that the Alamo is not significant to the vast majority of Americans, but it is an excellent example, which is why I've spent so much time working on this comment. (This wouldn't have taken that long, but abovenet is having problems. I wonder if they're being DOS'd again.) In any case, the Alamo is seen as a victory, in spite of it being a defeat, because a small force held off supposedly overwhelming odds. I won't get into highly defensible positions, though. That's a different discussion.

  • NPR is also great because you get more than a 30 second sound-bite of news. They're not afraid to dedicate 7 minutes of airtime to a story about something that will never even be reported in the national media.

    Morning Edition [] accompanies me to work, and All Things Considered [] takes me home. And for all of us geeks out there, there's always Science Friday []. It's all much more interesting to listen to in the car than the Backstreet Boys.

    Now if they just had a better time for the computer show, it's on at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday mornings here....yuck...

    Our local affiliate, KUNI [], broadcasts from two floors above my office, and they stream the broadcasts too!

  • Seems a good idea... he's savvy enough... but some points:

    Pratchett no longer responds to email (his address is no longer public) or reads, mainly due to overload, partly due to freaky fans... just a warning.

    He may have answered many of the potential questions already. Interviews can be found on, the official pratchett fan site.

    Pratchett most certainly has answered the question of how he feels about being compared to Adams. It's in the FAQ.

    He might be cajoled into answering questions about the current state of his carnivorous plants...
  • It's obviously easy to find in a search, but if you are as lazy as I am you'll welcom the link:

    JMax []
  • I still want to see where I said Falling Down was a funny movie. Talking about failure being funny in movies was in a seperate paragraph. A sentence is a complete thought, a paragraph is a complete collection thereof, generally to make a particular point.

    Next point: Even five hundred years is a short period of time when you compare that to nearly any other nation. Your point on Australia is taken, however.

    Oh, and I think I can safely say that Canada has no sense of irony, evinced by the Alanis Morrisette song, "Ironic", in which she appears to believe that rain on your wedding day is ironic. For those who are still confused: That's just a bummer (Hmm, perhaps that song should go something more like "Isn't it a bummer... don't ya think?") and not irony: Irony would be if you had changed your wedding date from a day that the forecast indicated rain to one which was supposed to be sunny, and the reverse were true. Of course, that's more just boneheadedness for trusting the forecasters, anyway.

    I do agree with you on the last point though; Failure which is not ironic isn't funny, it's just realistic, and therefore unexciting, and therefore I'll pass.

    Oh, one last tip of the hat in favor of Australia: Someone (I wish I could remember who... anyone?) said (About the Lewinsky Case) that they were glad they lived in .au because it was better to be in a country founded by criminals than one founded by puritans. And since by the standards of the Religious "Right", I am a criminal...

    I couldn't agree more.

  • by GauteL ( 29207 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @12:48PM (#986074)
    The incredible failure of Brian in "Life of Brian".
    He has no control over his life, being chased
    around, and eventually get crusified.
    His whole life was a failure.
    Even at birth, when he was first mistakenly
    taken for Jesus Christ.
    I find this extraordinarily funny.. but then
    I'm european.
  • Brazil had two completely different endings. (I'm just going to presume that you've seen at least one version).

    In the (hollywood) producer's cut, our hero makes it out of the city and goes off with his love into a bright new future.

    In the director's cut, that turns out to have been a terminal fantasy, generated as his (former friend) captor interrogates him into oblivion.

    The producers cut (which, as I understand it, pretty much consists of cutting the very last scene) would probably end up feeling like serious deus-ex-machina to the discerning viewer. Actually, I would expect the reaction to be like: "Great movie, but WTF was it with that strange ending?" The director's cut -- while far more dark -- makes complete sense of the fantasy scene"

    The critic's view of thing is that the Hollywood producers were far more interested in the 'happy' ending than they were with having the ending make any sense in what was otherwise a brilliantly dark movie.

    I would actually say much the same thing of the ending to American Beauty. the "Gee, I'm almost happy that that macho coward blew my brains out" monologue almost made me sick. I would have been much happier with something like:
    Well, I guess that it would be an understatement to say that the day didn't really end the way that I anticipated. At least he didn't catch me in the middle of jerking off.... By the way: If you're interested, after a 6 week trial, he got off on a temporary insanity plea. Not that it made much difference. 8 weeks later, he blew his own brains out in the local military cemetary.

    Now, my daughter and her new husband live right next door to my widowed wife -- who took up with Mr. King until he dumped her for telling him that she was pregnant. Personally, I think that she should have just had an abortion and kept on bonking him. In any case, I guess that that's as close to a happy ending as I could have hoped for.

  • by eries ( 71365 ) <slashdot-eric@sn ... minus physicist> on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @01:20PM (#986083) Homepage
    There is also a GPL version of Max written in Java called jMax. This was posted on /. [] a while ago.
  • No, not Miramax. The deal was definitely made with Disney; Miramax deals are generally made somewhat autonomously by that division. In the beginning it was pretty clearly stated Hollywood Pictures would be the imprint, then later they came back and said "well, we're not really sure which imprint it'll be". We do know the director is Jay Roach, whom DNA is excited to be working with. (He did mention that in this interview.) The producer is to be Roger Birnbaum with his Spyglass Pictures (formerly Caravan Pictures) being the production company. The most notable recent Spyglass production I know of is The Sixth Sense.
  • I always feel sorry for people with Douglas Adams' kind of fame. You can just imagine that he'd want to leap out and throttle people for asking such stupid questions, but if he does anything he gets a reputation for being an asshole. (Maybe I'm wrong, and he doesn't, but I sure would)

    I feel sorry for famous people in general, actually, but cult-comedy fame and sci-fi fame seem to me to be particularly harrowing, and poor DNA has both. (To get the idea, imagine Monty-Python nuts screaming 'Albatross!' at you in the street combined with Star Trek nuts asking you about the specifications for a tricorder)
  • (Score:3 Funny)

    Unless I am completely missing the joke, this note is not meant to be funny. It is meant to be a commentary of some of the internal prejudices of Slashdot. If it were moderated up as "Interesting" or "Insightful", I would have no comments. However, a mismoderated post where the poster's .sig consists of 'Moderators: copy/pasting text from the site a story links to isn't "Informative," it's "Redundant."' is rather ironic.

    That said, "Cheddar." Somehow, a one word, normal response from DA struck me as immensely funny.

    Emerson, I suspect that people were much more interested in the Metallica interview because more people were angry about Metallica than about Douglas Adams. Whether it is fair or hypocritical is up to personal interpretation. I'd be inclined to say that the general group anger deflated to a large degree after the interview was eventually run. There were far fewer current events to remind readers and editors about the Douglas Adams interview and less anger floating around, so fewer people ranted.

    B. Elgin

  • by arcum ( 96149 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2000 @02:31PM (#986097)
    From page 5 of "Don't Panic":

    Of Alice in Wonderland, often cited as an influence, he says, "I read - or rather, had read to me - Alice in Wonderland as a child and I hated it. It really frightened me. Some months ago, I tried to go back to it and read a few pages, and thought, 'This is jolly good stuff, but still...' If it wasn't for that slightly nightmarish quality that I remember as a kid I'd've enjoyed it, but I couldn't shake that feeling. So although people like to suggest that Carroll was a big influence - using the number 42 and all that - he really was not."
  • Aquarian, keep in mind that the majority of the people on Slashdot have never been pointed to the FAQ [], MFAQ [], or NFAQ [], and thus likely wouldn't have heard the whole story on Salmon of Doubt...

    All three are required reading for DNA fans...

  • Here [] that is and search for "Adams".

  • Good writers do not "check out" other writers.
    Writers read as fans not as writers. They may take away ideas and make improvments but from the start to the finish they read as fans.
    If one writer hears of his work being compaired to someone else he thinks "Well thats cool" but otherwise thinks nothing of it..
    People will never buy a Pratchett book becouse his style is similer to Douglas Adams or visa versa. No one is going to NOT buy a book over the same reasons.
    They'll buy a book becouse THAT BOOK is good or THAT WRITER is good not a similer writer of a similer style.

    So Adams never picked up a Pratchett book. Not entirely supprising.
    If Adams makes a movie that was not allready based on a book and didn't feel up to writing the book I doupt he'd have any objection to having Pratchett do the book and if Pratchett turns it down it will only be due to an objection to writing a book version of a movie and nothing else.
  • Last year I asked John Birt, then Director General of the BBC, why they didn't open up their archives. The reason was that most things the BBC "owns" it doesn't - loads of other people control various rights, and it's not cost-effective to get everything cleared so they can give it away.

    A reasonable (although not perfect) excuse, I think.

  • It's less a ripoff of Everything and more a ripoff of Project Glactic Guide []. Been around since 1991, a long time before Everything was a glint in the milkman's eye. But PGG is honest that it rips off HGTTG, so it all works out in the end.
  • We celebrate our defeats and our withdrawals...

    I appreciate this insight. Henceforth I shall no longer be puzzled as to why there are absolutely no likeable characters in "Are You Being Served?".

  • Or perhaps people should READ THE PREVIOUS POSTS before posting the same question.

    If you have used /. for any length of time, you would know that in the time it takes to type up a post of any reasonable length, several other people might decide to post a similar message, and you don't see one another's entries until they are all in there. This happens most during the first wave of posts, when a lot of people are responding with their initial reactions.

  • Vogons? Soft place?!? We are talking about the same Vogons, right?

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