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Don't Panic mug

Author Birthdays: Douglas Adams

I’m starting my Author Birthdays series with Douglas Adams, whose birthday is March 11.

“Um, Matteson,” you might be thinking. “Why start with this dude? Particularly since he wrote science fiction, and you write fantasy.”

Well, Adams has had a huge impact on my writing aesthetic. When people ask me about writers who have influenced me, he’s always at the top of the list. I’d never seen a writer that brilliant and that full-on funny before I read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. And what a unique voice! 

The dude makes me laugh. Hard. The sheer genius of his wordplay makes me giddy with delight. He’s just so very clever. I mean, this is the bloke who wrote that the meaning of life, the universe, and everything is…42. I mean, that’s so wacky that I can’t even type that without smiling. I love his writing so much that I have a “Don’t Panic” mug I use at least once a week as an ongoing source of inspiration.

These are just the tip of the iceberg, but here are two Adams quotes that always make me snicker:

“In the beginning, the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.”

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”

A few Adams fun facts:

  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy started off as a radio show on the BBC. 
    (I listened to it in the car while driving cross-country in the U.S. It’s so funny that it got me all the way through the desert with a smile on my face. You can still find it if you want a listen.)
  • He was a script editor for Dr. Who and wrote three episodes: “The Pirate Planet,” “City of Death,” and “Shada.”
    (I’m guessing that you will not be surprised that I’m a Dr. Who fan.)
  • He has a TED talk about the environment called “Parrots, the Universe and Everything.”
  • Fans of Douglas Adams celebrate Towel Day on March 25th of each year.
    (Yup, I do know where my towel is, and I celebrate every year.)
    (If you don’t get the towel reference, give yourself a treat and read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.)

What about you? Are you an Adams fan?

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