Monday, March 11, 2013

Schools : Reading science-fiction : Douglas Adams : resources

Douglas Adams, Santa Barbara, California, 2000 
credits:Dan Callister/Getty Images

Google doodle Douglas Adams's Anniversary

Google celebrates Douglas Noel Adams and his famous science-fiction series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy with an amazing Doodle

Douglas Noel Adams (11 March 1952 - 11 May 2001) was an English writer, humorist and dramatist. 

Today's interactive Google Doodle dives deep into Adams lore. The cup of tea calls back Adams's series of Dirk Gently detective novels. 

Opening the door on the left reveals Marvin, the paranoid android from the Hitchhiker's series. 

And the digital pad plays short animations that crack wise about everything from the fictitious "babel fish" to the classic Adams quote: "The knack (to flying) lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss."

Google doodle Douglas Adams's Anniversary

So, Google created a visual interactive Hitch Hikers Doodle logo, with a live Guide reprising visual versions of famous entries, from th Earth being Mostly Harmless, the origin of the universe in a sneeze, what Deep Thought was all about, how to fly by aiming yourself at the ground and missing and what to do with a towel.

Google doodle Douglas Adams's Anniversary

It includes Marvin the Paranoid Android (behind that door); the Dirk Gently detective novel The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, if not also Arthur Dent’s tea in “Guide’; the requisite space-travel towel, which he wrote ”is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have”; the language-translating (stick it in your ear) Babel fish; and of course “42” — aka computer Deep Thought’s answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything.


This month marks another important Adams milestone. Last Friday was the 35th anniversary of his radio drama The Hitchhiker's Guide to the GalaxyFew remember that the BBC radio show predates the books and TV show.  

Adams wrote with Monty Python’s Graham Chapman early in his career but is the author of books as 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). 

Starship Titanic/ pc game

Interesting, Adams wrote "The Internet: The Last Battleground of the 20th century" (radio series) in 2000.  And a computer game Starship Titanic in 1996.

In 2005, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was adapted to a British-American comic science fiction film released in 2005. It is dedicated "to Douglas".

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
credits: Wikipedia

“Douglas Adams was a genius. He was a profound and brilliant British humorist who was also a very reluctant novelist,”  

Neil Gaiman, English writer

Douglas Adams & Neil Gaiman:

I wrote about Neil Gaiman and his Coraline in 2012 to celebrate the 10th anniversary Coraline's first edition.

"Celebrating ten years of Neil Gaiman’s first modern classic for young readers, this must-have anniversary edition is enriched with a brand-new foreword from the author, a reader’s guide, and more."

Don't Panic
Douglas Adams & The Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy
Neil Gaiman

Gaiman, aclaimed for such works as “American Gods,” or Coraline, “The Graveyard Book” and “Sandman" cherishes the friendship they had for more than a decade.

“Most writers become novelists because they like writing novels,” says Gaiman, who authored the companion book Don’t Panic: Douglas Adams & the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. 

“Douglas wrote a radio series that then became a huge and enormously successful novel, so he found himself stuck as an incredibly reluctant novelist who would have to be locked in a room by his publisher to finish a book.” 

“I love deadlines,” Adams famously said. “I love the whooshing sound they make as they go by.”

He became well know for his atheist views, conservation and love of technology. As well as his works of fiction, 

Adams also wrote about some of the most endangered species in the world for his book Last Chance to See.


Love Google doodles! They could be include into school curriculum as I already wrote. And I write a lot of Google doodles, my usual readers know it. Doodles combine creativity, digital culture and motivation to a different school lessons. You must think about it.

Here, a good digital resources to some lessons about science-fiction in Literature. 

You must prepare some good pedagogical activities to teach science-fiction and let your students creativity work.

Other resources:

Adam's book/audio book his Last Chance to See is a awesome book to include into science curriculum. Don't forget the audio book. Students love digital resources in education.

There is another digital resource: The original movie trailer for Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. Don't panic.

The day that Adams died (May 11, 2001) Oxford University professor and author Richard Dawkins wrote:

"Science has lost a friend, literature has lost a luminary, the mountain gorilla and the black rhino have lost a gallant defender (he once climbed Kilimanjaro in a rhino suit to raise money to fight the cretinous trade in rhino horn), Apple Computer has lost its most eloquent apologist."


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Quotes: The Washington Post "Neil Gaiman remembers 'genius' of 'Hitchhiker's Guide' humorist".

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