Happy birthday, Douglas Adams! Today’s Google Doodle honors the brilliant sci-fi humorist who created The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the radio series-turned-novel that defined a certain uncanny mix of incredibly cynical outlandish farce — think Philip K. Dick meets Monty Python. (Hitchhiker’s begins with the destruction of Earth; things get worse from there.)
The Doodle prominently features the titular Guide — rendered here as something that looks eerily like an Amazon Kindle — and if you click on it, it’ll provide you with important notes, like how Earth is “Mostly Harmless.”
Adams, who died of a heart attack in 2001, is best known for Hitchhiker’s Guide, which became an increasingly inaccurately-named “trilogy” of five books, a BBC series, and a desperately unnecessary 2005 film adaptation. Adams also worked on the two-part Dirk Gently “holistic detective” series, not to mention an impressive variety of BBC work. (He actually appeared in a couple episodes of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.)
But Guide was his masterpiece, a brazenly over-the-top space adventure that proved influential for a generation of young creative types. Adams somehow managed to poke fun at sci-fi tropes while also touching on enough themes to fill a Clarke-Asimov-Heinlein colloquium. So raise up your Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters to honor one of the greats.
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