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Don't Panic: Douglas Adams & The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Paperback – September 15, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"It's all devastatingly true - except the bits that are lies" - Douglas Adams * "Hilarious fun... a source of much delightful trivia" - Publisher's Weekly"

About the Author

Neil Gaiman is a New York Times best-selling author and one of the most critically acclaimed living comics writers. There have been two recent movie adaptations of his work, Stardust and Coraline.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Titan Books; New, Updated ed. edition (September 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848564961
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848564961
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #174,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is part a biography of Douglas Adams, and part a description of how the different versions of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy came to be. Douglas Adams was a very interesting and intelligent man whose life was cut tragically short. The story of how his most famous work was created is almost as funny and capticating as the Hitchiker's Guide itself. We get some examples of his early work, which can be incredibly funny ("How many kamikaze missions have you flown?" "Fourteen Sir!" "Shouldn't it be just one?"). He was involved with the Monty Python group, and wrote some material for them.

I think the book should be essential not only for Hitchhiker's buffs but also for wannabes in any creative profession.
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Format: Hardcover
Neil Gaiman does an excellent job of capturing the style and mood of Douglas Adams, and reveals the man behind the books revered by many. This book is enjoyable, and interesting, and a definite read for anyone who loves the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The only sad part is that it's a bit short - like Adams' life. So that's a bit depressing. Otherwise, a good read!
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Format: Hardcover
This is a neat little book. I found the 1st edition years ago by chance in my university bookstore and bought it. When this revised edition (with some new material) was released, I snapped that up as well and re-read it.

Basically, think of this as the book equivalent to a "Bonus Features" DVD. It's jam packed with odd little stories and insights into the making of the Hitchhiker's universe (all media: radio, records, books, & TV). Die-Hard Adams fans will enjoy this.

And the fact that this happens to be compiled by Neil Gaiman, one of my other favorite writers, is just an added bonus.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Neil Gaiman's Don't Panic succeeds in so far as the author manages to capture the humor of the late Douglas Adams. It lacks depth as a biography but more than blankets the various aspects and versions of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (H2 G2 ) as well as the five book trilogy. It is correctly described in one of the other reviews as the hyperextended bonus feature that was too long to include on any of the CDs or DVD versions of the radio broadcasts, televisions shows and unfortunately the Disney movie.

If you have come looking for this book and have read this far my assumption is you are a Douglas Adams fan. H2 G2, Dirk Gently or possibly Dr. Who fans constitute the target readership for this book. Granted Douglas Adams had a very slight association with the Monty Python's crew; more of common friendships than creative participation but none of this qualifies Don't Panic for a general audience.

That portion of the book that is about Douglas Adams is clearly intended as a friends and family type biography. That is, one that is more affectionate than analytical or critical. A very large portion of the discussion of Adams the writer centers around his inability to meet any deadlines which is nothing new for people who know about Adams's history. Daiman does do a decent job of explaining Adamns and missed deadlines by providing the additional context of Adams; too often self-inflicted complex life.

Gaiman succeeds as an apologist for Douglas Adams and is someone who can speak in a voice very much like Douglas Adams. I have read as much of Adams published works as are available in America. I own and enjoy the original radio series and the original television series of H2 G2.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Neil Gaiman and the associated writers cover Douglas Adams and the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy well. First there is an explanation of how Adams came up with the title "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" in 1971, then a brief biography of Adams from childhood to the period just before he wrote Hitchhiker's Guide. He always wanted to write since the age of ten when he received a rare perfect score from his composition teacher. However, Adams had trouble keeping up with deadlines, so his papers were usually late. He appeared in school plays and developed a love for performing. After watching Graham Chapman on TV, Douglas decided that he was going to be a writer-performer like Chapman. Adams later attended Cambridge University after winning a writing contest, there he joined the legendary Footlights performing society. Unfortunately, he didn't fit in there because the ideas he submitted to the group were rejected as being not particularly funny. But he kept trying and formed a small troupe with two other students, one named Smith and the other Adams. They called themselves Adams, Smith and Adams and were known for putting on sketches like the educated railway brakeman who tied up the line trying link existentialism with the switching system. After that he gave performing to write. He wrote several sketches for radio shows after that, some memorable, others forgettable. But in 1977, Adams came up with the script that would make him famous. He took the title that he dreamed up in 1971 and paired with with the story of a man driven from his planet (which was destroyed for a better path for spaceships) and forced to wander the galaxy with a reporter for the Guide. Adams submitted the script outline to the BBC and they approved it in March.Read more ›
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