Influence: Douglas Adams

Ready To Leave The Planet.Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, “This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, may have been made to have me in it!” This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it’s still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything’s going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for. We all know that at some point in the future the Universe will come to an end and at some other point, considerably in advance from that but still not immediately pressing, the sun will explode. We feel there’s plenty of time to worry about that, but on the other hand that’s a very dangerous thing to say.

– Douglas Adams, Speech at Digital Biota 2, Cambridge, UK, (1998)

I was introduced to the works of Douglas Adams in my youth, and his dark satire suited me well – but he was larger than that in many ways. He also happened to be alive when I was reading his works, and in that he held a fairly lonely spot. So lonely, in fact, he left it in 2001.

His non-fictional work is worth seeking out.  He played with Pink Floyd, co-wrote a Monty Python skit, worked with the BBC in educating the public about wild life… he was far from just a boring human being.

People should know where their towels are. They should also not panic all the time.

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