Send My Conscience Home in a Taxi

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Re-Reading Douglas Adams
Stooges Dancer
In the last couple of months, indeed over the summer, I've re-read every novel Douglas Adams' wrote. Novels only, I haven't touched on his other books such as "Last Chance to See" and "The Deeper Meaning of Liff".

I originally read "The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy" in the late seventies (shit I am old). In fact, I'd encountered it as a radio series prior to that on the ABC. Man, those were different times... When you wanted to re-hear something which had been broadcast, you basically had to wait for it to be rebroadcast. If you wanted to find out about a new book that was coming out, you basically had to be lucky. I remember finding out about the book of the Hitch Hikers guide when one of the other kids at my school was putting a copy in his bag...

Anyway, I bought a really big omibus edition of all five Hitch Hikers books from Minotaur and read 'em all over the summer. Then I re-read the Dirk Gently novels. And I have to say, I think I like the Gently stuff more than the Hitch Hikers stuff. It's somehow less manic and more logical. I felt a lot of the HHGTG work consisted of random anecdotes about random aliens. You know: "The so-and-so people of some planet do the following amusing things..."

I think also I really like the character of Dirk Gently, and indeed Thor in the second novel, stomping around being all impressive when no one really notices. It's also more ambiguous exactly what is going on, more is left to one's imagination.

I still remember being at a gym in Brunswick, watching a television with the sound down, some time in 2001. And they were showing snippets of the HHGTG television series and other Douglas Adams related stuff in the news bulletin. I had no idea what they newsreader was saying, but I thought it ominous.

Two more Douglas Adams stories: My cat Marvin, who really belongs to a guy called Jack, was acquired as a kitten from the RSPCA around the time Adams died. Hence he was named after Marvin the Android.

And many years ago - 1994 - I used to haunt the newsgroup (remember those???) Adams himself was often on it, it was back in the day before the web was drowned in millions and millions of idiots, and it was actually possible to carry on intelligent discussion. There was some guy on the list who was being an asshat. He said he had Douglas Adams' email address, and was willing to sell it to people so they could write him an email. Adams himself replied to this thread, saying "Really? How can I get some of this action?" followed by his email address!

I actually emailed him once, asking him if he minded if I used the handle "Maxcelcat", which was the name of a very, very obscure character in the original radio series of the HHGTG. So obscure he doesn't even get a line. Douglas never replied, which I took to be assent. Either way, I've been using the name absolutely everywhere...


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