Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) was born on this day in 1952, an anniversary Google commemorates today with one of their fabulous doodles: this time animated and interactive.
When he died in May of 2001, Adams was an international bestselling author and satirist. But as Writer’s Almanac notes today, that wasn’t always the case:
He was unemployed, depressed, living in his mother’s house, when he remembered a night from years before. He was a teenager traveling around Europe with his guidebook The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Europe, and that night he was lying in a field in Innsbruck, drunk, looking up at the stars, and he thought somebody should write a hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy as well.
Adams began with a radio play which chronicled the adventures of everyman Arthur Dent who is onsite when the earth is demolished in an interstellar construction project. Luckily for Arthur, he catches a ride on a spaceship. A hapless hitchhiker and instant radio success for its creator.
In 1978, the radio broadcasts were such a success that Adams turned them into a series of five successful novels: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979), The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (1980), Life, the Universe and Everything (1982), So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (1984), and Mostly Harmless (1992).
See previous Google Doodles here.