Douglas Adams earned a reputation as a quirky science fiction humor writer with scripts for Doctor Who and Monty Python, and of course the immortal five-part trilogy, The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Adams would have turned 61 today, March 11, 2013.
Although writing seemed to be in his blood, he often had to force himself to work at it. "I love deadlines," he was quoted as saying, "I love the whooshing sound they make as they go by."
In addition to being a writer, he was also an avid conservationist, at one point wearing a rhino costume for an ascent of Mt. Kilamunjaro to publicize the plight of the endangered black rhino. He allegedly bought the first Apple Mac in Europe when that device came out, and lovingly owned a whole herd of them over the years, eventtually becoming an "Apple Master" spokesman for the company.
His works have been turned into television series, radio plays, computer games, and big-screen movies. He was also a musician, playing guitar left-handed.
A self-described "radical atheist," he nevertheless enjoyed exploring the impact of religion on the human consciousness. Many of his stories have religious elements and overtones in them, most notably the Hitchhiker series, in which the Earth was an organic computer commissioned by hyperintelligent mice and constructed by the Magratheans to discover the Ultimate Answer to the Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything (which turns out to be "42"--the age Adams was when his only child was born.) He also pokes fun at religion with the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, which sits on the event horizon of the end of time, and has a number of interplanetary messiahs on the reservations list.
His fertile imagination gifted us with vicious aliens who enjoy writing horrible poetry, a starship drive that runs on infinite improbabilities, which bring it to every point in the universe simultaneously, proud artisans who sign glaciers they construct, robots that have Genuine People Personalities and as a result are emotionally damaged, and an egotistical, literally larger-than-life Galactic President with three arms and two heads who turns out to be merely the front man for the unassuming little chap who really runs things.
Many of Adams' ideas and catch-phrases have subsequently entered pop culture, and "International Towel Day" has been celebrated on the 25th of May since 2001.
Adams' life and career was cut suddenly short in 2001, when on the eleventh of May he suffered a heart attack after his daily work-out. He left behind a body of work which is still gaining fans around the world. The Google Doodle for today commemorates his birthday.
Which is kinda why I was motivated to write this little bio.
You can read more about Douglas Adams and his work here: