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As a wise ape once observed space is big vastly hugely mind bogglingly so However if you look too closely at space it becomes nothing but lumps of rock and sundry gases Sometimes it's necessary to take a step back and let a few billion years go by before any of the true wonder and scope of the cosmos becomes apparentSimilarly the late 20th century author humorist and thinker Douglas Adams was big vastly hugely and thoroughly mind bogglingly so both in physical terms and as a writer who has touched millions of readers firing up millions of cerebellums all over planet Earth for over 35 years and for nearly half of that time he hasn't even been aliveIt would be ridiculous to pretend that Douglas Adams's life and work has gone unexamined since his dismayingly early death at 49 but throughout the decade since the last book to tackle the subject the universes Adams created have continued to develop to beguile and expand minds and will undoubtedly do so for generations to comeAn all new approach to the most celebrated creation of Douglas Adams is therefore most welcome and The Frood tells the story of Adams's explosive but agonizingly constructed fictional universe from his initial inspirations to the posthumous seuels and adaptations bringing together a thousand tales of life as part of the British Comedy movements of the late 70s and 80s along the way With the benefit of hindsight and much time passed friends and colleagues have been interviewed for a fresh take on the man and his works


10 thoughts on “The Frood

  1. says:

    A chunky and comprehensive biography of the life and afterlife of Douglas Noel Adams a man with remarkable imagination and considerable wit to match his tall and somewhat awkward frame His story begins with his birth in 1952 but does not conclude with his untimely death in 2001 It covers his struggles to make his mark in the British comedy scene rubbing shoulders with the likes of Clive Anderson Rhys Jones Stephen Fry and attempting to follow in the footsteps of John Cleese and the Monty Python crew It covers his script writing skills for low budget almost forgotten science fiction skits as well as Monty Python and eludes to the episodes he wrote for Doctor Who We learn about the conception of his most noteable work The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and the trials and tribulations about writing for radioThe writer Jem Robert's passion for his subject shines clearly through the text Adams is portrayed as a somewhat determined and dedicated young man with a certain level of hopeful optimism and general naivety as well as a hearty dose of comic wit and timing It is interspersed with extracts from scripted works short gags from the Adams's archives and the occasional anecdoteWith his sudden unexpected death at the age of a mere 49 the story of Douglas Adams may have finished but his legacy continues with his daughter taking the helm and asking the ultimate uestion What would Douglas have wanted? This period covers the movie the Dirk Gently television series the release of the incomplete Salmon of Doubt Eoin Colfer's rather forgotten And another thing along with a reboot of the radio show This is a hefty tome a tribute to a fine fellow that lived too short a time and wrote far less than he could have The writing is somewhat dry at times and is best enjoyed in short chunks rather than as an epic read There is just a part of me that wishes Adams had lived to write his autobiography because there are so many unanswered uestions lurking between the lines


  2. says:

    A surprisingly good bookI've studiously avoided reading biographies of Douglas Adams so farI've often feared that we might stray over into the dissecting of comedy problem It's a bit like dissecting a frog It might be an interesting exercise to do but at the end of it all you have are bits of frogThis book was a lot of fun I bought it looking forward to the unpublished bits of Douglas' writing that Jem had promised us These were fun but such a lot of short unconnected pieces that felt a little strange to read one after the other I was just beginning to enjoy the creation and then it would end for the whole process to begin again with another pieceThe biography of Douglas however was very entertaining indeed with Jem managing to portray a real joy and delight in the works of DNA It gave a very clear picture of Douglas' fervent amble to fame and fortune in the world of BBC light entertainmentMost enjoyable


  3. says:

    The Frood is comprehensive really comprehensive You might think Salmon of Doubt was comprehensive but that's just peanuts to the Frood At times this book is almost excessive in detail for instance the peanuts to space bit didn't originate with Hitchhikers Guide far from it But for Hitchhikers fans there's tons of interesting details about Douglas Adams' life the creation of his famous works and a fair number of outtakes and alternate versions of familiar stories Many of them would have needed a bit polish before publication such as the back story of the Dentrassi but others of them are as good as anything Adams wrote A bit of a commitment but a must read for serious fans of Adams or the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy


  4. says:

    A comprehensive chronological history of Douglas Adams struggle to become a comedy writer and performer through the success of Hitchhiker's and subseuent struggle with the success and demands of being a phenomenally successful writer but not performer From artistic hubris thwarted ambitions and realised dreams A great insight well written and many nuggets of unpublished DNA work Also a very useful reference to the entire works of Douglas Adams both small and large


  5. says:

    “Hey you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is” Sass know be aware of meet have sex with; hoopy really together guy; frood really amazingly together guy Douglas Adams The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the GalaxyAs I type this and after reading The Frood there is a realisation that there has been a major passage of time since I first encountered The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy The publication of this biography fully authorised by the Adams’ estate and Douglas’ family is a fully formed thing of loveliness released to indicate that it is 35 years ago Hitchhiker appeared as a BBC Radio 4 series and then as a book In 2014 it is known globally and still going strong despite Douglas’s death at the criminally short age of 49 in 2001 Fans include scientist Richard Dawkins actor and raconteur Stephen Fry David Gilmour of Pink Floyd and various members of Monty Python amongst many othersThis book puts the complex events of Douglas’ writing career into a chronological perspective In five sections it tells of Douglas’s background his family his academic path and his early work in comedy before almost by accident working for the BBC and then creating Hitchhiker It then deals with the now legendary difficulties that Douglas experienced creating the series and when the radio series became an international success Throughout all of this The Frood also tells of his friendships mainly with the New Wave of British comedians in the 1980s – John Lloyd Stephen Fry Ben Elton Peter Cook the Monty Python group and then with scientists conservationists computer companies and fellow scriptwritersHis success on Hitchhiker led to other things – work on Doctor Who scripts a friendship with Pink Floyd and travel around the world with Stephen Fry to see nearly extinct animals for a book and TV series Last Chance to See Despite all of this The Frood shows that his family kept Douglas grounded it seems both his sister Susan and his wife Jane not to mention his daughter Polly now at universityFor fans of Hitchhiker and the Dirk Gently series there’s a lot of reminiscing here that will keep them amused with anecdotes and bon mots a plenty The book includes material based on many new interviews with friends and colleagues to fill in some of the gaps that fans will no doubt be wanting to readAnd perhaps most importantly the book’s appendices have previously unpublished material from Douglas’s archive in Cambridge including removed extracts from Hitchhiker short stories and notes The Introduction here is something Douglas wrote as self parody circa 1985 based on his use of an automatic author interview writing machine It is rather typical of the manAs biographies go it must be said that there have been a few since Douglas’ death The author himself has pointed out that the biographies by Neil Gaiman Nick Webb and MJ Simpson were reference points to start with not to further mention the website fanclub ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha still going strong The Frood is one of the most detailed and interesting accounts and Jem’s Acknowledgements towards the back of the book show how much work and care has gone into this biographyWhilst it could so easily have veered off into hagiography The Frood shows perhaps than ever before the man’s interests drives and insecurities in an entertainingly affectionate manner I enjoyed reading it a lot even if only to realise at the end how much Douglas would have loved to be here in 2014 There is a now apocryphal story told again in this book of Douglas being locked in a room with a typewriter by his editor with no telephone or other means of communication until he had sat down and written ‘something’ Pages were passed to the editor under the bottom of the locked door


  6. says:

    This book took me a stupidly long time to finish I was expecting to love it but actually every page was a struggle to get through I can't even tell you why I struggled was it with the author's writing style which initially apes the great DNA himself but then slides into their own? Or maybe it was just that away from the books of his that I loved Douglas Adams wasn't the person I had thought he was?It is packed full of details that usually thrill fans of biographies but somehow this left me cold


  7. says:

    I've been a major fan of Douglas Adams since 1980 or 1981 thanks to the older brother of my boyfriend at the time who introduced us to this totally radical and cool book My iPhone case says Don't Panic It was great to read about Adams's background and how the various versions came to be I think you have to be British to recognize many of the names that are dropped but no matter This is a worthy and entertaining biography


  8. says:

    From Week Ending to That Thing About 'Hyperlinks' a meticulously researched and wittily told guide to the life and times and e enthusiasms of the man some would call the greatest ever user of the English Language He would have found a imaginative way of phrasing it than that though


  9. says:

    Very thorough biography put together excellently Full of good stuff with scriptnovel excerpts and patches of discarded material as well as a whole heap of stuff that tracks early sketches that were reused and hammered into shape for various parts of HG2TG


  10. says:

    More entertaining in some ways than the latter range of Adams' own books and instructive in its gentle criticism