March 11 – Happy Birthday, Douglas Adams

Posted on March 11, 2015

He sometimes said that he was DNA in Cambridge months before scientists Watson and Crick modeled DNA at Cambridge University...

And that's because Douglas Adams was born in Cambridge, England, the year before Watson and Crick's famous announcement.

Adams's childhood teachers said that Adams as a child really stood out. For one thing, he was unusually tall. He was six feet tall by the time he was 12 years old (in comparison, basketball great Michael Jordan was still under six feet when he was 15 years old), and Adams ended up being 6'5” tall (just one inch shorter than Jordan's final height).

Another reason Adams stood out was that he could write really good stories, even as a kid. He was the only ever awarded 10 out of 10 points for creative writing by his form master at his secondary (or “prep”) school.

Apparently the encouragement from that teacher helped him overcome writer's block as an adult!

After Adams graduated from university with a B.A. in English literature, he moved to London. He was determined to become a writer for television and radio. He was able to get a writing credit for Monty Python, and to make two small appearances in Monty Python—he is only one of two people outside of the original Python members to get a writing credit!—but it was really tough to break into the radio and TV world. Adams had to take a series of odd jobs while he continued to write and submit sketches.
Adams was famously bad at
meeting deadlines.
Finally, Adams was able to get something on the air—The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy appeared first in our galaxy as a radio show (1978). Later, it became it became a “trilogy” of five books (1979 to 1992), a TV show (1981), a computer game (1984), a 3-part comic book (1993 to 1996), a towel design, a movie (2005), a variety of stage shows, and more radio adaptations.

In addition to all this Hitchhiker's Guide stuff, Adams wrote five more novels and three stories for the TV series Doctor Who.

If you are a geek, as you knock about in geekdom, you may see HG2G, HHGTTG, or H2G2. All of those refer to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

For more on Adams, check out the earlier posts on Towel Day and Geek Pride Day

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