Wrote The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and became a household word when the cult science fiction novel was converted into a British Broadcasting Corporation television series. Adams also was held in high regard in the Computer Underground because his book demonstrated much of the zen-like thinking used in hacking. The book sold more than 14 million copies globally. In May 2005, a film of the same title was released by Buena Vista Pictures. Other books by Adams include The Restaurant at the End of the Universe; Life, the Universe and Everything; and So Long and Thanks for All the Fish; Mostly Harmless.
Adams was a very creative individual with a sense of humor. His Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy detailed the universal journey of Ford Prefect, an alien, and Arthur Dent, a human, after Earth was destroyed. On a deeper plane, the story focused on the search for an answer to life as well as to the universe. It turns out that the answer was 42.
Terminology introduced in Adams’ books found its way into the hacker jargon. For example, the word “bogon” was used falsely by Arthur Dent, one of the main characters in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, to describe the Vogons, an alien race. This term has been adopted by the computer underground to describe erratic behavior of network equipment, such as “the network is emitting bogons.”
The h2g2 Website that Douglas Adams helped design was groundbreaking in the sense that it not only culminated from his childhood dreams but also enabled an online encyclopedia to be created—in his terminology—by the people for the people. Adams was educated at Cambridge University’s St John’s College. He was also an Internet pioneer who believed that something powerful was created when people pooled their experiences and information; he said that this is just what the Internet did, and he presented a series on the marvels of the Internet on BBC radio. He died suddenly at age 49 on May 14, 2001.
Buena Vista. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. [Online, May 15, 2005.] Buena Vista Website. http://hitchhikers.movies.go.com/hitchblog/blog.htm; Yentob, A. Author Douglas Adams Dies. [Online, May 14, 2001.] BBC News Website. http://news.bbc.co .uk/1/hi/uk/1326657.stm.