FTLComm - Tisdale - May 15, 2001

Popular culture tends to be location specific and we can even measure the quality of the art, writing or music by seeing how widely its appeal is, for when something goes beyond those to whom the material was directed it is clear that something of real substance, some thing universal has been created. Few people who have ever read Douglas Adams books or listened to a Douglas Adams radio play do not immediately identify with his characters and I for one was surprised to discover myself "Arthur Dent" as the main character in a Douglas Adams book. My guess is you too would think he had written that character with you in mind as well.

Douglas Adams, with his wit, disdain for science and an intense need to get to the bottom of things created "the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe" which of course was part of a continuing theme in "The Restaurant At the End of the Universe" and "So Long Thanks For the Fish". They had all originally been radio plays for the BBC, then produced in book form in a whole series of different formats, a game, a television series and Adams was in California as work was progressing on the movie. Arthur Dent, Trillium, Marvin, Zephogg, Ford Prefect all were to make Adams a lot of money and in the mean time he produced two marvellously silly books about the Gently Detective agency and "That Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul". His work continued with a funny dictionary "The Deeper Meaning of Liff" and the superior conservation book "The Last time To See."

The fact the my sons and I here in the middle of Canada knew what he was talking about and other folks and their sons and daughters all around the world could identify with this man's work tells us that it was important. From him we all learned that the meaning of life is "42" that everything is connected and most important of all everything is important.

It is sad that this man died suddenly Friday of a massive heart attack, but it is also true that in his short life he made a difference and he will not be forgotten nor will what he wrote be fad. Douglas Adams discovered and wrote about the big questions in life and he did so with humour, in his fun he edged his readers toward understanding and the need to find things out. We are all better because of the little collection of books he wrote and the stories he told and retold. If you haven't yet experienced Douglas Adams check out "The Hitchhiker's Guide To the Universe" it will take you beyond the here and now and it will bring you back alive and better for the journey.


Timothy W. Shire

Some Resources
a few experts of the various books excellent site.
David Cassel's tribute to DA
floor 42 (picture)