In a recent conversation with CINESCAPE, best-selling AMERICAN GODS author Neil Gaiman shared some of his memories of Douglas Adams, author of THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY. Gaiman became acquainted with Adams when he was just a 23 year old journalist in both authors' native England. Gaiman, a fan of Adams, was delighted to get a job writing DON'T PANIC, an authorized biography of the older author.
"I was just a silly little guy," recalls Gaiman. "When I met Douglas I was only in my early 20s, and I had just sort of stumbled upon writing. I was by no means an experienced or established writer. But the thing about [Adams] was that he didn't care. He treated me like a professional and like an equal."
The experience of working with Adams taught Gaiman a lesson that he carries with him to this day.
"I learned from him that the people who have the most reason to be arrogant are the nicest, and that all too often it's the 'second-string' people who are extremely conscious of how important they are."
Gaiman has one comic memory of Adams that never made it into the biography. In the HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE books, Adams repeatedly states that a good intergalactic hitchhiker always knows where his towel is.
"One day I was in his office, going through various papers in the filing cabinet as part of the research for the book, and his mother was there on a visit. I think I was looking through old DOCTOR WHO scripts or something, when I heard his mother ask for a towel so that she could take a bath. He went from cabinet to cabinet and couldn't find any. It was unbelievable: Douglas Adams didn't know where his towel was!"
Douglas Adams, who died of a heart attack last year, had almost completed work on his final novel, A SALMON OF A DOUBT, which is being prepped for publication as part of a compendium in May.
"He was a wonderful author and he leaves us a great legacy," Gaiman concludes.