Douglas Adams Analysis

Discussion Topics

Douglas Adams was among the first to combine the genres of science fiction and humor. What effects did this new combination have on the science-fiction genre? The humor genre?

How do Adams’s Everyman characters draw readers into the story?

What does the immense popularity of the Hitchhiker’s series suggest about the sort of books readers enjoy?

What role does the persistent emphasis on food play in Adams’s novels?

What advantages and disadvantages of high-technology gadgets does Adams highlight?

How does Dirk Gently’s style of detective work differ from the detective work to which most readers are accustomed? What is the effect of this unusual approach to the genre?

Marvin the paranoid android came into being around the same time as the droids of Star Wars. What besides paranoia separates him from his counterparts in the Star Wars films?

Adams was a devout atheist, yet many of his books deal directly with deities. Why?


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Gaiman, Neil. Don’t Panic: Douglas Adams and “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” Rev. ed. London: Titan Books, 2002. The first official biography written about Adams; it was updated after his death.

Morgan, David. Monty Python Speaks! New York: Spike, 1999. Includes a chapter in which Adams recalls early days in Cambridge and collaborations with members of Monty Python.

Simpson, M. J. The Pocket Essential Hitchhiker’s Guide. London: Trafalgar Square, 2001. A very thorough list of almost everything Adams did or with which he was involved.

Webb, Nick. Wish You Were Here: The Official Biography of Douglas Adams. New York: Ballantine Books, 2005. Official biography of Adams written by Webb, a friend and colleague, first published in United Kingdom in 2003. Access to papers and interviews with family members makes this work essential.