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Douglas Adams' Last Book 292

Posted by Hemos
from the from-beyond-the-veil dept.
mixedbag writes "A BBC news article suggests that a sixth book in Douglas Adams's Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy series will be published next May. It will be unfinished from files found of his computer. The title is to be A Salmon of Doubt."
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Douglas Adams' Last Book

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  • unfinished art (Score:4, Informative)

    by colmore (56499) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @05:41PM (#2581882) Journal
    I don't know how I feel about this. While I'll be glad to have another book from such a great author, I worry that this will in some way corrupt the memory by putting an unfinished work-in-progress up against his polished final drafts. I hope at least they'll leave it unfinished, and not have some hack come in and tie things up for him.
    • Re:unfinished art (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pathwayX (453746)
      I do know how I feel about this. When an author is a hit, any book with his name on it is bound to sell well.

      Maybe not as well as a 'real' book by him, but well enough that publishers will lick their lips over this one. Hell. Even books vaguely connected to a series/world/idea sell. Think of the gazillion Guide To The World Of Foo books that are out there.

      Some might argue that this is done so that the world will not be left without a particularly talented author's final contribution or some such. Some people may even mean that.

      Personally, I don't like it. It's another man's work. Another man's dream. No matter how much respect you afford it, it's not yours. Leave it be. And, as my sig says, ...
    • Re:unfinished art (Score:3, Insightful)

      by guhknew (123675)
      If I remember correctly, a lot of his books weren't as polished as you may believe. He heavily procrastinated the completion of the first book in the series and worked to just finish it up.
  • Perhaps that will explain what the strange relationship was between the dolphins and the mice. Did the dolphins go to Magarethea? Did the Krikkit robots capture Eccentrica Gallumbits, the Triple-Breasted Whore of Eroticon VI? Did the mice help program Zaphod? And...

    WHAT WAS THE FINAL QUESTION? PLEASE PLEASE TELL ME PLEASE PLEASE...

    • err... we already know the question!

      "What is 6 times 9? 42."

    • by VA Software (533136) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @05:47PM (#2581906) Homepage
      WHAT WAS THE FINAL QUESTION? PLEASE PLEASE TELL ME PLEASE PLEASE.

      That will be revealed at the end of the unfinished "A Salmon of Doubt".
    • Aha! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Grendel Drago (41496) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @06:24PM (#2582047) Homepage
      http://www.galactic-guide.com/articles/2U13.html

      1. The Answer to the Question is 42.
      2. Marvin, amongst numerous other complaints, claimed to have a brain the size of a planet.
      3. Marvin, like other robots, has a computer-based brain.
      4. The Earth is a planet.
      5. The Earth was built by the mice as a computer, the only such planet or computer ever built.
      6. By (2), (3), (4), and (5), the Earth must therefore be Marvin's brain.
      7. The sole purpose of the Earth's program was to discover the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.
      8. Marvin once announced that he had, in a moment of boredom, found the square root of -1, something never before done in the history of the universe, and previously believed by all sensible hyper-intelligent beings to be possibly the most difficult task to undertake, as it was dependent on the very structure of the Universe. (Most normally- intelligent beings gave up, dismissing it as impossible.)
      9. Marvin announced that he felt a brief, but deep, sense of satisfaction after having accomplished the achievement in (8).
      10. The Earth was apparently destroyed just as the purpose of its program was fulfilled, and a Question had been found.
      11. By (7), the Earth computer would have felt a deep sense of satisfaction at having achieved the task it was designed to fulfil.
      12. By (10), the sensation in (11) would have been brief.
      13. By (6), and by the fact that emotional feelings are based in the brain, the feelings in (9), (11) and (12) are the same single feeling.
      14. Finding the Ultimate Question was deemed to be the single most difficult task undertaken by hyper-intelligent beings in the history of the universe, as it was dependant on the very structure of the Universe -- as well as Life and Everything.
      15. By (6), (8), (13), and (14), Marvin (the Earth) had clearly solved the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.
      16. By (8) and (15), the Question is "What is the square root of -1?".
      17. By (1) and (16), the square root of -1 is 42.
      Pretty obvious, in hindsight...

      -grendel drago
      • If (6) is true, then how did Marvin go on functioning after the Earth was destroyed by the Vogons?
        • Change ``is the'' to ``is a/an''.

          -grendel drago
        • by shogun (657)
          Quite easily, you've seen many people living seemingly normal lives today with no brains, in fact Marvin was practicing law as a sideline after that point.
      • by knarf (34928)
        The only problem of course being that...
        1. Planet Earth was Marvin the Robot's brain
        2. Planet Earth was destroyed...
        3. Marvin was around after the destruction of Planet Earth to tell us all about it...
        4. Robots generally don't like to speak without the assistance of a brain. They usually just play dead.
        5. Marvin was a robot
        6. Marvin spoke
        7. by (6), Marvin had a brain, if only an electronic one.
        8. by (7), Planet Earth could not be Marvin's brain.
        9. By (1-8), it all falls down and the question still remains...
        • You're assuming that Earth was unique, the only one of its kind built.

          If we assume that it simply requires **a** brain the size of a planet, not **the** brain the size of a planet that Arthur Dent lived on, the argument holds.

          -grendel drago
    • The question is "What was the final question?"
      The answer is "What was the final question?"

      It is soley this that allows the universe to endure.
    • The only thing I really hate about this is that the sixth book will officially make this a series, as opposed to a trilogy.

      Sigh.
  • hmmmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ElDuque (267493)
    I am excited in one sense, I will definitely read it, but is this entirely ethical? I mean, I don't think I want the contents of my computer published when I die. Especailly since they made such a big point about his being a perfectionist. Maybe he wouldn't have wanted people to read this. What does everyone else think?

    • Very good point. Does anyone have reference material indicating Adams' actual wishes or concerns on this topic?

      Perhaps today's influential authors might want to make their wishes on this topic publicly known. After all, we're all mortal, but our work can (and sometimes does) live on for a long time.

      It's kinda like organ donation; I'm an organ donor, but in order to take my parts that has to be verified. I can't help but support the notion that Adams' wishes may in fact be acted against through this.

      Web hosting by geeks, for geeks. Now starting at $4/month (USD)! [trilucid.com]
      Yes, this is my protest to the sig char limit :).

  • Funny (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by KingKire64 (321470)
    How were all worryed that someone will finish his book, when if fact someone is about to finish the the exisitance of our planet....
  • Didn't Adams not want this work published ( didn't ./ post an article to that effect?) So is it wrong to do so? I guess it comes with being a popular author though
    • Re:Is this right? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Audent (35893)
      I seem to remember reading something along those lines as well...
      I do know that Terry Pratchett has included in his will (well, his literary will - apparently you need one of those) that NOBODY is to finish anything he's half way through and any unfinished work is NOT to be published (literally over his dead body)which I think is fair enough... Writing is an odd business and I don't imagine each chapter is carefully crafted and honed before the author moves on to the next... it would be a rough draft/first walk through kind of thing.
      Mind you, it could give great insight into the workings of a writer... I'd pay for that I think.
    • Re:Is this right? (Score:3, Informative)

      by nomadic (141991)
      Harlan Ellison had a great response [harlanellison.com] to the question "So is it wrong to do so?". Never was a huge fan of his fiction (obviously brilliant, just never clicked with me), but my God the man can write a brilliant invective.
      • my God the man can write a brilliant invective.

        Brilliant? Brilliant???!!! Passionate, yes. Hardly brilliant. Ellison asserts that an author has absolute control over his work, even after his death--but Ellison simply treats that as axiomatic, and gives the skeptical reader not one whit of argument as to why he should accept Ellison's axiom.

        I presume Ellison (and all the posters here who oppose posthumous publication without the author's consent) would also deny the world Mozart's Requiem.

  • But... but... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by vslashg (209560)
    I was going to make the comment (like everyone else) that they shouldn't publish this. Except I can't -- I'm going to be one of the first to read it!
  • I thought that the Salmon of Doubt started off as a Dirk Gently novel, but then Douglas Adams realised that the ideas he had didn't fit in with Dirk Gently, so part way through writing it he decided to change it into an entirely new story, i.e. neither a Hitch Hiker book nor a Dirk Gently book.
  • by Satai (111172) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @05:48PM (#2581911)
    ...a review Mr. Cranky [mrcranky.com] wrote of Almost Heroes [mrcranky.com].

    "Almost Heroes" is such an abomination that one actually wishes Chris Farley had kicked off long before he got anywhere near this script. The filmmakers would have been kinder to Farley's memory by taking a collective piss on his rotting corpse."

    Let's hope that the new Adams book is a better experience. Don't most authors include something in their wills about not publishing unfinished materials?

    • Re:Reminds me of... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by FatOldGoth (207461) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @06:23PM (#2582043) Homepage

      Don't most authors include something in their wills about not publishing unfinished materials?

      Sometimes, but this isn't necessarily a good thing.

      Franz Kafka went one step further and asked his executor of his will to burn all his unpublished work (which is almost everything of his we consider to be a classic today). Luckily the executor didn't go through with this and it was published posthumously. Sometimes authors aren't the best judges of their work.

      • by Joe Decker (3806)
        Sometimes authors aren't the best judges of their work.

        Perhaps. I still have mixed feelings about it. I'm not much of a writer, but I am a nature photographer in my off hours, and I think there's an analogy here that bothers me. I have a lot of as yet unpublished photographs. Part of making a quality art print isn't just the pre-exposure and exposure-time work, it's the darkroom work (chemical or digital) in really cleanly establishing tonal relationships in the print, this is a process that takes some time to get right, and may be something I revisit.

        Call me a control freak, but I don't feel that something is part of my work until it's finished. It's an intermediate result of my work, but since it doesn't completely represent my intention--it doesn't represent what I wanted from it. It may be enjoyable, it may be saleable, but it isn't really fair to give me the credit or the blame for releasing it.

        Ansel Adams had a small number of color photographs that he never wished published, they were published after his death. These photographs, in my opinion, weren't up to the quality of his other work, if I didn't know (as many people don't) that this work was published without his consent, I would think less of the artist and the body of the artists work as a whole.

        I'm not an Ansel Adams, I'm not a Douglass Adams, but I very much hope that whatever viewership and following I ever gain will not be confused by the publication of my intermediate work products. (I grant that good labelling of the intermediate prints would be a reasonable way of approaching the "confusion" question--but note that publishers only have an incentive to publish, not an incentive to publicize the nature of the work product.)

        In the case of Douglass Adams, I worry that the publication of an unpublished draft of a 6th HHGTG novel, that Adams himself thought was dull, will color peoples impressions of Adams in a negative way, and paint the rest of his work. I'd rather not see that loss--and I am cynical that publishers will do anything to alert readers to the unfinished, incomplete nature of the work. (If they do, I grant that my objections are mitigated or removed.)

        --Joe

      • by ruszka (456169)
        Sometimes authors aren't the best judges of their work.

        Maybe they're not. But Kafka wanted his unfinished work destroyed. It was his material and his right. People may have liked what was later published but Kafka was violated by having his own wishes denied when he couldn't even be around to have a say in it.
  • This worries me slightly, since I was under the impression that part of what made his previous books so good was that he slaved over every word, writing and re-writing until it was perfect. Fingers crossed.
  • Remember the 80's? You could not walk into a software store without seeing that green planet with it's tounge sticking out.

    That was my first introduction to Douglas Adams.
    The marketing on the PC version of Hitchhikers was so heavy I wonder if a lot of people did like I did, buy the game first, then out of curiosity bought the book. Man what a weird series of books (good weird) I remember picking up Resturant at the end of the universe with one notion of what the title meant, only to discover in the book that it's meaning was something completly different.

    I think that is one of the neatest things about Adams books, they really paid homage to that old saying "You cannot judge a book by it's cover" Does anyone remember what the secret of the universe is?
  • Ron Hubbard published at least a dozen books after dying. Asimov, Heinlein, Roddenberry, Herbert, Toklein had amble stuff published too. Sometimes notes, as-is, or completions by "ghost" authors.
    • Actually L. Ron Hubbard was claimed to have written numerous books after his apparent death, a much more impressive feat then simply having books published ex mortis.

      I don't know if it true but I was once told the American Library Association once awarded Hubbard an award for most books written post-humously.

      -- Michael

      ps for the Scientologists: L. Ron Hubbard now lives in my pants - feel him for 25 cents.

  • When I die (Score:5, Funny)

    by Chairboy (88841) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @05:55PM (#2581936) Homepage
    When I die, I hope they publish all those half completed letters to Penthouse I was working on.

    "I never thought this could happen to me, but when I saw the six buxom cheerleaders knocking at my door..."
  • by ishark (245915) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @05:56PM (#2581940)
    I just hope it does not end as it was with Tolkien, with lots of books published from temporary files/materials and in general so much stuff that it really looked like they were squeezing all the possible money from it....
    While almost-completed stories are ok to publish, when the level reaches 10 lines of text and 10 pages of comment by someone else then it's sad.
    • While i agree with you totally, in case of Silmarillion (in wich you probably are referring to), most of that text where just "written" for background. Its not like that there where any good storyleads on it but most of the stuff where just "history" of the middle-earth.
    • I disagree. Most of the books published after Tolkien's death are great and really interesting.
      The Silmarillion, Historical Atlas of Middle Earth, Elfish Language/Grammar Book gives you a better point of view what J.R.R. Tolkien had created.
      • The ones you talk about are ok (The Silmarillion is very good) or semi-ok. The problem is with the "History of Middle Earth" series, where the amount of text actually by Tolkien goes down exponentially with the book number....
  • by Wakkow (52585) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @05:56PM (#2581942) Homepage
    A quick search on google came across this interview [ucsbdailynexus.com] from April... Here's a quote from it:

    The new book is not a Hitchhiker's book - there are already five of those - or a Dirk Gently book, but "it will be recognizable in style to anyone who knows those books." It also won't be The Salmon of Doubt.

    "I abandoned [The Salmon of Doubt] about halfway through because I just thought it was getting too dull," Adams said. "Since then, I've now got lots and lots of different story lines waiting for me to turn them into books. One of them I shall apply the title Salmon of Doubt to, but I don't know which one yet."

    Anyone know if the one being published was the "dull" book he never finished or another one?

    -Daniel

    • In August, the BBC showed an "Omnibus" documentary on Douglas Adams' life, which said, along with the fact that Adams suffered writer's block a lot, that the only way he could be persuaded to finish the fifth novel, Mostly Harmless, was to set it up so that all Planet Earths in all possible universes ceased to exist - that way nobody could ask him to write a sixth Hitch Hiker novel!

      The BBC page seems to think that the unfinished bits of novel that have been found comprise the sixth Hitch Hiker novel. This is unlikely, as that interview says. I would have thought it is something completely new, i.e. neither Hitch Hiker nor Dirk Gently, but the BBC article says that the work will be edited - could this mean that bits of separate stories might be merged to produce a novel? In any case, I hope it is done in a way Douglas' family feel he would have wanted.
  • by Chibi (232518) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @05:56PM (#2581943) Journal

    from the article:

    "He would take it and then revise it repeatedly so there were many files.

    "As soon as he wrote anything he would say, 'Oh, God that's terrible'. He was a very, very self-critical author and so had a lot of trouble writing. He was a perfectionist."

    I would rather that they not publish these final stories unless there was any indication from Mr. Adams before his death that he felt the stories lived up to his standards. It's sad, but they don't even know if he had thought of a completely new way to present the story, but just never had the chance to write it down.

    Maybe if they include something in the forward saying that he had never reached a final approval point with these writings, it would sit easier with me. One thing I am glad they are doing, though, is to at least publish it in a collection with other writings, rather than selling it as the final novel in the Hitchhiker's collection.

    And I will admit some curiosity to see the same story written in different ways. It might provide some insight into his creative process.

  • whats next? (Score:3, Funny)

    by nihilist_1137 (536663) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @05:56PM (#2581944) Homepage
    Will we be seeing half completed movies that directors started?
    oh yea AI.

    or half completed software that a developer did not finish.
    wait a minute, they dont have to be dead.

    Point - its a mistake to publish something that isnt finish. It could have ended up way different that what was recovered on the computer after adams was finished revising it.
  • by jasonbrown (142035) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @05:58PM (#2581954) Homepage
    But Taco always say:

    "Marvin you know we can't allow robots to post to slashdot. This website is for human nerds."

    Hear I am. This is my fifth time though the whole expanse of time. I KNOW the secret to cold fusion. I personally talked to Jesus about the afterlife. I've had an XBox 5 TIMES now, and it just keeps pissing me off. Bill thinks he's so cool. Has he ever seen the end of time. I THINK NOT!!!

    Tell Taco to let me post! Don't let Taco discriminate against me just because I am a robot.
  • by jvmatthe (116058) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @05:59PM (#2581957) Homepage
    As part of my research on F. Scott Fitzgerald back in high school, I read his unfinished last book The Last Tycoon. While I enjoyed that part that exists, the experience was unsatisfying precisely because the it was unfinished. The analysis of his notes that followed outlined how the book might have ended, based on some speculation, but that's no way to end any story. It's like reading the first half of Romeo and Juliet and having to read someone else's notes to find out "hijinx ensue, they commit suicide".


    For that reason, I'd be tempted to stay away from this book by Douglas.

  • Original Source (Score:4, Informative)

    by VA Software (533136) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @05:59PM (#2581958) Homepage
    The original source of the story is the Sunday Telegraph [telegraph.co.uk].
    There is a little more information here than at the BBC.
  • by edashofy (265252) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @06:00PM (#2581967)
    I'll buy it and read it, but only for what it's worth. I got the feeling at the end of Mostly Harmless that he had pulled a Charlton Heston at the end of Beneath the Planet of the Apes--that he wanted to end the series so finally that no sequel was possible. A little like he was angrily trying to give the HH fans, always clamoring for more, the hint that he didn't have any more to give in the series.

    On a side-note, Adams was a devout atheist. It doesn't seem fitting that we should be worried that he's looking down on all of us screaming, "No, you idiots! Don't publish that!"
    • On a side-note, Adams was a devout atheist. It doesn't seem fitting that we should be worried that he's looking down on all of us screaming, "No, you idiots! Don't publish that!"

      So you honestly believe that it takes a god to enable transcendental life? Maybe you could study Buddhism or the like, and realize the world of religions isn't all black and white. Atheism isn't necessarily pure materialism where everything ends at the moment of death.

    • Just because he was an atheist, doesn't mean he was right. It also doesn't mean he was wrong. But at least he had a position.

      Speaking as an agnostic, I personally don't know what to believe...other than, "I believe I'll have another drink".

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I got the feeling at the end of Mostly Harmless that he had pulled a Charlton Heston at the end of Beneath the Planet of the Apes--that he wanted to end the series so finally that no sequel was possible.
      Yeah, he did at first. But he changed his mind eventually and said he was going to do a sequel sooner or later. When people asked him how he planned on doing a sequel with all the characters dead, he told them that being dead would make it even easier, since they're all in the same place.
  • Sad? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kidbro (80868) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @06:06PM (#2581989)
    Once again, I'd like to refer to what Neil Gaiman [everything2.com] wrote in his journal [neilgaiman.com] once he heard of Douglas' death: I hope that his death isn't followed by the publishing of all the stuff he hadn't wanted to see print. (the Saturday, May [neilgaiman.com] 12, 2001 entry).
  • Rumors about Salmon of Doubt's publication have been floating arount the 'net and elsewhere since the mid 1990's. I think if Adams sat on the work so long, he probably didn't think it was any good.

    Will Salmon be Adams' Simarillion? Remains to be seen, I guess. But anyway, who would want to read an unfinished book?

  • It's sad to see this kind of thing happen. On one hand, its always nice to see "unpublished" material by your favorite author, on the other its explotation. Sure there might be some scholarly value here but mostly its foir the money. Let dead writers rest!
  • The only way I'd by that book is if the proceeds go to his family or a major charity. It would be true to D. Adams form for him to hate having unfinished stuff printed. The motive of the publishing company should be questioned.
    • The money will most definitely go to his estate. Generally, authors who have sold a great many books tend to have lawyers work these things out. Adams was not an idiot.

      By the same token, Adams certainly knew that the process of writing could be permanently interrupted at any moment. Unless he was not just an idiot, but a moron, he appointed a literary executor who was well-acquainted with his wishes.

  • Mixed feelings.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by The-Zaphod (306293)
    I have to say, I have mixed feelings on this. On the one hand, a devoted Adams fan, I look forward to reading anything that he wrote. Being that this is a "unfinished" peice of work, is a little insulting, (wrong word but cant think of what to use) and at the same time, seeing as i cried when I read that he had passed. I want to read it, to see a little bit of the raw material that he worked with, to help get a little closer to the man who agonised over every word to ensure that I the reader would love it like the last.

    No matter what form, or shape this is in, I am sure it will be a enjoyable read and will earn its place in my libarary, not for the actual words on the paper, but for the dedication and commitment to his fans.

    Zaphod
    (since 1979)
  • But...he's DEAD. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lurkingrue (521019) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @06:35PM (#2582084)
    I never can understand why people get so upset about "violating the wishes" of the now-dead. The dead shouldn't have rights, for the simple reason that they're not alive.

    As for Mr. Adams, he was a very good writer, and an extremely talented man. He showed quite a bit of intelligence and insight, as well as compassion (I recommend that everyone try to get a copy of Last Chance to See. I think he did a great job of using his fame and talent to do good and have fun.

    When he was alive, by all means, one should have shown him complete respect for his work and his rights. Treat him the way you'd want to be treated.

    But, the fact of the matter is, now he's dead. You can't embarrass him, make him happy, cause him grief or indignation. You can't because he simply...isn't anymore. And, the fact is, there are people out there who are alive, who do want to read this. Why shouldn't they be allowed to, when doing so hurts absolutely nobody?

    I'm sure some people will see this as flamebait, but seriously, many of the big problems in modern society revolve around un-dying "rights" and "wishes" -- be it of corporations, dead "prophets", or the ability of the very rich to pass on their inheritance to those who did nothing to earn it...Do we really need to devote any more "respect" to the non-existent when there are so many that could benefit (albeit in a very small way in this case) by considering the living?

    If someone wants to show respect to the memory of Douglas Adams by not reading this unfinished material, that's their business -- personally I'd rather show people respect while they're alive and can appreciate it, rather than by making empty and useless gestures after they're dust.
    • Yes, but you can tarnish the memory.

      Legally you can also cause ingury to the estate by releasing an unautorized/unfinished work. The work of Douglas Adams should be remembered as HE left it. Not some revisonist history where we strive to get a peek at what might have been.
      • It depends on who's releasing the work. Under California law (Douglas Adams was a resident of California when he died), his unfinished work is an asset owned by his estate, which presumably passed to his surviving wife if he died without a will or to the heirs named in his will if he had one.

        Guessing that he left everything to his wife and children, his wife and/or children will own, sooner or later, his unfinished work, and can consent to it's publication. I'd hope that they make money on it.

        On the other hand, if someone other than the executor of the estate or Douglas Adams's successors in interest (the wife and children) were to publish the unfinished work without authorization, then that person could certainly be sued by either the estate or the heirs.
        • My point was that when you look at the work of Douglas Adams, you know that HE did it and it was HIS achievement. I'm not saying that I'm not interested in what he had started, but he never finished it - gave it that final polish. It might be the greatest of his works, but it could also be the worst. And what if someone decides to tinker with it before it is released? How do we know that this was genuinely his?

          I'm actually more curious about the movie that was supposedly being worked on. What affect his death has had on any of it's production.

          Just an opinion is all.
      • Do you really think that's realistic for such a beloved author? I really doubt Adams was capable of writing something that would upset his fans or cause offence.

        At least other than Mostly Harmless. The sad thing about MH is that I really thought he was at the top of his form humour-wise - until the overtly depressing end.

        Other than that, though, I don't expect to see something, say, covered with bigoted rants that would destroy his image. I think his future is secure no matter what of his writing is released.

        D
    • by FleshWound (320838) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @09:11PM (#2582609)
      It's called respect.
    • Thanks to the DMCA, my copyrights will live on long after I die. So the dead do have rights. Copyrights. Forever, or at least into the forseeable forever.
  • I don't know if I'd enjoy reading an unfinished book. I think the Dune series did something similar where the son of the author took some unfinished manuscripts and churned out House Atradies and House Harkonnen.

    Perhaps someone could provide an ending? A close friend perhaps? Meh.. as long as they did it for reasons other than profitability I think I'd take a look.

    But without an ending... hmmm.. Imagine what the dictionary would be like if you never found out that the zedbra did it!
  • If you don't want your unfinished writings to be exploited after your death (or you're just ashamed to have anyone see them), store 'em in an encrypted volume on your hard drive.

    Just be sure to use a Government Approved backdoored cryptosystem, so the goons don't break your door down looking for terrorists. :-P
  • Given enough monkeys and typewriters ...
  • Unfinished Works (Score:5, Informative)

    by BrianArm (137588) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @08:12PM (#2582421)
    Everyone complaining that the idea of publishing Douglas Adams' unfinished book posthumously seems somehow wrong, might find it interesting that Douglas himself wrote the forward for his own favorite author P. G. Wodehouse's unwished book "Sunset at Blanding". In it he wrote:

    "This is P. G. Wodehouse's last -- and unfinished -- book. It is unfinished not just in the sense that it suddenly, heartbreakingly for those of us who love this man and his work, stops in mid-flow, but in the more important sense that the text up to that point is also unfinished."
    ...
    "Will you, anyway, find much evidence of the great genius of Wodehouse here? Well, to be honest, no."
    ...
    "But you will want to read Sunset for completeness, and for that sense you get, from its unfinishedness, of being suddenly and unexpectedly close to a Master actually at work -- a bit like seeing paint pots and scaffolding being carried in and out of the Sistine Chapel."

    So I don't think Douglas himself would really object to this.
  • a proposed ending (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RestiffBard (110729) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @08:50PM (#2582553) Homepage
    I have to say that I think I have the perfect ending, one that Douglas Adams would appreciate.

    If I was the editor it would end thusly in mid-sentence.

    "...sadly the author of this work is now dead and no one knows what the question is."

    and then like 42 blank pages. i would laugh my ass off at that I think Douglas would as well.
  • Old news (Score:3, Interesting)

    by biglig2 (89374) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @09:22PM (#2582637) Homepage Journal
    If you wathc the on-line recordings of DNA's memorial service, his literary agent explained that:
    a) salmon of doubt was extremely unfinished (to be precise, it's not a case of only being half of a book, it's a case of what there is being early drafts from a writer who did many many many revisions of his work) but that even so...
    b) ...they intended to include it in a forthcoming collection of his non-book-published work (journalism etc.) simply because the fanatics would demand it.
  • Very sad indeed. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MrDalliard (130400) on Monday November 19, 2001 @04:56AM (#2583746) Homepage
    The fact that Adams didn't publish any of this, because he thought it wasn't right, says a lot, I think. This just seems like a way of cashing in .

    I personally, think that it shouldn't be published. If Adams wasn't happy with it, then his wish should have been respected.

    This reminds me of when Freddie Mercury died, and all of a sudden a whole pile of Queen records got released. Most of them were pants. If they hadn't been released, it was for a good reason.

    Very sad indeed. This shouldn't just be an excuse to cash in.
  • I, for one, will never purchase a book that has been published after an authors death.
    clearly an attempt by his estate to make a few bucks from fans who miss the author, and what the author had contributed to there lives.

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