Douglas Noël Adams (11 March 1952 – 11 May 2001) was an English author, comic radio dramatist, and musician. He is best known as the author of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. Hitchhiker's began on radio, and developed into a "trilogy" of five books (which sold more than fifteen million copies during his lifetime) as well as a television series, a comic book series, a computer game, and a feature film that was completed after Adams' death. The series has also been adapted for live theatre using various scripts; the earliest such productions used material newly written by Adams.
In addition to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams wrote or co-wrote three stories of the science fiction television series Doctor Who and served as Script Editor during the seventeenth season. His other written works include the Dirk Gently novels, and he co-wrote two Liff books and Last Chance to See, itself based on a radio series. A posthumous collection of essays and other material, including an incomplete novel, was published as The Salmon of Doubt in 2002.
His fans and friends also knew Adams as an environmental activist, a self-described 'radical atheist', and a lover of fast cars, cameras, the Macintosh computer, and other 'techno gizmos'. Toward the end of his life he was a sought-after lecturer on topics including technology and the environment.
1. He attacked everything in life with a mix of extraordinary genius and naive incompetence, and it was often difficult to tell which was which.
2. He hoped and prayed that there wasn't an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn't an afterlife.
3. I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.
4. I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.
5. In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.
6. In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri.
7. It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.
8. It is no coincidence that in no known language does the phrase 'As pretty as an Airport' appear.
9. Life... is like a grapefruit. It's orange and squishy, and has a few pips in it, and some folks have half a one for breakfast.
10. The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't.
11. There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
12. Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.
13. You live and learn. At any rate, you live.
14. Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
15. The last time anybody made a list of the top hundred character attributes of New Yorkers, common sense snuck in at number 79.
16. He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.
17. Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws.
18. The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair.
19. Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.
20. Even he, to whom most things that most people would think were pretty smart were pretty dumb, thought it was pretty smart.
21. A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.
22. That young girl is one of the least benightedly unintelligent organic life forms it has been my profound lack of pleasure not to be able to avoid meeting.
23. The idea that Bill Gates has appeared like a knight in shining armour to lead all customers out of a mire of technological chaos neatly ignores the fact that it was he, by peddling second-rate technology, who led them into it in the first place.
24. This is an important announcement. This is flight 121 to Los Angeles. If your travel plans today do not include Los Angeles, now would be a perfect time to disembark.
25. Cyberspace is - or can be - a good, friendly and egalitarian place to meet.
26. Don't believe anything you read on the net. Except this. Well, including this, I suppose.
27. Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.
28. The dew has fallen with a particularly sickening thud this morning.
29. There is a particular disdain with which Siamese cats regard you. Anyone who has walked in on the Queen cleaning her teeth will be familiar with the feeling.
30. There are two things in particular that the computer industry failed to foresee: one was the coming of the Internet ... the other was the fact that the century would end.
31. See first, think later, then test. But always see first. Otherwise you will only see what you were expecting. Most scientists forget that.
32. How can I tell that the past isn't a fiction designed to account for the discrepancy between my immediate physical sensation and my state of mind?
33. There is an art, or, rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.
34. It's not the fall that kills you; it's the sudden stop at the end.
35. I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer.
36. Driving a Porsche in London is like bringing a Ming vase to a football game.
37. 42 is a nice number that you can take home and introduce to your family.
38. Mozart tells us what it's like to be human, Beethoven tells us what it's like to be Beethoven and Bach tells us what it's like to be the universe.
39. Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?
40. I wrote an ad for Apple Computer: 'Macintosh - We might not get everything right, but at least we knew the century was going to end.'
41. He started to count to ten. He was desperately worried that one day sentient life forms would forget how to do this. Only by counting could humans demonstrate their independence of computers.
42. The Macintosh may only have 10% of the market, but it is clearly the top 10%.
43. First we thought the PC was a calculator. Then we found out how to turn numbers into letters with ASCII - and we thought it was a typewriter. Then we discovered graphics, and we thought it was a television. With the World Wide Web, we've realized it's a brochure.
44. The World Wide Web is the only thing I know of whose shortened form - www - takes three times longer to say than what it's short for.
45. Technology is a word that describes something that doesn't work yet.
46. A learning experience is one of those things that say: 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.'
47. In fact, I wanted to be John Cleese and it took some time to realize the job was in fact taken.
48. Writing is easy. You only need to stare at a piece of blank paper until a drop of blood forms on your forehead.
49. Time is the worst place to get lost in.
50. It's funny how just when you think life just can't possibly get any worse it suddenly does.
51. Life, loathe it or ignore it, you can't like it.
52. The simple truth is that interstellar distances will not fit into the human imagination.
53. "That young girl", he added unexpectedly, "is one of the least benightedly unintelligent organic life forms it has been my profound lack of pleasure not to be able to avoid meeting".