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1979 Interview With Douglas Adams

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the six-by-nine dept.

Sci-Fi 73

An anonymous reader points out the inaugural issue of the online sci-fi mag Darker Matter, which start off with a bang by publishing an interview with the late Douglas Adams that has not seen the light of day in 28 years, except for brief excerpts published in the magazine that commissioned the interview. The first two parts are now online with the last part coming next month.

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How bout that (0, Offtopic)

Micklewhite (1031232) | more than 7 years ago | (#18581441)

Yingers. That's fantastic. :)

Accident with a contraceptive and a time machine? (0, Offtopic)

Xfacter (1075973) | more than 7 years ago | (#18581499)

How froody.

Re:Accident with a contraceptive and a time machin (1)

johnsonjii (1080641) | more than 7 years ago | (#18593049)

How froody.
This isn't the least bit "Offtopic".

Whoosh! (5, Funny)

ian_mackereth (889101) | more than 7 years ago | (#18581507)

I know Douglas was notorious for missing publication deadlines, but this is ridiculous!

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.
Douglas Adams
English humorist & science fiction novelist (1952 - 2001)

Re:Whoosh! (2, Funny)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18587985)

I just hope that after they publish part 3 of the article, Ian releases .MP3s of the original cassettes of the interview, which are likely entirely different.

After 28 years, very very late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18581537)

Although at the time he was slightly less late.

Re:After 28 years, very very late (1)

Anonymous Westley (613102) | more than 7 years ago | (#18675669)

Although at the time he was slightly less late.

Late, as in "the late AdamsDouglasAdams"?

Doctor Who's finest hour... (4, Informative)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18581603)

Tom Baker was my favorite Doctor, and I see Douglas Adams wrote a few of those episodes. I wonder how much of Adam's influence was present in Tom Baker's tenure outside of those 4 episodes he wrote. I later latched on to reruns from the crudgy old white guy and that blonde haired chap.

Re:Doctor Who's finest hour... (3, Interesting)

ewhac (5844) | more than 7 years ago | (#18581833)

There are all kinds of wonderful quips from that season. I'm sure they're down to Adams' influence.

There's a quote from the episode, "Nightmare of Eden." It's one of my favorite quotes anywhere, and I would be very surprised if it wasn't penned by Adams himself.

Captain Rigg:
Well who do you work for?
The Doctor:
Work for? I don't work for anybody! I'm just having fun.

Schwab

Re:Doctor Who's finest hour... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18582305)

Douglas Adams wrote 2 Doctor Who stories by himself: The Pirate Planet (one of the best Who stories ever IMHO) and the uncompleted Shada, and co-wrote City of Death. He was script editor for a lot of episodes.
I've always wished he had written more episodes!

Re:Doctor Who's finest hour... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18582863)

I remember seeing the Pirate Planet when I was ten. I thought the Captain's nurse was totally hot. (Still do, as a matter of fact.)

Re:Doctor Who's finest hour... (1)

Petrushka (815171) | more than 7 years ago | (#18583221)

I agree with you about The Pirate Planet, but I think we may be among the very few. :-) Sadly, I've only seen it the once -- when it was first broadcast (in the 1970s?); made a big impression, though. Incidentally, IIRC the script for Shada was completed, but not the filming; so Adams reused a lot of the plot in the first Dirk Gently book.

Re:Doctor Who's finest hour... (1)

Adhemar (679794) | more than 7 years ago | (#18584931)

Incidentally, IIRC the script for Shada was completed, but not the filming; so Adams reused a lot of the plot in the first Dirk Gently book.

You recall correctly. The script was completed; the filming was not because of a strike at the BBC.

In 1993, the BBC commissioned Big Finish Productions to remake Shada as an audio play, accompanied by a Flash animation. You can still enjoy it on the BBC website - Shada [bbc.co.uk] .

Re:Doctor Who's finest hour... (1)

tref h (1086463) | more than 7 years ago | (#18672809)

Probably quite a few, he was script editor for quite a while... at least one season i think. As such, many episodes will have felt his pen, probably more than have his name.

The unfinished 'Shada' (shelved due to industrial action) is in many ways a deadringer for the second Dirk Gently book...

Good article. (1)

MichelleKenobi (1083403) | more than 7 years ago | (#18581609)

Great for Dark Matter to get their hands on this. Must be fun for the journalist too to come back to this article so many years later.

"Does he not, to put it in a nutshell, fuck?" (3, Informative)

El_Oscuro (1022477) | more than 7 years ago | (#18581627)

I know no one on Slashdot reads TFA, but you need to. Some things should be required, like building your own PC or Lightsaber, or reading HHGTTG. Those who wish to learn more should go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hitchhikers/game_andre w.shtml [bbc.co.uk] .

Parting The Red Sea, etc. (1)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 7 years ago | (#18581647)

"I'd finally given up on the idea of science fiction comedy, simply because no-one was interested. But then Simon Brett suggested the idea to me. 'I'd like to do an SF comedy, and I think you might be the guy to do it.' And I sort of fell out of my chair."

The Red Sea had parted, and Douglas had the opportunity he had been waiting for.
Delicious

Best. Analogy. Evar. (5, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#18581655)

"The ships hung in the air in much the same way that bricks don't."

There's a special, reserved place in heaven for anybody who can turn a phrase like that.

Re:Best. Analogy. Evar. (4, Interesting)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18581917)

"The ships hung in the air in much the same way that bricks don't."

There's a special, reserved place in heaven for anybody who can turn a phrase like that.
Even for atheists. We can go on all night with our favorite quotes. I have my omnibus edition within arm's reach.

I think it is great that Douglas Adams continues to appeal to younger audiences. With sci-fi, there is the risk of the real world catching up to the point that the sci-fi sounds quaint. Not so with Adams, partly because of the satire inherent in his work. Even kids who have grown up with Harry Potter can appreciate the Hitchhiker novels.

And, for those who don't remember, the Paul Simon inspiration mentioned at the end of part 2 of the article is the album One Trick Pony. It was mentioned in the acknowledgments for "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe".

Re:Best. Analogy. Evar. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18584579)

Great album. Gadd and Levin.

Re:Best. Analogy. Evar. (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18588063)

I have the illustrated version of the first book, complete with the African Zaphod pictures (in complete contrast to the text, which describes Zaphod as a kind of a double-above-the-waste-Blond-Greek-God), which I plan to introduce to my son when he's old enough to read it.

Re:Best. Analogy. Evar. (1)

Rabbit Time! (807699) | more than 7 years ago | (#18595479)

This is way the hell off topic but I am utterly convinced that Owen Wilson should have played Zaphod in the movie. And I hate the Zaphod they had. Boo.

Re:Best. Analogy. Evar. (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18595669)

Plus the costuming was all wrong. What the hell was that tiny second head about? Didn't they read Douglas's original memo which stated that Zaphod was supposed to be double from the penis up (and obviously so)?

Re:Best. Analogy. Evar. (1)

Rabbit Time! (807699) | more than 7 years ago | (#18596023)

I heard that Adams either wrote or had a heavy hand in the writing of the script, and I know that every iteration of the series is pretty heavily changed...but what was with that ending? Arthur isn't supposed to get the girl (except briefly), that was irritating. Also, Earth is gone for permenent-like in every version as far as I know (except in a parallel dimension where its not, but that's a book or so along). :-) Still, bad ending. Bad.

Re:Best. Analogy. Evar. (1)

jafac (1449) | more than 7 years ago | (#18593729)

Even kids who have grown up with Harry Potter can appreciate the Hitchhiker novels.

Yes.

And I read both aloud to my kids.

Wow, thats some bad grammar, right there. (3, Funny)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 7 years ago | (#18581809)

"An anonymous points out the inaugural issue of Darker Matter, which start off with a bang by publishing an interview with the late Douglas Adams that has not seen the light of day in 28 years, except for brief excerpts published in the magazine that commissioned the interview. The first two parts are now online with the last part coming next month."

(in case they fix it)

-d

The reason these things don't get published is: (0, Redundant)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18581817)

They're usually very dull and boring. Stupid questions like "what's your favorite color", etc.

It may not be the case with this one, but I've read enough "unlreleased" interviews and short stories to see a pattern.

Re:The reason these things don't get published is: (0)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 7 years ago | (#18582415)

His favourite colour, lest your were curious is, "While many of us agree with your assertion than the term 'unreleased' is often a misnomer due to the general lack of marketing appeal, you're a pompus nimrod."

Re:The reason these things don't get published is: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18585283)

Or you could even read it and see for yourself...

If, having done so, you think it's not worth the effort, you can have your money back.

Lem (4, Interesting)

Yurka (468420) | more than 7 years ago | (#18581825)

How nice it is to see DNA give his respects to Pan Stanislaw - and his translator, Michael Kandel, though not by name. I've read Lem in Russian, a language very close to his native Polish, which makes the translator's job significantly easier, and still some places are better in English. Go get yourself a copy of the "Cyberiad".

Re:Lem (1)

ewhac (5844) | more than 7 years ago | (#18581911)

Go get yourself a copy of the "Cyberiad".

Seconded. Absolutely brilliant stuff. "Altruizine" is worth the price of admission all by itself.

Schwab

6-by-9 department? (-1)

shystershep (643874) | more than 7 years ago | (#18581867)

I think that ought to be 6*7.

Re:6-by-9 department? (2, Informative)

Viceroy Potatohead (954845) | more than 7 years ago | (#18581947)

But 6 * 9 is 42 in base 13.

Re:6-by-9 department? (3, Informative)

Phroon (820247) | more than 7 years ago | (#18582667)

"I may be a pretty sad case, but I don't write jokes in base 13!" - Douglas Adams

See Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] and Wikiquote [wikiquote.org] . This quote is also in video form on the DVD release of the Hitchhiker's TV series.

Re:6-by-9 department? (1)

Viceroy Potatohead (954845) | more than 7 years ago | (#18583025)

Well, I am a sad case, so I like jokes in base 13.

Serendipity. That's why it's amusing to me. DNA picked two numbers that shouldn't produce 42, but did, entirely by accident. It's so ridiculous, I love him all the more for it.

Re:6-by-9 department? (1)

cferthorney (1041204) | more than 7 years ago | (#18590727)

Well, I am a sad case, so I like jokes in base 13.

So did one of my maths lecturers at Uni - we had "What do you get if you multiply six by nine" on one of our hand outs - I was the only one who had read HHGTG in my class and got it right. Shame it didn't get me an A in the assignment though... RIP Douglas (Or continue RIPing, where ever you are. Probably on the Starship Heart of Gold - (At an improbability rating of... )

Re:6-by-9 department? (2, Funny)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18581973)

No. Turn in your UID now for one at least 100 times larger. The Answer is 42. The question was "what do you get if you multiply six by nine". Chapter 33, The Restuaruant at the End of the Universe.

Re:6-by-9 department? (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 7 years ago | (#18583937)

And as we find out later, it's impossible to have both the question and the answer in the same universe. We know that 42 is the answer; "What do you get when you multiply six times nine?" is a question, but it can't be the question.

Re:6-by-9 department? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18588109)

And, in fact, as the man who got the overdose of truth serum in Life, The Universe, and Everything admitted, the question and the answer are mutually exclusive. The correct question, and the correct answer, cannot coexist in the same universe.

Re:6-by-9 department? (4, Informative)

The Darkness (33231) | more than 7 years ago | (#18581993)

I think that ought to be 6*7.
No.
(SPOILER ALERT)
In The Restaurant ah the End of the Universe when Arthur is stranded on the planet with all the Golgafrinchans and early Earth computer man he tosses out the scrabble pieces to form the Question for the Ultimate Answer. He tosses out:

W H A T D O Y O U G E T I F Y O U M U L T I P L Y S I X B Y N I N E

So the 'from' department is correct.

Re:6-by-9 department? (1)

Phroon (820247) | more than 7 years ago | (#18582741)

It is refereed to possibly being both 6*7 and 6*9.

From The Restaurant at the End of the Universe:

"Alright," he said, "but where do we start? How should I know? They say the Ultimate Answer or whatever is Forty-two, how am I supposed to know what the question is? It could be anything. I mean, what's six times seven?"

Zaphod looked at him hard for a moment. Then his eyes blazed with excitement.

"Forty-two!" he cried.

Arthur wiped his palm across his forehead.

"Yes," he said patiently," I know that."

Re:6-by-9 department? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18582757)

No, the 6*9 is "correct" (in the story, if not in mathematics); the Answer to the Ultimate Question (being calculated by the young Earth) got screwed up by the arrival of the Golgafrinchans. cf the original radio series.

Re:6-by-9 department? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18585609)

Well, swut! I got it wrong myself... I of course meant the Question to the Ultimate Answer got screwed up by the unexpected arrival of the Golgafrinchans (who, incidentally, were what we now know as the human race. Explains a lot, really...)

Re:6-by-9 department? (1)

lhorn (528432) | more than 7 years ago | (#18584555)

6*9=42 is correct, if one uses base 13 and not 10 (Yes, I checked. Sad, isn't I) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Answer_to_Life,_t he_Universe,_and_Everything [wikipedia.org]

Re:6-by-9 department? (1)

ChristW (18232) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585527)

6*9=42 is correct, if one uses base 13
From the horse's mouth, also on the same Wikipedia page:

It was later pointed out by readers that 6 × 9 = 42 if the calculations are performed in base 13, not base 10. Douglas Adams later averred that he was not aware of this at the time, and repeatedly dismisses this as an irrelevant concoction, saying that "nobody writes jokes in base 13 [...] I may be a pretty sad person, but I don't make jokes in base 13."

A Tragedy (5, Interesting)

vertigoCiel (1070374) | more than 7 years ago | (#18581939)

His death, at only 49, was one of the saddest events in recent memory for English literatue. Apart from being brilliantly funny, he also made very keen observations on society and culture. One of my favorites: "... To summarize, the people who want to lead the government, are, by virtue of wanting to lead, the least qualified to do so. To summarize the summary: people are a problem." May he be remembered fondly, with tea and biscuits.

Re:A Tragedy (4, Funny)

belg4mit (152620) | more than 7 years ago | (#18582073)

Specifically, while ignoring the chap across from you who's the gall to also be eating your biscuits.

Re:A Tragedy (2, Interesting)

Dan Slotman (974474) | more than 7 years ago | (#18582381)

I love that gag. It is so easy to imagine that it actually happened. Here is what I thought the most striking part of the interview was, "I just want to kill the idea that you have to be bland to appeal to your market, though I know a lot of the BBC old guard still regard Hitchhiker's as a momentary aberration, a fluke, and not really what radio comedy ought to be about." Adam's work definitely displays his quirky, almost backwards way of looking at life, and it is easy to see why his ideas didn't get a lot of immediate traction. However, between that outlook and his gift for wordplay, in my opinion, he is the best recent comedy writer. (I don't think Johnathan Swift's satire is beatable.)

Re:A Tragedy (2, Informative)

DMoylan (65079) | more than 7 years ago | (#18584639)

> I love that gag. It is so easy to imagine that it actually happened.

i think in a part of salmon of doubt there is an interview that explains that did actually happen to him. he ate somebody else's biscuits as described in hitch hikers. and the other person probably never realised why he did it. there was no apology or explanation.

Re:A Tragedy (1)

ergean (582285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18586545)

I love the british politeness that stop them from expressing their outrage as they both seem wronged by the other person. The punch line was marvelous.

And yes, it is a sketch by itself in Salmon of doubt.

Re:A Tragedy (2, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18582259)

One of my favorites: "... To summarize, the people who want to lead the government, are, by virtue of wanting to lead, the least qualified to do so. To summarize the summary: people are a problem."

This is just Plato's dream of a philosopher-king given a fresh coat of paint.

Re:A Tragedy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18582383)

Yeah but he didn't condense it down to 4 words, did he?

Re:A Tragedy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18584433)

I blame Thrasymachus.

Re:A Tragedy (1)

djh101010 (656795) | more than 7 years ago | (#18587253)

I blame Thrasymachus.
Sheesh...how long until people give that poor bastard a break?

Re:A Tragedy (1)

wildsurf (535389) | more than 7 years ago | (#18584261)

One of my favorites: "... To summarize, the people who want to lead the government, are, by virtue of wanting to lead, the least qualified to do so. To summarize the summary: people are a problem."

Sounds to me like he's compressing his own output. I just knew he could transcend the laws of nature.

Re:A Tragedy (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18588243)

No need for that. As a programmer for the State of Oregon, I completely agree that people are the problem with government, which is why my little sub-department (Central Services, Information Services, Transportation Application Development) is incredibly busy attempting to replace as many people as possible with expert systems. The really neat thing about this is that the one most frustrating segment of people in government (bureaucrats) are the easiest people to replace with software; all you need to do is interpret the law and translate it to C#, ASP.NET, or some other technology that allows the public to access the data and get the proper answers.

Re:A Tragedy (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 7 years ago | (#18584119)

May he be remembered fondly, with tea and biscuits.
And a towel.

Re:A Tragedy (1)

jafac (1449) | more than 7 years ago | (#18593813)

"... To summarize, the people who want to lead the government, are, by virtue of wanting to lead, the least qualified to do so. To summarize the summary: people are a problem."

I think there's a bigger problem with people wanting to lead in bad faith.

People who don't want to lead - will likely be bad leaders.
Effective leading takes a lot of self-confidence, and drive.

The real problem is people who want to lead as a means to an end (that end being power).

My senior yearbook quote was DNA (4, Insightful)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 7 years ago | (#18582377)

This quote struck me as dead-on 4 years ago when I was a senior in highschool, so much so that I made it my senior quote.

"Human beings are not an endangered species; however, this isn't for a lack of trying." - DNA

Re:My senior yearbook quote was DNA (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18584009)

My favorite is:

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.

Today's Date (5, Insightful)

Lawn Jocke (1064716) | more than 7 years ago | (#18582885)

How fitting that this is posted on the date 4-2

Re:Today's Date (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18583527)

Considering DNA would have written it 2-4, not at all fitting?

Adam Douglas sucks (-1, Troll)

Zero_Independent (664974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18583731)

Adam Douglas sucks. He's overrated. You can only handle so much of his nonsense until it starts to get really unfunny.

Re:Adam Douglas sucks (0, Flamebait)

bacon55 (853395) | more than 7 years ago | (#18584323)

Eh its Monty Python in space. Look at it that way and its not too bad. I suppose its kind of science fictiony...some interesting ideas...but ultimately, only really funny and intriguing if you're blitzed out of your mind.

Re:Adam Douglas sucks (1)

cjb-nc (887319) | more than 7 years ago | (#18586337)

Eh its Monty Python in space. Look at it that way and its not too bad. I suppose its kind of science fictiony...some interesting ideas...but ultimately, only really funny and intriguing if you're blitzed out of your mind.

What's so unpleasant about being drunk?

You ask a glass of water.

-- Arthur and Ford, from the first episode

Re:Adam Douglas sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18584569)

Adam... Douglas?

Says the Independent Zero.

Re:Adam Douglas sucks (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 7 years ago | (#18586539)

Who's Adam Douglas, and what does he have to do with this story?

Re:Adam Douglas sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18586551)

I wouldn't say he sucks, but he is overrated. Or rather, HHGG is overrated. I haven't read his other stuff. I thought HHGG was hilarious in 7th grade. Now, it strikes me as some amusing concepts and a bunch of nonseqiturs. It's kind of like reading Mad Libs.

Re:Adam Douglas sucks (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 7 years ago | (#18588745)

"Adam Douglas sucks. He's overrated. You can only handle so much of his nonsense until it starts to get really unfunny."

Yeah, yeah. Haven't you got some poetry to write?

How topical (1)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585063)

How topical - what with it being exactly a bit less than six years since he died and nearly precisely two since the movie HHGTTG was released.

Late. As in the late Adams-Douglas-Adams. (1)

tiluki (74844) | more than 7 years ago | (#18585849)

Remembered seeing him at the 1999 JavaOne conference (anyone else?). Did that anecdote about eating the biscuits of the guy opposite from him at the train station. One of the best key-notes I've *ever* been to.

DUPE! (1)

speculatrix (678524) | more than 7 years ago | (#18586373)

this is pretty much a dupe of a slashdot posting about 27y 10m ago!

Sheesh, slashdot, old news for old nerds, stuff that no longer matters!

people are RTFA (1)

dilbert researcher (901952) | more than 7 years ago | (#18587537)

For the first time in a long time people are RTFA! I did.
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