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Hitchhiker: A Biography Of Douglas Adams by…

Hitchhiker: A Biography Of Douglas Adams (edition 2003)

by M. J. Simpson

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248646,284 (3.21)1
Meticulously researched. not funny. very enlightening. ( )
  andrewlorien | Apr 18, 2012 |
Showing 6 of 6
Meticulously researched. not funny. very enlightening. ( )
  andrewlorien | Apr 18, 2012 |
I had saved this book for months: a special treat and, perhaps because I had built it up so much, it disappointed.
When I read a biography, I like to put the book down with a feeling that I know the subject as a person. I do not know whether it is a fault of the writer, or a sign of Adams' protection of his personal life, but whilst this book is packed with, "the dinner guest's guide to boring his/her fellow diners with little known facts and corrections of popular stories about DNA", I know Douglas no more than when I started.
Mr Simpson seems to be amazed that the stories that we all tell about our lives are not some gospel version of the events: ask my ex-wife for the details of our divorce, and I am sure that you will soon find it to be at odds with mine and yet, we both truly hold ours to be de facto.
Douglas, we are informed began life as a committed Christian and ended his life as an atheist. That is it. The interesting question as to why is never broached.
Adams was notorious for keeping his publishers waiting: was this because he was a perfectionist, a lazy man who took the advance, but didn't want to work, or trapped by the expectation of yet another Hitch Hiker book? No clue is given.
Then, it is almost half way through the book before Douglas has any relationship with a female. I was beginning to think that Simpson was going to announce that he was gay; but no, he now advises us that Douglas has had numerous girlfriends. Nothing more is said of these until the Author's Afterword, where it is implied that HHG2G came to Douglas whilst involved in congress with a Dutch girl, in Greece in 1973.
Another cause of confusion is the author's curious attitude to a time line. I know that Douglas is most famous for his si-fi works, but one minute we are in 1991 and the next 1979.
If anyone were to be rash enough to read this revue, they may , by now, suppose that I would suggest that this book be left upon the shelf. Wrong: it does deliver some insights into Adams - just don't expect 42. ( )
1 vote the.ken.petersen | Feb 20, 2008 |

This is really an exploration of Adams in his own words and in the words of people around him, including attempts to get at the truth or otherwise of various anecdotes told by or about him during his life. Simpson conveys well both Adams' charm and the way in which he infuriated friends and colleagues. He is probably fair to put some of the blame of Adams' failure to produce on his editors. Apart from that, it's a bit unsatisfying; as John Lloyd hints in the introduction, Adams' family life, particularly his relationship with his father, remains pretty much unexplored. Also I would like someone to look at Adams' work in perhaps a more literary way, with more reflections on the social context of his writing and how he did (or didn't) link into the issues of the day. ( )
  nwhyte | Jul 15, 2006 |
Despite its extraordinary level of research, this is neither heavy-going nor hagiographic. An intelligent, fair, critically acute and enormously readable book which makes up for the hopeless 'official' biography http://www.librarything.com/catalog/151746 ( )
  hitchhiker42 | Jun 28, 2006 |
Must be the most boring book I ever read. For an excellent biography of Douglas Adams see:
Wish You Were Here: The Official Biography of Douglas Adams / by Nick Webb ( )
  sunnytest | May 12, 2006 |
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