On Friday, May 11, 2001, the world mourned the untimely passing of Douglas Adams, beloved creator of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, dead of a heart attack at age forty-nine. Thankfully, in addition to a magnificent literary legacy—which includes seven novels and three co-authored works of nonfiction—Douglas left us something more. The book you are about to enjoy was rescued from his four computers, culled from an archive of chapters from his long-awaited novel-in-progress, as well as his short stories, speeches, articles, interviews, and letters.
In a way that none of his previous books could, The Salmon of Doubt provides the full, dazzling, laugh-out-loud experience of a journey through the galaxy as perceived by Douglas Adams. From a boy’s first love letter (to his favorite science fiction magazine) to the distinction of possessing a nose of heroic proportions; from climbing Kilimanjaro in a rhino costume to explaining why Americans can’t make a decent cup of tea; from lyrical tributes to the sublime pleasures found in music by Procol Harum, the Beatles, and Bach to the follies of his hopeless infatuation with technology; from fantastic, fictional forays into the private life of Genghis Khan to extended visits with Dirk Gently and Zaphod Beeblebrox: this is the vista from the elevated perch of one of the tallest, funniest, most brilliant, and most penetrating social critics and thinkers of our time.
Welcome to the wonderful mind of Douglas Adams.
About the Author
Douglas Adams served as Professor of Christianity and the Arts at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California until his death in 2007.
Christopher Cerf is an author, a multiple Grammy and Emmy award-winning composer and educational television producer, and a former senior editor at Random House. Among his many books are The Experts Speak and The Pentagon Catalog.
“Above all, of course, Douglas Adams was a transcendent, multi-faceted, comic genius. What made Douglas’s work unique, I think, were the wildly contradictory attributes he displayed in his writing. He seamlessly blended world-class intelligence—and a daunting knowledge about an impossible variety of subjects (literature, computers, evolution, pop culture, genetics, and music, to name but a few)—with transcendental silliness; technophobia with a lust for, and fascination with, every high-tech toy imaginable; deep cynicism about virtually everything with an effusively joyful spirit; and one of the quickest wits on the planet with a relentless perfectionism in pursuing his craft.” —From the Introduction by Christopher Cerf
“The bottom drawer of recently deceased writers is often best left firmly locked and bolted. In the case of Douglas, I am sure you will agree, the bottom drawer (or in his case, the nested subfolders of his hard drive) has been triumphantly well worth the prising open. There are those who write from time to time and do it well, and then there are Writers. Douglas Adams, and it is pointless to attempt here an explanation or anatomisation, was born, grew up, and remained a Writer to his too-early dying day.
“You are on the verge of entering the wise, provoking, benevolent, hilarious, and addictive world of Douglas Adams. Don’t bolt it all whole—as with Douglas’s beloved Japanese food, what seems light and easy to assimilate is subtler and more nutritious by far than it might at first appear.” —Stephen Fry, author of The Liar and Making History: A Novel