Talk:Douglas Adams

From Wikiquote
Latest comment: 11 years ago by in topic How can Adams be dead?
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Douglas Adams page.


  1. "Here the man in blue crimplene accosted us once more but we patiently explained to him that he could fuck off."

This one seems pretty weak - suggest deleting it.

there's nothing from dirk gently!

So suggest something!

I don't know what the hell "Fit the Xth" is. My only conjecture is that it's some idiot looking for publicity. In any case, it's pretty annoying, and doesn't occur in the books, so I'm axing it.

Fit the Xth is the tenth episode of the Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the fourth episode of the second series.— 11:26, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)

The radio episodes were numbered "Fit the First", "Fit the Second", and so on. Currently (as in right this moment), the latest episode is Fit the Fifteenth. - Furrykef 02:31, 9 Oct 2004 (UTC)

And my only conjecture is that you're some idiot who goes around erasing whatever he doesn't understand.

  • "If we see you smoking we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate action." -Douglas Adams

Is on the Drugs page, but not here. I don't know the original source, so I'm not going to immediately put it back in. If anyone knows whether this quote was from DNA...

"Technology is a word that describes something that doesn't work yet" - this is attributed to Bran Ferren here:



Have you read all of his material?? In fact, there is a bunch of stuff he said that most people don't please....

Deleting parts of a page?


Hm. The Wiki concept seems to be too 'open' for me. I don't see much sense in contributing if some days later somebody comes along and deletes big parts of what I entered. sunny 07:32, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)

It does seem that major portions have been deleted by the last edit from IP Sometimes things are lost inadvertently during attempts at major configuration changes, but all acts of deliberate deletion of quotes should be done with a specified reason. I am now examining what the most recent editors have done, and trying to restore what has been lost in a new edit, and perhaps a new configuration. ~ Kalki 07:50, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I just reverted the most recent edit, that was made by IP, but I am also examining the structure of the article and might make some rearrangements. ~ Kalki 07:58, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Thank you. sunny

That quote:

"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so."

is twice in the page.



I've searched this page for word 'towel' and have found no matches!

It's imposible to cite guide and do not mention a towel.

Clearly not 03:40, 20 January 2007 (UTC)DTPReply

Yet unconfirmed quotes


Does anybody have a source link or other confirmation that this quote is from Douglas Adams?

"Don't destroy the Earth in the first chapter. You'll need it later." -- Douglas Adams

This quote seems to be widely attributed to Adams, but it really doesn't sound like him to me. Can anybody definitively confirm or deny:

"To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity."

page numbers


Do the page numbers apply to most versions of the book, the original, or just a certain copy one editor happened to own? They don't match with my copy, "published by Gollancz in 2005". I think I shall replace them with chapter numbers if no-one objects, as the chapters are generally quite short. Boffy b 22:45, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Citing chapter numbers is almost always a much better practice than using page numbers, which can vary widely between editions. ~ Kalki 23:19, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)

inconsistencies/doubled lines

  • "Think of a number, any number." - Asked of the mattress by Marvin
    • is also in the "Marvin" section, since Marvin says that and the mattress answers.
  • "We apologise for the inconvenience" - God's final message to humans.
    • didn't the Vogons say that? I haven't read all the books through yet, but it sounds like the public announcement at the beginning of the first book

( 19:38, 7 May 2005 (UTC))Reply

The "We apologise for the inconvenience" is God's Final Message to His Creation, and is indeed not said by the Vogons. - Furrykef 20:15, 11 May 2005 (UTC)Reply
  • If memory serves, it was great burning letters in the side of a mountain? You had to climb up to see it, certainly no one said it.
  • Marvin was looking through a telescope to see the burning letters (just before he died). I always took the joke to mean that the telescope was in fact out of order, yet Marvin believed, and accepted what he saw as God's final message.

On Computers - Salmon of Doubt


This quote appears in the article:

First we thought the PC was a calculator. Then we found out how to turn numbers into letters with ASCII — and we thought it was a typewriter. Then we discovered graphics, and we thought it was a television. With the World Wide Web, we've realized it's a brochure.

I've read The Salmon of Doubt and Douglas says pretty much exactly that, but it's much longer. I agree this is a nice concise version, but did Douglas indeed shorten it himself somewhere (source anyone?) or has a wiki editor summarised this? (in which case it's not a quote) —EatMyShortz 11:01, 24 January 2006 (UTC)Reply

How can Adams be dead?


I'm sure I read somewhere that he played an active role in writing the Guide's movie script.

I think he worked on it before he died.

I remember reading somewhere (Salmon of Doubt maybe?) that the movie was supposed to be made 10 or 15 years ago and it just never happened, so id assume they just got his scripts and finished it up/edited it.

Even death couldn't stop Douglas Adams. He did indeed write (or possibly participated in the writing of) the screenplay for the film [1] and thanks to the wonders of digital technology he also managed to voice Agrajag in the radio series, three years after his death [2]

This may have more to do with recording the books during his lifetime rather than digital technology per say. 11:18, 13 November 2011 (UTC)Reply

I suspect (without proof) that Douglas was instrumental in not writing the screenplay. He was perhaps the English's greatest procastinator and the movie was in development hell for years, only finally seeing the light of day four years after his death. -- 15:32, 3 January 2013 (UTC)Reply

Indeed, as a point of logic, anyone at all can be dead, dead as a doornail, but then it is highly unlikely that you are.

Dirk Gently Merge


An editor suggested that Dirk Gently be merged into this article. Given that there's only one quote on the Dirk Gently page, I don't see a reason why there shouldn't be a merge. Ripberger 23:20, 1 October 2007 (UTC)Reply

The happening quote, "Anything that happens happens, anything that in happening etc.." is attributed to the Salmon of Doubt, but this is from one of the HH books, I believe the third one. So, as that was published first, shouldn't it be in there?

"Writing is easy..."


I've removed the following:

  • Writing is easy. You only need to stare at a piece of blank paper until a drop of blood forms on your forehead.
    • (note: this quote is often attributed to Gene Fowler rather than Douglas Adams.)

because whoever actually said it, it can't have been Adams, as the man himself seems to confirm here: About 1:35 in he does use the quote but also says "I think it comes from Ring Lardner".


  • I may be a pretty sad case, but I don't write jokes in base 13!
    • Douglas Adams, referring to the theory that the disparity between the question and answer of life, the universe and everything is an obscure math joke on his part (6 times 9 equals 42 in base 13). He mentioned this when interviewed on the BBC by Clive Anderson, among other occasions.
  • "42 is a nice number that you can take home and introduce to your family"
    • Douglas Adams, responding to the "Why 42?" at Brown University (circa 1994)
  • Mozart tells us what it's like to be human, Beethoven tells us what it's like to be Beethoven and Bach tells us what it's like to be the universe.
    • From The Salmon of Doubt
  • "Humans are not proud of their ancestors, and rarely invite them round to dinner."
    • From The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
  • "Mark Knopfler has an extraordinary ability to make a Schecter Custom Stratocaster hoot and sing like angels on a Saturday night, exhausted from being good all week and needing a stiff drink."
    • Adams' Description of the guitar on the Dire Straits track "Tunnel of Love" from So Long and Thanks For All the Fish
  • "Flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss."
    • From Life, The Universe and Everything
  • Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?
  • I find the whole business of religion profoundly interesting. But it does mystify me that otherwise intelligent people take it seriously.
  • If I were not an atheist, I think I would have to be a Catholic because if it wasn't the forces of natural selection that designed fish, It must have been an Italian. (Riding the Rays, an article written in 1992)
    • This article (Riding the Rays) was also part of "Salmon of Doubt"
  • I wrote an ad for Apple Computer: 'Macintosh - We might not get everything right, but at least we knew the century was going to end.'
  • He started to count to ten. He was desperately worried that one day sentient life forms would forget how to do this. Only by counting could humans demonstrate their independence of computers. -Ford Prefect, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
  • The Macintosh may only have 10% of the market, but it is clearly the top 10%.
  • First we thought the PC was a calculator. Then we found out how to turn numbers into letters with ASCII — and we thought it was a typewriter. Then we discovered graphics, and we thought it was a television. With the World Wide Web, we've realized it's a brochure.
  • [The World Wide Web is] the only thing I know of whose shortened form — www — takes three times longer to say than what it's short for.
  • Technology is a word that describes something that doesn't work yet.
    • JavaOne keynote, 1999
  • The idea that Bill Gates has appeared like a knight in shining armour to lead all customers out of a mire of technological chaos neatly ignores the fact that it was he who, by peddling second-rate technology, led them into it in the first place.
  • I first saw this program in the same week that evidence was discovered of life on Mars. This is more exciting.
    • On the subject of Creatures, an artificial-life computer program
  • You live and learn. At any rate, you live.
  • I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer.
    • (Zaphod Beeblebrox - H2G2)


  • In fact, I wanted to be John Cleese, and it took some time to realize the job was in fact taken.
  • It takes an awful long time to not write a book.
  • Time is the worst place, so to speak, to get lost in...
  • I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. (This quote was used by Scott Adams in a Dilbert comic strip)
  • Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so. (Ford Prefect)
  • Anything that happens, happens. Anything that, in happening, causes something else to happen causes something else to happen. Anything that, in happening, causes itself to happen happens again. It doesn't necessarily have to happen in that order, though.
    • From "Mostly Harmless"
  • If you've never visited or spent time in Santa Fe, New Mexico, then let me say this: you're a complete idiot. I was myself a complete idiot till about a year ago.....
    • From "Maggie and Trudie"


  • Getting a movie made in Hollywood is like trying to grill a steak by having a succession of people coming into the room and breathing on it.
    • MIT (1999)
  • "Life, is like a grapefruit. [...]it's orangey-yellow and dimpled on the outside, wet and squidgy in the middle. It's got pips inside, too. Oh, and some people have half a one for breakfast."
    • Ford Prefect, in a dream sequence
  • "He hoped and prayed that there wasn't an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn't an afterlife."
    • Life, the Universe, and Everything
  • "It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes."
    • Life, the Universe, and Everything
  • "Life! Don't talk to me about life."
    • Marvin
  • "What to do if you find yourself stuck with no hope of rescue: Consider yourself lucky that life has been good to you so far. Alternatively, if life hasn't been good to you so far, which given your present circumstances seems more likely, consider yourself lucky that it won't be troubling you much longer."
    • Fit the Eight
  • "It's funny how just when you think life just can't possibly get any worse it suddenly does."
    • Marvin
  • "Life, loathe it or ignore it, you can't like it."
    • Marvin
  • "Everybody has their moment of great opportunity in life. If you happen to miss the one you care about, then everything else in life becomes eerily easy."
    • Mostly Harmless
  • "One definition of life, albeit not a particularly useful one, might run something like this: Life is that property which a being will lose as a result of falling out of a cold and mysterious cave, thirteen miles above ground level. This is not a useful definition, a) because it could equally well refer to the subjects glasses if he happens to be wearing them, and b) because it fails to take into account the possibility that the subject might happen to fall on the, say, the back of an extremely large passing bird. The first of these flaws is due to sloppy thinking, but the second is understandable, because the mere idea is, quite clearly, utterly ludicrous."
    • Fit the Tenth
  • There is a theory which states that if anybody ever discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened. - (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, almost all versions)
  • The simple truth is that interstellar distances will not fit into the human imagination - (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)
  • In the beginning the universe was created. This made a lot of people angry and has been widely regarded as a "bad move". - (The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe)
  • "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 or repair."
    • From Mostly Harmless
  • "What's so bad about being drunk?" - "Just ask a glass of water."