Twenty years after his untimely death from a heart attack at the age of forty-nine, fans of Douglas Adams, the author of the bestselling five-book trilogy The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, remember him to this day, whether they are carrying a towel in his honor every May 25, or discovering more about him and the galaxy he created. Here are 5 things you didn’t know about Douglas Adams.
1. He was hitchhiking when he thought of the idea for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Hitchhiking through Europe, with a stolen copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To Europe, Adams thought up the idea for the trilogy one night as he lay drunk and depressed in a field in Innsbruck, Austria. He has said about the experience, “Somebody ought to write a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy… Because it looked a lot more attractive out there than it did around me.”
2. He chose the album name for Pink Floyd’s 1994 album The Division Bell.
Adams wasn’t only a master storyteller, he also played the guitar. Buddies with Pink Floyd, Adams crafted the name from a blend of lyrics from one of the songs on the album one night at dinner with the group. The name stuck and he is credited for coming up with the name.
3. He was an ‘Apple Master.’
Adams loved technology and he really loved Apple computers. He was the first man in Europe to buy a Macintosh. He said, “‘I adore my family of however many Macintoshes it is that I’ve recklessly accumulated over the years.”
4. The towel.
While vacationing in Greece, Adams recounts, “every morning they’d have to sit around and wait for me because I couldn’t find my blessed towel . . . I came to feel that someone really together, one who was well organised, would always know where his towel is.” Now towel day is held every May 25, where fans openly carry a towel, as described in the book and in honor of Adams.
5. He has three objects in space.
The Minor Planet Center announced the naming of asteroid 18610 as Arthurdent, days before he died. The asteroid 25924 Douglasadams was named in his memory, in 2005. Finally, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, a fan of Adams, launched his Tesla Roadster into an elliptical heliocentric orbit. Adorned on the car’s dashboard: “Don’t Panic!”