Literary Birthday: Douglas Adams

Even for novelists, a famously time-wasting bunch, Douglas Adams (born today in 1952) was a procrastinator of epic proportions. One of his favorite jokes was about how much he loved deadlines, particularly “the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” Adams had such a grueling time finishing Mostly Harmless, the bleak fifth entry in his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy “trilogy,” that when British TV program The South Bank Show contacted him about doing a piece on his writing the book, the blocked Adams proposed instead a show about his writer’s block (which, conveniently, offered yet another excuse for him to avoid writing). In the script’s meta narrative, Adams wrote about how “despite having sold 198 squigwizillion books, Douglas Adams still found it very hard to believe that he could actually write them.”

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