The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time

The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last TimeIf you love Douglas Adams this book is an absolute must read It s got some great incite into the man who could make a pot of petunias think to itself, Not again A large part of my enjoyment was finding out about Adams as a person, and in turn finding out that I ve got some stuff in common with him I mean sure I haven t ridden a stingray like he has or written the funniest books of all time and granted I m not British, BUT we do make our tea the same way, we re both have the same religious beliefs in our complete lack of having them did you know atheists have conventions I didn t , and, well I can t think of another one right now, but we re like peas in a pod Trust me.Plus he recommends some great authors and tells some hysterical true stories Damn it, I miss him As much as you can miss someone you never met anyway, which believe me is a LOT. In early 1998 or was it 97 , I experienced one of the most heady experiences of my life A literary idol approached me at a conference we were attending in France it was in Cannes, but it was a media festival rather than thefamous annual event , invited me to join him at dinner and debate the existence of God Douglas Adams, self proclaimed radical atheist, wanted to consider God s existence or lack thereof with me As a minister, I d like to write myself in as the hero and claim that I at least put a dent in the famous atheist s armor We had a fascinating conversation and I d like to think that I pushed him into rethinking his position, but that s not very realistic Hang on This does relate to this collection of Adams writing in his last years, especially those reprinted in The Salmon of Doubt.In our discussion, I pulled out the well worn rubber duck of apologetics I told him that he was dishonest in calling himself an atheist instead of an agnostic I didn t realize that this was the most offensive opening I could try I hadn t read his interview with American Atheists where he asserted that Agnostic did not adequately express his position because he was convinced that there is no God p 96 But I blundered into the conversation with my classic approach that it is intellectual arrogance to claim to know that there is no God by appealing to an illustration in one of Rudy Rucker s books on multidimensionality This took my literary hero off guard because multidimensionality was a great fascination for him I told him that certainty of the non existence of God might well be trying to decide a multidimensional issue via the limited dimensions we have discovered in our empirical science Then, I conceded that being convinced was different than knowing, but that it wasn t objectively any better than a person of faith being convinced I scored the opening round a stand off I m not sure what Adams would have scored it He must have been somewhat satisfied because he shifted gears.He told me that there was no rational need for the existence of God This, of course, is a different question Unlike my typical sermon, I opted to walk the tightrope of suggested that God is a useful concept EVEN don t be horrified at my speculation, true believers if a personal God didn t exist I told him that I personally believe in a personal God, but for purposes of discussion, we should consider whether there really was no rational need for the existence of God I asserted that, contrary to Adams hero Richard Dawkins for whom I expressed admiration for his science and reservation for his assertions which went beyond the acceptable evidence, the idea of God washelpful than harmful.Adams was skeptical duh and attempted two analogies which I found interesting He pulled some British currency out of his wallet and suggested that burning it wouldn t warm you, eating it wouldn t feed you, and wearing it wouldn t cover you, but that it had purchasing power because the state stood behind it But, he suggested that you need the assurance that the state exists in order for the currency to have any effect whatsoever I countered maybe a feeble parry at best that, for the bulk of the British population, they had no idea of the nature of money supply, national deficit, budget viability, and governmental oversight of that currency but had an essential faith in the government One doesn t have to have all of the economics behind the currency explained satisfactorily in order to use the money In the same way, one doesn t have to understand everything about God in order to benefit from the idea of God Therefore, there may well be a rational need for God Before I explain the next analogy, imagine my amazement to see the late 1998 speech from Adams that was reprinted in The Salmon of Doubt Money is a completely fictitious entity, but it s very powerful in our world we all have wallets, which have got notes in them, but what can these notes do You can t breed them, you can t stir fry them, you can t live in them, there s absolutely nothing you can do with them, other than exchange them with each other and as soon as we exchange them with each other, all sorts of powerful things happen, because it s a fiction that we ve all subscribed to if the money vanished, the entire cooperative structure that we have would implode p 140 Did our discussion bear fruit Adams didn t change his mind about the existence of God He merely recognized the utility of the concept of God Egotistically, I had thought to convince him one step at a time, but perhaps, I merely pushed him to fortify and develop his philosophical position to allow for a utilitarian he called it artificial God The conversation was still stimulating, especially so when Adams began to expound about Feng Shui Now, maybe I wasn t listening, but I thought he was expressing skepticism about Feng Shui, so I said that it wouldn t really make any different that he and I don t believe that dragons exist, but that the concept of the dragon may help people designcomfortable and functional living spaces even if no dragon ever sets foot in the dwelling and presumably they would not Therefore, I suggested that even if I was wrong about the personal God whom I serve, my life may be better andmeaningful as a result of my conceptual idea of God s involvement in my life Now, admittedly, Adams hero of evolutionary arrogance Richard Dawkins wouldn t concede this as said individual perceives the very concept to be harmful due to the fundamentalist extremes which have wreaked havoc in human history, but it seemed like the approach caused Adams to pause Again, that could be arrogance on my part I WISH I had impacted Adams and this could merely be wish fulfillment However, I was delighted to read on p 146 You figure out how the dragon s going to be happy here, and lo, and behold, you ve suddenly got a place that makes sense for other organic creatures, such as ourselves, to live in Do I think I won a debate with this man who was, in so many ways, my intellectual superior Naaah I just like to think that our conversation pushed him in a direction he was already considering Do I wish I could have convinced him of the existence of a personal God who cared about Him and wanted to be involved in his life and life s work Absolutely Do I still admire him as a person and his creative output Absolutely There were a few other lines that I really enjoyed in this book of essays, interviews, introductions to books, albums, and concerts, speeches, and rambling thoughts before I got into what I really procured the book to read, the last Dirk Gently story I loved his line about art when he said, I think the idea of art kills creativity p 158 And, I loved the story about his awkward experience in the train station with the cookies pp 150 151 It appears that he was sharing a table while waiting for a train He had his coffee and a packet of cookies along with his morning newspaper As he was reading his paper, the fellow reached over, opened the bag of cookies, too one out and began to eat it Some British reserve kept him from confronting the man for his effrontery, so they actually ate the cookies in uncomfortable silence one for one When the man left, Adams moved his paper and discovered an identical, but unopened bag of cookies under his paper He was amused that he had thought so ill of the man while he was erroneously consuming the other man s cookies And he knew why this had occurred, but the other man never discovered the punch line In the U.S., of course, there would have been a loud vocal confrontation at the very least As for the title piece, the bare bones portion of the unfinished Salmon of Doubt, it was delightful even in its admittedly unpolished form I followed the tortured logic of the cabbie who assumed that since people said, Follow that cab in the movies and he, having had a long tenure as a cabbie had never heard that phrase, he must indeed have been the cab that all other cabs were following pp 249 250 I rolled my eyes with empathy when Dirk discovered a freezer cabinet full of old, white, clenched things that he was now too frightened to try to identify p 226 I chuckled at the description of Gently s office that was old and dilapidated and remained standingout of habit rather than from any inherent structural integrity p 238 I really loved the slam on typical airline personnel speak Airline Syllable Stress Syndrome p 253 I was sad that the book wasn t complete, even in its current form. Douglas Adams Changed The Face Of Science Fiction With His Cosmically Comic Novel The Hitchhiker S Guide To The Galaxy And Its Classic Sequels Sadly For His Countless Admirers, He Hitched His Own Ride To The Great Beyond Much Too Soon Culled Posthumously From Adams S Fleet Of Beloved Macintosh Computers, This Selection Of Essays, Articles, Anecdotes, And Stories Offers A Fascinating And Intimate Portrait Of The Multifaceted Artist And Absurdist WordsmithJoin Adams On An Excursion To Climb Kilimanjaro Dressed In A Rhino Costume Peek Into The Private Life Of Genghis Khan Warrior And World Class Neurotic Root For The Harried Author S Efforts To Get A Hitchhiker Movie Off The Ground In Hollywood Thrill To The Further Exploits Of Private Eye Dirk Gently And Two Headed Alien Zaphod Beeblebrox Though Douglas Adams Is Gone, He S Left Us Something Very Special To Remember Him By Without A Doubt This technically is the 3rd book in the Dirk Gently series Sadly, it s not really a Dirk Gently book You see, before Douglas Adams could write finish this third book, he died of a sudden heart attack in a gym in Santa Barbara in 2001.But he left behind fragments of chapters or chapters and their rewritings and a lot of other notes on his various computers His wife, daughter, agent, editor, assistant and other people then pieced together what is now The Salmon of Doubt which would have been the title of the third book.This book is divided into three parts 1 Life2 The Universe3 And Everythingwhich is a tribute to his Hitchhiker book s.There is muchin this book than simply another story or the beginning of one The first two parts are filled with snippets, random thoughts DA wrote down about tea and cookies and computers and other stuff, interviews for various magazines and newspapers he did, as well as speeches he gave for all sorts of occasions.For example, did you know how much Douglas Adams got involved with environmentalism Yes, this giant literally of a man did not just love all things Apple, but thanks to a trip done with biologist Mark Carwardine, he also became a staunch defender of bio diversity Most notably, he loved and tried to protect rhinos He even climbed the Kilimandscharo in a rhino costume in order to raise money for Save the Rhino a wildlife conservation organisation Here he is Naturally, it was muchof an ordeal than he had originally thought, which he explains in his very unique hilarious way seriously, I almost suffocated when reading his account of that trip.My favourite story though is of the cookies Here it is This actually did happen to a real person, and the real person is me I had gone to catch a train This was April 1976, in Cambridge, U.K I was a bit early for the train I d gotten the time of the train wrong I went to get myself a newspaper to do the crossword, and a cup of coffee and a packet of cookies I went and sat at a table I want you to picture the scene It s very important that you get this very clear in your mind Here s the table, newspaper, cup of coffee, packet of cookies There s a guy sitting opposite me, perfectly ordinary looking guy wearing a business suit, carrying a briefcase It didn t look like he was going to do anything weird What he did was this he suddenly leaned across, picked up the packet of cookies, tore it open, took one out, and ate it.Now this, I have to say, is the sort of thing the British are very bad at dealing with There s nothing in our background, upbringing, or education that teaches you how to deal with someone who in broad daylight has just stolen your cookies You know what would happen if this had been South Central Los Angeles There would have very quickly been gunfire, helicopters coming in, CNN, you know But in the end, I did what any red blooded Englishman would do I ignored it And I stared at the newspaper, took a sip of coffee, tried to do a clue in the newspaper, couldn t do anything, and thought, What am I going to do In the end I thought Nothing for it, I ll just have to go for it , and I tried very hard not to notice the fact that the packet was already mysteriously opened I took out a cookie for myself I thought, That settled him But it hadn t because a moment or two later he did it again He took another cookie Having not mentioned it the first time, it was somehow even harder to raise the subject the second time around Excuse me, I couldn t help but notice I mean, it doesn t really work.We went through the whole packet like this When I say the whole packet, I mean there were only about eight cookies, but it felt like a lifetime He took one, I took one, he took one, I took one Finally, when we got to the end, he stood up and walked away Well, we exchanged meaningful looks, then he walked away, and I breathed a sigh of relief and sat back.A moment or two later the train was coming in, so I tossed back the rest of my coffee, stood up, picked up the newspaper, and underneath the newspaper were my cookies The thing I like particularly about this story is the sensation that somewhere in England there has been wandering around for the last quarter century a perfectly ordinary guy who s had the same exact story, only he doesn t have the punch line.Typically British And, strangely, or not so strangely because it s typical DA, a perfect anecdote about life.This book, therefore, grants a unique insight into the author s mind, his anxiety that sometimes bordered on depression, his early years and struggle, the sudden fame and success, the maddening battle with Hollywood, his private life even And it shows how beloved and respected he was by family, friends and colleagues I mean, Stephen Fry penned the Foreword and Richard Dawkins the Epilogue Just the list of people he knew and often also how he got to know them is staggering.Alas, this is the end So to speak Fortunately, I can look forward to reading the 4 other Hitchhiker volumes as I haven t read those yet It s amazing what kind of a legacy this man left behind not just through his books, but also radio programmes, BBC contributions, movies, TV shows etc.Trigger Warning This book is sometimes difficult to read at least to those people who mourn the author, or generally feel for people who have to cope with sudden loss It sure made me cry at certain points. What a delight to revisit the mind of Douglas Adams I like that this is a collection of emails, speeches, one liners, and rants Yes, there s the start of a novel in there, that he may or may not have intended to call the Salmon of Doubt The result is so much better than it sounds like it s going to be Douglas Adams died, but his buddy knew his password and emptied his Mac onto a CD, the various unfinished writings were lightly edited and printed as this But gosh, am I ever glad that they did, because there s some exceptional writing in here, hilARious, as he always was, and glitteringly insightful His projections on the future of technology, from the 90 s, are pretty brilliant, and the piece de resistance is the speech to Cambridge on the purpose of God. A collection of Adams unpublished works, an unfinished Dirk Gently novel, magazine articles, letter, interviews, snippets It could beenjoyable with a muchcomposed editing and structuring. A kind of poor book which just happens to be filled with awesome I d really like a well organized and indexed collection of all of Douglas Adams short writings Round up all the columns and editorials he wrote, the text he did for his websites, everything, and get it all tied up with a bow and some context Salmon isn t that collection the writings are just tossed into poorly defined buckets with no real TOC to speak of and let us not speak of indexes , and there s no real way to tell what s missing or what s even important There s some occasional interesting serendipity to be had, but eh.On the other hand, it s Douglas Adams, bringer of joy and wry, good natured English despair, and even inferior collections of his work are crucial. A collection of essays, speeches, ramblings unearthed on his hard drive s , one short story culled from a BBC annual, and the titular unfinished Dirk Gently novel The essays are breezy and witty, often lacking focus when discussing science and technology, but comprise realistically the most readable of his non fiction output There are some readers, yours included, who feel Adams spent himself on the Hitchhiker s books although the Dirk Gentlys were absurdist romps sutured with awesome logic, they didn t hang together as novels The short excerpt from The Salmon of Doubt, however, might prove me wrong the usual warmth and humour is present, although in nascent form, the narration even slips from third into first person, a sign of Adams s dissatisfaction But all in all, nobody who loves Adams could resist reading this book, despite snoozing through the travel nature pieces to get to the stuff they want It s a pleasing gallimaufry Savour it, because there is no . It s really amazing the amounts of nostalgia that can build up in a person s system before it kinda explodes into a kind of reverse word soup full of interviews, introductions, epilogues, and snippets of novels we wish we had but they were never penned because the author up and died on us.I m writing of Douglas Adams, of course I almost didn t re read this one because I remember it WAS mostly just magazine articles and interesting early computer tech stuff and ruminations on science, god, and other random bits that fly out of this wonderful man s brain in tightly humorous one liners that explain not only life, the universe, and everything, but also the way his mind works and this is all DESPITE the fact that Mr DNA may or may not have had a functional nose with which to sneeze out those humorous one liners.So am I rating this entirely based on a man s ability to be clear, funny, horribly learned, and dead Yes, but it s gotta bethan that, and indeed it is I loved the man.I grew up reading and re reading HHGttG about a bazillion times with or without the cheese sandwhich, playing countless hours on the Infrogames title of the same name being simultaneously corrupted and flabbergasted by my inability to create NO TEA, and learning how to fly by distraction.I even decided when I was fourteen that I d grow a beard for the distinct purpose of giving some poor hapless creature a traveling burial site to not see the rest of the world through.DNA is that kind of man to me.This book reminds me of just how regular a human he is and it is an unabashedly wonderful nostalgia piece to boot Oh, and we also get a few short stories including Ghengis Kahn, a non presidential Zaphod, and the opening to the next Dirk Gently book which would have been fantastic, I m sure, had he written it sigh Still, what a wonderful thing it is Farewell, Mr Adams Yes I know I m 16 years late It s just that this book was compiled shortly after his death, so I feel it fresh Sue me. I waited sixteen and a half years to read this and I just about managed to get through it without bawling my eyes out Douglas Adams was the first author to make me laugh uproariously, back when I was a wee nipper Sure, Roald Dahl had given me a few chuckles, but it wasn t until I read Hitchhikers for the first time that I realised a book could make me laugh so much I nearly wet myself.As such, this was a bittersweet experience Reading Adams unpublished work, including several chapters of a new but never to be finished Dirk Gently novel, gave a new definition to laughing through one s tears I m glad I read it but it s going to take a while to recover It s a good job I had my towel

Hitchhiker s Guide to the Galaxy series Hitchhiker s began on radio, and developed into a trilogy of five books which sold 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 He was known to some fans as Bop Ad after his illegible signature , or by his initials DNA.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 Adams also originated the idea for the computer game Starship Titanic, which was produced by a company that Adams co founded, and adapted into a novel by Terry Jones A posthumous collection of essays and other material, including an incomplete novel, was published as

[KINDLE] ✽ The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time Author Douglas Adams –
  • Mass Market Paperback
  • 298 pages
  • The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time
  • Douglas Adams
  • English
  • 24 July 2019
  • 9780345455291

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