“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 and repair.” – Douglas Adams
Born in Cambridge, England, on this date in 1952, Adams was an author, screenwriter, essayist, humorist, satirist and dramatist who wrote one of the 20th century’s best-known works, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Originating as a BBC radio comedy in 1978, Hitchhiker’s eventually was re-purposed as a 5-book series that sold well over 15 million copies, generated a television series, several stage plays, comics, a video game and a feature-length film.
Adams championed a number of campaigns on behalf of endangered species, particularly Save The Rhino. Since his death in 2001 (from a heart attack), Save The Rhino has held an annual Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture to raise money for environmental and conservation efforts.
Adams once famously said, “I seldom end up where I wanted to go, but almost always end up where I need to be.” And that was true of his writing Hitchhiker’s. He said he got the idea while lying in a field in Austria with a copy of Hitchhiker’s Guide to Europe and looking up at the night sky. He said it occurred to him that, “Somebody ought to write a hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy.” And so he did.
“I think the idea of art kills creativity,” Adams said. “There's nothing worse than sitting down to write a novel and saying, 'Well, okay, I'm going to do something of high artistic worth.' “