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Hitchhiker's Guide, Salmon of Doubt 179

ReadParse writes "There was a previous story about "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" being released on DVD in January. This turned out to be a Region 2 DVD, but the Region 1 DVD was released on or about April 30th. There are two discs, the first of which is the BBC Miniseries, which was adapted from the BBC radio play. It suddenly occurs to me to submit this story, because mine was just delivered within the past hour. Right now it's the 12th most popular DVD on Amazon." Several people also noted that Adams' final (I guess) book, The Salmon of Doubt, is now hitting the shelves.
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Hitchhiker's Guide, Salmon of Doubt

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  • I can't wait to read Salmon of Doubt. I wonder if they'll make another Ultimate Hitchhikers Guide.
    • I think you can count on various republishings and repackagings of things for years to come. Digging the works off a dead authors computer IMHO would indicate they'll stop at little to find something to sell.

      I rather expected Douglas Adams last writings was a non-issue on Slashdot, because I wrote up nice posts with links and everything and they kept getting send to file 86. From the rather lukewarm addition by Michael, I'd assume it's so. Too bad he didn't have an Anime version, but maybe there's hope.

      "What??"

      "Big yellow ship hang over MegaTokyo in exactly way that brick do not!!"

      "What say!!"

      "Arthur Dent, where my satchel!?! We go on Vogon ship, listen to Poetry!!"

      "What??"

      There's to be a VHS tape documentary [douglasadams.com], too, this from DNA's site, one year to the date after his death.

  • by lfourrier ( 209630 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @07:27AM (#3456374)
    We have a link toward a book without referer encoded in the url.
  • by bstreiff ( 457409 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @07:30AM (#3456381)
    And don't forget to show your appreciation for Adams with the Towel Day [systemtoolbox.com] tribute, on May 25th.
  • What is on the second disc?

    -If
    • Well, if you'd just follow the Amazon link, you'd see. Too lazy? OK, with some extra explanations...
      • Theatrical trailer(s)
      • The Making of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (hour long)
      • Don't Panic! (about 25 minutes)
      • Douglas Adams Omnibus (BBC arts programme tribute)
      • Recording of the radio series (which was even better than the TV series)
      • Optional on-screen production notes
      • Deleted scene from episode 2
      • Photo gallery
      • Peter Jones introduction
      • Pebble Mill at One (old BBC lunchtime TV programme)
      • Tomorrow's World sequence (BBC science programme, sort of aimed at kids)
      • Need a Player (Score:1, Offtopic)

        by Alien54 ( 180860 )
        I supposed this means I'll actually have to go out and by a DVD Player now, and get into this whole coach potato thing.

        Next thing you know, I'll be getting Cable TV.

        [grmuble grumlbe gerumble]

      • * Don't Panic! (about 25 minutes)

        What actually is this? I missed the various BBC programs which were shown in the event of DNA's death so it may have been one of those. Is it related to Neil Gaiman's "Don't Panic" book which is one of the best "nerd" books about a series that I've read? It basically is the story of the writing of the Hitchhikers Guide and sort of a mini-bio for DNA too. It's kind of a DVD-extra in itself, since it contains a couple of omitted scene from the radio series, as well as other stuff.

  • Mmm (Score:4, Funny)

    by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @07:31AM (#3456384) Homepage Journal
    I'm going to order 42 copies. I can carry them around in my towel.

    RIP Doug
  • Now, if they just could make a movie out of it with some other intention than to rip off money from the fans, this would be something.

    This one is a dull speak-through of the book. Just my opinion, without a godly message :)
  • Radio Series (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dante_H ( 537218 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @07:37AM (#3456391)
    For anyone who can, I'd recommend downloading the full twelve episodes of the Radio Series (Fit the 1st to Fit the 12th) on Kazaa (or any P2P) in MP3 format.

    As well as being a good listen, it contains things not in the books (or any of the other versions). It was the original, and in some respects the best version of the Hitch Hikers Guide. You also get to see alternate ideas for things put in the books, etc. A good example is the Hagunneon (sp?) black space ship, being replaced in the book by the Disaster Area stunt ship.

    Well worth it.

    • Oh, also, forgot to mention that you can get the series on CD (and Casette) from BBC stockists. If someone is less proxy-hampered than I am, I'm sure they can post a link somewhere.
      • Re:Radio Series (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        radio series:
        http://www.expa.hvu.nl/ajvdhek/hitch.html

        radio series & books:
        http://tw2002.locallink.net/hhgg/

    • But if you're going to buy the DVD, save your download time, as the radio series is on there.
      • Re:Radio Series (Score:2, Informative)

        by shippo ( 166521 )
        Not the whole 6 hours of the radio series, though.
      • Not if it's the same as the R2 release. There is a documentary about the recording of the radio series, but none of the radio episodes :( The documentary is still interesting though.
        • Really? Well, this is what I get for believing an Amazon page. Invent a 'just plain wrong' mod and hit me with it.

          It not being on there is a shambles, the Beeb should be ashamed of themselves.
          I haven't bought the DVD, as I've got all that stuff already (that is if the VHS and audio tapes haven't disintegrated)

    • Funny, not-so-well known note on the radio drama series.

      Almost all of the releases of it are not the original broadcast. There are a couple scenes that were removed entirely from the tape/cd releases of the show. There is a scene where the background music is a rather psychadelic pink floyd song.. and you hear arthur dent say "and why is the robot making sounds from old pink floyd songs?" (or something like that)

      I managed to score a tape of this a long time ago.. it soon vanished afterwards.
      • The CD set that I have does feature this quote. It happens while Arthur is waiting with Marvin out the entrance to the planer forges of Magrithea.
      • All you`re saying is that the radio series is different to the tape/cd releases of the show. Not too suprising to us hard-core fans of the radio series - especially cosidering that its 6 hours long, and the other versions are about 2/3 hours long. You can get the whole 12 half hour shows off the net:

        http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=hitch+hiker s+ guide+mp3
    • I instead recommend that you purchase a copy of the radio series on CD, on the BBCs own label. It is still in print.

      The version on CD is not the original broadcast though. Due to copyright reasons some episodes have had to be edited slightly, and the mice voices were re-recorded. Subsequent repeat broadcasts and all issues on cassette and CD were of the modified version.

      BBC Radio 4 did a repeat broadcast of the entire series last year. This was supposed to be of the series as originally broadcast. However the episode containing the mice was the re-recorded version, which was easy to tell as it was the only one not to feature John "Boggy" Marsh reading the credits at the end.
    • Re:Radio Series (Score:4, Insightful)

      by stevelup ( 445596 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @08:44AM (#3456569)
      I'd recommend downloading the full twelve episodes of the Radio Series (Fit the 1st to Fit the 12th) on Kazaa (or any P2P) in MP3 format


      Hey, you could - of course - buy it instead of stealing it!

      BBC Shop [bbcshop.com]
      • Hey, you could - of course - buy it instead of stealing it!

        Yeah, if you're some kind of crazy man!

        But yes, it's possible to buy as I noted in another post. Although this DVD would seem to be definitely more value if it contains the full series (although, what format, etc?).

        Then again I've spent well over £150 on DNA related goods (multiple versions of the books, video, audio-books) so I don't exactly feel _that_ guilty for "stealing" something funded with my liscence fee.

        • It's since been pointed out elsewhere that I misunderstood the Amazon bit - apparently it doesn't contain a recording of the Radio Series, it contains a documentary about the recording of the radio series.
      • the BBC release is not the original radio broadcast

        it's shorter and edited for copyrighted content
    • Re:Radio Series (Score:5, Informative)

      by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @09:03AM (#3456646) Homepage
      I'd recommend downloading the full twelve episodes of the Radio Series (Fit the 1st to Fit the 12th) on Kazaa (or any P2P) in MP3 format.

      I wouldn't. I'd recommend buying the tapes. Yes, the tapes, not the CDs from which the MP3s were almost certainly made.

      I have both tape and CD releases - bought the tapes years ago, bought the CDs shortly after getting my iPod. There are scenes missing from the CDs - one immediate example that springs to mind is the mice talking about buying Arthur's brain. Cut to ribbons on the CD.

      Purists will tell you that the tapes have things missing too. I don't know - wasn't ever lucky enough to hear the original broadcasts. However the tapes are more complete than the CDs, and the MP3s have probably been created from the CDs.

      Cheers,
      Ian

      • Purists will tell you that the tapes have things missing too. I don't know - wasn't ever lucky enough to hear the original broadcasts. However the tapes are more complete than the CDs, and the MP3s have probably been created from the CDs.


        Is there a long clip from Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here on the tape? After they arrive at Magrathia (sp?) and exit the ship, Marvin is playing it (together with the line "why is your droid playing Pink Floyd?"), but in the CDs it's cut to ribbons and you only hear the tail end of it - I guess because of the squillions of pounds Floyd would have wanted in licensing fees.

        • Is there a long clip from Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here on the tape?

          There's some, but there's no link to Marvin supposed to be humming it.

          I saw the stage play whilst I was at university - excellent version, and they kept the "Why is your robot humming Pink Floyd" line.

          They also played Brockian (spelling?) Ultra-Kricket with the audience at the end, and I remain possibly the only person on the planet to have cheated at it. I apologised to Wowbagger the Infinitely prolonged -before- hitting him...

          Cheers,
          Ian

      • Re:Radio Series (Score:2, Informative)

        by metamatic ( 202216 )
        My CDs have the mice talking about buying Arthur's brain. And yes, I heard the original radio broadcast, and I have the original radio scripts too...

        The one bit cut on the CD release is "Did you know that robot can hum like Pink Floyd?", cut because Roger Waters wouldn't let them include a small sample of Pink Floyd on the CD release.
        • The one bit cut on the CD release is "Did you know that robot can hum like Pink Floyd?", cut because Roger Waters wouldn't let them include a small sample of Pink Floyd on the CD release.

          That's not entirely accurate. It was cut because Douglas Adams' lawyer thought that Pink Floyd's lawyer would disallow it. They never even considering asking the artists themselves. Douglas Adams and David Gilmour were good friends, and David told Douglas directly that it was okay to use that bit.

      • I wouldn't. I'd recommend buying the tapes.

        Yeah, you want to make sure that the artist gets paid, so buy the tapes!
  • BBC (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 03, 2002 @07:39AM (#3456397)
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/hitchhikers/
    It gives a feel of what to expect.
    Great series if a bit short.
  • Next book? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Arsewiper ( 535175 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @07:40AM (#3456405)
    This guy just gets lazier and lazier. Don't RIP Douglas, get up and possess a few people, give the channelers something worth writing. Just try and pick someone without writers block.
    • This guy just gets lazier and lazier. Don't RIP Douglas, get up and possess a few people, give the channelers something worth writing. Just try and pick someone without writers block.

      Douglas ? Is that you ??

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 03, 2002 @07:43AM (#3456408)
    Patches that will allow you to safely read non-region-1 DVDs can be found here [datatestlab.com].

    You may want to do what I did - rip the DVD with DeCSS [cmu.edu], rip it to a VCD [exit1.org], and watch it in your DVD player. I found that this particular title suffered almost zero quality loss through the whole process.

    Disclaimer: by doing this you are violating copyright law and can be prosecuted. Consider yourself forewarned.


  • If you do not wish to support Amazon for one reason or another (like you think they'll be the first up against the wall when revolution comes), the set is also available at Ken Crane's now DVD Planet [dvdplanet.com]. The DVDs+shipping at dvdplanet would equal just what amazon is charging for the DVDs. I can't wait so I'm going to Best Buy!!

  • by rbeattie ( 43187 ) <russ@russellbeattie.com> on Friday May 03, 2002 @07:46AM (#3456419) Homepage
    Chapter 1

    Life

    Dear Editor,
    The sweat was dripping down my face and into my lap, making my clothes very wet and sticky. I sat there, walking, watching. I was trembling violently as I sat, looking at the small slot, waiting--ever waiting. My nails dug into my flesh as I clenched my hands. I passed my arm over my hot, wet face, down which sweat was pouring. The suspense was unbearable. I bit my lip in an attempt to stop trembling with the terrible burden of anxiety. Suddenly, the slot opened and in dropped the mail. I grabbed at my Eagle and ripped off the wrapping paper.

    My ordeal was over for another week!

    D. N. Adams (12), Brentwood, Essex,
    January 23, 1965,
    Eagle and Boys' World Magazine

    [Editor's Note: In the sixties The Eagle was an enormously popular English science-fiction magazine. This letter is the first known published work of Douglas Adams, then age twelve.]

    The Voices of All Our Yesterdays

    I vaguely remember my schooldays. They were what was going on in the background while I was trying to listen to the Beatles.

    When "Can't Buy Me Love" came out, I was twelve. I sneaked out of school during morning milk break, bought the record, and broke into matron's room because she had a record player. Then I played it, not loud enough to get caught, but just loud enough to hear with my ear pressed up against the speaker. Then I played it again for the other ear. Then I turned the record over and did the same for "You Can't Do That." That was when the housemaster found me and put me into detention, which is what I had expected. It seemed a small price to pay for what I nowrealize was art.

    I didn't know it was art then, of course. I only knew that the Beatles were the most exciting thing in the universe. It wasn't always an easy view to live with. First you had to fight the Stones fans, which was tricky because they fought dirty and had their knuckles nearer the ground. Then you had to fight the grownups, parents and teachers who said that you were wasting your time and pocket money on rubbish that you would have forgotten by next week.

    I found it hard to understand why they were telling me this. I sang in the school choir and knew how to listen for harmony and counterpoint, and it was clear to me that the Beatles were something extraordinarily clever. It bewildered me that no one else could hear it: impossible harmonies and part playing you had never heard in pop songs before. The Beatles were obviously just putting all this stuff in for some secret fun of their own, and it seemed exciting to me that people could have fun in that way.

    The next exciting thing was that they kept on losing me. They would bring out a new album and for a few listenings it would leave me cold and confused. Then gradually it would begin to unravel itself in my mind. I would realize that the reason I was confused was that I was listening to Something that was simply unlike anything that anybody had done before. "Another Girl," "Good Day Sunshine," and the extraordinary "Drive My Car." These tracks are so familiar now that it takes a special effort of will to remember how alien they seemed at first to me. The Beatles were now not just writing songs, they were inventing the very medium in which they were working.

    I never got to see them. Difficult to believe, I know. I was alive at the time the Beatles were performing and never got to see them. I tend to go on about this rather a lot. Do not go to San Francisco with me, or I will insist on pointing out Candlestick Park to you and bleating on about the fact that in 1966 the Beatles played their last concert there, just shortly before I'd woken up to the fact that rock concerts were things you could actually go to, even if you lived in Brentwood.

    A friend of mine at school once had some studio tickets to see David Frost's show being recorded, but we ended up not going. I watched the show that night, and the Beatles were on it playing "Hey Jude." I was ill for about a year. Another day that I happened not to go to London after all was the day they played their rooftop concert in Savile Row. I can't-ever-speak about that.

    Well, the years passed. The Beatles passed. But Paul McCart-ney has gone on and on. A few months ago the guitarist Robbie McIntosh phoned me and said, "We're playing at the Mean Fiddler in a few days, do you want to come along?"

    Now this is one of the daftest questions I've ever been asked, and I think it took me a few moments even to work out what he meant. The Mean Fiddler, for those who don't know, is a pub in an unlovely part of northwest London with a room at the back where bands play. You can probably get about two hundred people in.

    It was the word we that temporarily confused me, because I knew that the band that Robbie was currently playing in was Paul McCartney's, and I didn't think that Paul McCartney played in pubs. If Paul McCartney did play in pubs, then it would be daft to think that I would not saw my own leg off in order to go. I went.

    In front of two hundred people in a pub, Paul McCartney stood up and played songs he'd never, I think, played in public before. "Here, There and Everywhere" and "Blackbird," to name but two. I've played "Blackbird" in pubs, for heaven's sake. I spent weeks learning the guitar part when I was supposed to be revising for A-levels. I almost wondered if I was hallucinating.

    There were two moments of complete astonishment. One was the last encore, which was an immaculate, thunderous performance of, believe it or not, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." (Remember, this was in a pub.) And the other was one of the world's greatest rock 'n' roll songs, "Can't Buy Me Love," which I had first heard crouching with my ear cupped to the Dansette record player in the school matron's room.

    There is a game people like to play that goes, "When would you most like to have lived and why?" The Italian Renaissance? Mozart's Vienna? Shakespeare's England? Personally, I would like to have been around Bach. But I have a real difficulty with the game, which is that living at any other period of history would have meant missing the Beatles, and I honestly don't think I could do that. Mozart and Bach and Shakespeare are always with us, but I grew up with the Beatles and I'm not sure what else has affected me as much as that.

    So Paul McCartney is fifty tomorrow. Happy birthday, Paul. I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

    The [London] Sunday Times, June 17, 1992

    Brentwood School

    I was at Brentwood School for twelve whole years. And they were, by and large, in an up and downy kind of way, pretty good years: fairly happy, reasonably leafy, a bit sportier than I was in the mood for at the time, but full of good (and sometimes highly eccentric) teaching. In fact, it was only later that I gradually came to realise how well I had been taught at Brentwood--particularly in English, and particularly in Physics. (Odd, that.) However, the whole twelve-year experience is, for me, completely overshadowed by the memory of one terrible, mind-scarring experience. I am referring to the episode of The Trousers. Let me explain.

    I have always been absurdly, ridiculously tall. To give you an idea--when we went on school expeditions to Interesting and Improving Places, the form-master wouldn't say "Meet under the clock tower," or "Meet under the War Memorial," but "Meet under Adams." I was at least as visible as anything else on the horizon, and could be repositioned at will. When, in Physics, we were asked to repeat Galileo's demonstration that two bodies of different weight fall to the ground at the same speed, I was the one who was given the task of dropping the cricket ball and the pea, because it was quicker than going to an upstairs window. I always towered over everybody. Right back at the very beginning of my school career, aged seven, I introduced myself to another new boy (Robert Neary) by coming up behind him and, in a spirit of experiment, dropping a cricket ball on his head and saying, "Hello, my name's Adams, what's yours?" This, for Robert Neary, I'm sure was his one terrible, mind-scarring memory.

    In the Prep School, where I was for five years out of my twelve, we all wore short trousers: grey shorts with blazers in the summer, and in the winter those pepper-and-salt tweed suits with short trousers. There is of course an extremely good reason for wearing shorts when you're young, even in the depths of an English winter (and they were colder then, weren't they?). According to Wired magazine, we can't expect to see self-repairing fabrics until about the year 2020, but ever since we emerged from whatever trees or swamps we lived in five million years ago, we have had self-repairing knees.

    So, shorts made sense. Even though we all had to wear them, it did begin to get a bit ridiculous in my case. It wasn't towering over the other boys I minded so much, it was towering over the masters. Wearing shorts. My mother pleaded with the principal on one occasion to please make an exception in my case and let me wear long trousers. But Jack Higgs, ever fair but firm, said no: I was only six months away from going up to the main school, whereupon I, along with everybody else, would be able to wear long trousers. I would have to wait.

    At last I left the Prep School. And two weeks before the beginning of the Michaelmas term, my mother took me along to the school shop to buy--at last--a long-trousered school suit. And guess what? They didn't make them in a size long enough for me. Let me just repeat that, so that the full horror of the situation can settle on you reading this as it did on me that day in the summer of 1964, standing in the school shop. They didn't have any school trousers long enough for me. They would have to make them specially. That would take six weeks. Six weeks. Six minus two was, as we had been so carefully and painstakingly taught, four. Which meant that for four whole weeks of the next term I was going to be the only boy in school wearing shorts. For the next two weeks I took up playing in the traffic, being careless with kitchen knives, and neglecting to stand clear of the doors on station platforms, but, sadly, I led a charmed life, and I had to go through with it: four weeks of the greatest humiliation and embarrassment known to man or, rather, to that most easily humiliated and embarrassed of all creatures, the overgrown twelve-year-old boy. We've all experienced those painful dreams in which we suddenly discover we are stark naked in the middle of the high street. Believe me, this was worse, and it wasn't a dream.

    The story rather fizzles out there because a month later, of course, I got my long trousers and was readmitted into polite society. But, believe me, I still carry the scars inside, and though I try my best to bestride the world like a Colossus, writing best-selling books and . . . (well, that's about it, really, I suppose), if I ever come across as a maladjusted, socially isolated, sad, hunched emotional cripple (I'm thinking mainly of Sunday mornings in February, here), then it's those four weeks of having to wear short trousers in September 1964 that are to blame.

    Y

    "Why" is the only question that bothers people enough to have an entire letter of the alphabet named after it.

    The alphabet does not go "A B C D What? When? How?" but it does go "V W X Why? Z."

    "Why?" is always the most difficult question to answer. You know where you are when someone asks you "What's the time?" or "When was the battle of 1066?" or "How do these seatbelts work that go tight when you slam the brakes on, Daddy?" The answers are easy and are, respectively, "Seven-thirty-five in the evening," "Ten-fifteen in the morning," and "Don't ask stupid questions."

    But when you hear the word "Why?," you know you've got one of the biggest unanswerables on your hands, such as "Why are we born?" or "Why do we die?" and "Why do we spend so much of the intervening time receiving junk mail?"

    Or this one:

    "Will you go to bed with me?"

    "Why?"

    There's only ever been one good answer to that question "Why?" and perhaps we should have that in the alphabet as well. There's room for it. "Why?" doesn't have to be the last word, it isn't even the last letter. How would it be if the alphabet ended, "V W X Why? Z," but "V W X Why not?"

    Don't ask stupid questions.
    --From Hockney's Alphabet (Faber & Faber)
    Copyright 2002 by Douglas Adams
  • Funny :) (Score:3, Funny)

    by phunhippy ( 86447 ) <[zavoid] [at] [gmail.com]> on Friday May 03, 2002 @07:48AM (#3456425) Journal
    strangely its now ranked: Amazon.com Sales Rank: 13 instead of 12 as posted!

    I think this is the first time some kind of stat has gone down! instead of up when posted on slashdot.. granted its still early.. but still funny :)
  • by wowbagger ( 69688 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @07:48AM (#3456428) Homepage Journal
    Any "furthur adventures" of the HHGTTG crew in Salmon would have be set before Mostly Harmless, since in Mostly Harmless Douglas destroyed the HHGTTG universe (in the sense that he killed off all the major characters save Zaphod). He did so in an especially mean-spirited way - he didn't even give Fendchurch a proper exit, just erased her like a bad core dump.

    I am (as you might guess from my /. nick) a HHGTTG fan, but I was quite disappointed with MH - it felt too much like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Final Solution" - an author killing off a series that has become too popular, too much a millstone around the author's neck.

    I would suggest to those who have NOT read MH to stop with So Long and Thanks for All the Fish - I think you will be much happier.
    • Hunt around for the 'hidden chapters' or whatever they're called, It's basicly an alternate ending, where they don't get killed. I have them in some Palm Doc format, they should be floating around the web somewhere.

      My friend's opinion of what happend, was that Adams was just getting sick of them by the end. Hence the harsh ending. Then I guess he decided to do a better ending when he was in a better mode or felt he owed it to the fans or something.

      • Do you mean these [geocities.com]?

        Or are there others wandering around anywhere? (something official, or at least written by Douglas Adams???)

        I'd like to find a decent alternative ending; call me sentimental, but I don't think MH really suits the feel of the first four... although I realise that authors have the right to be depressed, I think I just prefer reading things he wrote when he wasn't feeling like sh*t.
    • I heard a rummour, that DA had missed his deadlines for release on Mostly Harmless several times. His agent and the publisher were applying the pressure, and basically he just decided that it was not worth it, consequently he killed of all the characters, with no comeback, so that he wouldn't ever be in the same position again.

      Just goes to show how right he was!
    • Douglas destroyed the HHGTTG universe (in the sense that he killed off all the major characters save Zaphod).


      I bought the book of Mostly Harmless when it came out. I lent it to a friend to read, and had another queuing to read it after.


      On finishing the first friend handed it straight to the second, saying as he did so "I can't believe they all died in the end".


      He hasn't lived that particular spoiler down in over a decade now...


      Cheers,

      Ian

    • I disagree, actually. I enjoyed Mostly Harmless quite a bit. It had a kind of cyclical "wholeness" to it. Then again, I generally like it when authors have the guts to kill off their main characters. Much better than leaving things hanging in my opinion. It's like songs that fade out . . . Just finish the thing, darnit! :)

      And if you don't read MH, you'll never know the joys of Colin! Heck, that whole series with Ford was brilliant. As were the bits where Arthur was the Sandwichmaker. On the whole, I loved it.

      So I would suggest to those who haven't read MH to go for it.

      • Then again, I generally like it when authors have the guts to kill off their main characters. Much better than leaving things hanging in my opinion.

        I agree. Nothing is more boring than a completely unfitting happy-end.

        I always considered the whole series to have a rather dark subtext so it's only fitting to also have a dark ending. I rather think that "So long and thanks for all the fish" doesnt fit as neatly with the rest of the series.

        Then again, this all boils down to taste so I just shut up.

        But the TV series is nice in this regard because it doesnt contain the last two books.
    • by PinkStainlessTail ( 469560 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @10:15AM (#3456991) Homepage
      he didn't even give Fendchurch a proper exit, just erased her like a bad core dump.

      Actually, it's worse than that. Re-read the section that takes place on NowWhat (I think that's the planet's name: the one that's at ZZ9pluralZAlpha instead of Earth). There's a disgusting local life form that communicates by biting. One breaks into Arthurs room, and bites him, i.e. tries to communicate with him. Arthur bashes its skull in. I'm pretty sure that the bog critter is supposed to be Fenchuch, or some analogue of her.

      So, essentially, Arthur accidentally kills Fenchurch and never knows it. MH is darrrrrk.

    • I was quite disappointed with MH - it felt too much like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Final Solution" - an author killing off a series that has become too popular, too much a millstone around the author's neck.

      When I read it, it just felt like the entire tone was off. The previous book was kind of the same way, but a bit too far over on the light and cheery side. I read all 5 books for the first time in the span of a couple weeks, so these two books really stood out for me. By the time I was well into Mostly Harmless, everything seemed locked into a downward spiral that couldn't be escaped except with the kind of sudden shift that the book started with. The ending was more a sad goodbye than deliberate destruction.

      Adams explained his thoughts on the book's depressing tone in his interview [theonionavclub.com] in The Onion:

      Another reason is that the last one, Mostly Harmless, is a very bleak book. People have tried to read all sorts of complicated reasons into it, and the reason was that I just had a lousy year. Just for all sorts of personal reasons, from a terrible death in the family to... Every kind of area, whether it was personal or professional, had just gone sour on me, against a background in which I had to write a funny book, which turned out not to be very funny. So I'd quite like to maybe do another Hitchhiker book that sort of perks up the tone again.

      • Funny thing is that I thought Mostly Harmless was one of his funniest and best-written books ... until the ending.

        I thought the Grebulons, who monitored the earth using TV, were hilarious.

        That being said, I thought the most interesting part of that interview was where he said the new Dirk Gently he was thinking of writing was turning into something much more like a HHGTG, and the hint that there might be another HHG book coming eventually.

        It's a great pity he didn't live to write it.

        D
    • Personally (and my .sig also shows that I am a HHGTTG fan) I loved MH. I had read all four of the other books several times before MH came out and after reading MH I went back and read the other four again before reading MH again.

      To me, it is the ultimate ending that could possibly happen. It left me with a giant warm ironic happy feeling in my stomach. I couldn't stop grinning as Douglas Adams wrapped up the whole of the 5 book trilogy in a final, ultimate, sigularity.

      Pure beauty and art.

      If you've read the other four, do yourself a favor and read Mostly Harmless. At least once.
  • Salmon of Doubt (Score:5, Interesting)

    by finny ( 107762 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @07:50AM (#3456431)
    Let me start off with the fact the I really, really want to read this book. However, are the descriptions of it's origin leaving a bad taste in anybody's mouth but me?

    From the BBC [bbc.co.uk]:

    "The publication will reportedly be edited but remain unfinished following its recovery from files on the novelist's computer. ... We have pored over Douglas's hard drive. There were so many different versions of the novel. "

    Sounds like Adams felt this novel wasn't ready for publication but people close to him believed otherwise after his death. What could be their motivation?

    Here I am, brain the size of a planet and I'm worrying about what a deceased author would think of me reading his book.
    • by alangmead ( 109702 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @08:23AM (#3456502)
      Usually, when people take writers unfinished work after their passing, you can tell because it feels very disjointed and seems to have parts of the plot that are just left unexplained and make no sense.

      I can't figure out how this would be different than any other Douglas Adams novel.
    • It's fine point, but you have to remember Adams himself penned the preface to "Sunset at Blandings", the publishing of the unfinished book written by the late PG Wodehouse.

      There's quite a good review [diversebooks.com] of this on diverse books which goes into all of this.

    • Motivation? (Score:2, Informative)

      by ackthpt ( 218170 )
      How about a widow and daughter to support. I genuinely feel for them, and hope it wasn't just because of some contractual obligation, i.e. Douglas receiving an advance, spending it, then taking a huge amount of time to do the book. Not like it's happened before. For a good understanding read Don't Panic by Neil Gaiman [amazon.com]
      • Anyone with a wife and daughter should get life insurance, so that in the case of them unexpectantly dieing, the w & d are going to be covered.
    • The books been out in the UK for at least a couple of weeks. i`d have got it already, except for the fact its out in Hardback only, and his last few books werent all that good!

      "The publication will reportedly be edited but remain unfinished following its recovery from files on the novelist's computer. ... We have pored over Douglas's hard drive. There were so many different versions of the novel. " "

      If you flick through the book, you`ll see its not really a novel - more a collection of chapters and odds and ends.
    • Just think of it as DA last words to his creation.

      We apologise for any inconsistencies
    • Yeah, I think that's an awful thing to do. Imagine the free-for-all on your own computer when you die:

      "We're publishing John's porn collection, which we recovered from his computer, having used a Cray to decrypt the stuff, in a 36-volume retrospective of all that, for whatever reason, turned him on"

      No thanks. Remember, if you think you're gonna drop dead, don't forget to format your hard drive first.

      RP
      • Dead Man's Switch [arsware.org] might help. It can post to web pages, encrypt your hard drive, and send e-mails after you die (or after your computer is stolen, or seized, or you become comatose, or whatever misfortune should befall you first).

        From what I know of Douglas Adams, I bet he wished he had something like this set up.
    • Douglas Adams is an interesting author, in this regard. He never finished any of his stories. The first draft of hitchhiker was the radio script. It became a book, then a TV series, then a computer game - each an iteration on the themes and stories he wanted to tell, but it tells me he was never staisfied or happy with what he'd written.

      Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency is a retelling of a story he first wrote for Doctor Who. Elements of it appear in other places he wrote in the past. He had a finite number of stories which he worked and recombined, but he never finished them.

      For that reason, I think Salmon of Doubt is in a fitting form to be published. doubtless if he had lived, the story would have evolved for another forty years, reforming and reappearing in numerous formats, but it doesn't diminish the value of his earliest drafts.

      If anything, the last minute rush drafts of episodes of the original radio series were some of DNA's finest work, so I wouldn't worry too much about his never having revisited and redrafted it.
  • Zone *what* ? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AftanGustur ( 7715 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @07:51AM (#3456436) Homepage


    What could possibly be the reason for zone locking more than 10 year old television material ??

    • Marketing purposes.
      To compare European and North American sales maybe.
    • BBC sold the distribution rights in the US to Warner Home Video but hold the UK rights for themselves. Since neither company wants import sales causing competition in their own markets, they are bound to want region encoding.

      Besides, its not like region codes ever caused a problem, is it? Surely everyone's machine is chipped by now?
      • Is it legal to chip players in the US? It's legal here in Norway. It's even legal to sell chipped players in the stores. How is it in the rest of the world?
    • Region encoding was never about piracy or release dates. It was always about extracting the maximum amount of money from each market, by making it very difficult for people in richer countries to play the same imported content sold in a poorer country at a lower price.
      • This is correct - mod up!

        There's an academic study giving convincing evidence of this but unfortunately I don't have the link handy. It is from an economist at an Australian University.

        What should we call it instead? How about Market Segment Code?
        • This is correct - mod up!

          Actually, it's only partly correct.

          For some material, there are licensing issues for other countries - depending on:

          1. What music is used in the piece.
          2. What brands/pictures appear in the piece.
          3. Distributor rights for different countries.
          4. Royalties for different countries.

          etc etc etc.

          Region coding allows them to get around these problems, by treating each release as a single case, instead of having to resolve all licensing issues in one version.

          For example, when The Prisoner and DangerMan were released on DVD, Carlton UK had the rights to european distribution (they bought the rights to all of Lord Lew Grade's back catalog - ATV, IIRC), whereas the US rights were owned by a subsidiary of A&E. Because of this historical rights assignations, Carlton could only release a Region 1 version (hey, I phoned them and asked them). So for a long time there it was unlikely that the US was going to get The Prisoner, and nigh-on impossible that the US was going to get Secret Agent/Danger Man. Luckily, A&E have started releasing the Danger Man DVDs in the US. *phew*

          Now, it is also used to keep prices at local market rates, instead of dropping to a global minimum. But that's not the whole story.

          Simon
  • by ishark ( 245915 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @07:52AM (#3456439)
    Ok, I guess that today it's a most accidental superposition of the "MPAA is our friend" day and the "1-click buying Amazon patent" day.

    Let me guess, we should all buy the DVD and then burn it publically as a sign of protest? :)
    • I lifted this from someone's Slashdot comment long ago. Seems especially appropiate at the moment. (Although even more so in two weeks.)

      Slashdot (to MPAA): You fucking fascists. We hate you.
      MPAA: But look at these shiny colors!
      Slashdot: Oooh! How much?

  • by 4thAce ( 456825 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @07:52AM (#3456441) Homepage

    I followed one of the links off the isbn.nu page and discovered that according to this link [ebay.com], people who bought "The Salmon of Doubt" also bought:

    Poisonwood Bible Hardcover, 1997
    Barbara Kingsolver
    The Catcher in the Rye Paperback, Reprint, 1991
    J. D. Salinger
    The Girls' Guide to Hunting & Fishing Hardcover Textbook, 1999
    Melissa Bank, Melissa Banks
    Would you believe it?

    I just like the sheer quantity of misconceptions in that list item listing. Caveat Lector

  • I am a huge "Hitchhiker's Guide" fan and have read all the previous books (most recently all together in the "Ultimate" version). The ending was one of the best of any series I have ever read and to try and tack anything anything else on top of that would ruin the closure for me.
    • It isn't a Hitchikers sequel, it's a Dirk Gently novel.
      • People have been saying that here in the comments, but here is the description [isbn.nu]:
        The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time
        A final installment in the series that began with "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" is taken from the late author's previously unpublished personal files and features the same offbeat adventures of Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, and their companions.
        • Trust me, the bulk of the book is the Salmon of Doubt, a Dirk Gently novel. I flicked through a copy in my local bookstore. There are also various snippets of other stories, including some HHGTTG stuff which is perhaps where the confusion arose from.
  • Easter Eggs. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bludstone ( 103539 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @08:24AM (#3456509)
    stolen from www.dvdeastereggs.com

    this is all from the r2 dvd, does anyone know if its the same in the r1?

    Access The Egg

    DISC 1 -
    Move down to bottom of menu then move left to bring up a key pad, key in the time the earth was destroyed: 1146.
    Displays the complete destruction of the earth sequence and an ad for Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters.

    DISC 2 -
    From the Outer Planets screen, turn on the subtitles. Go up to 'inner planets' and press left. This highlights the words "Dont Panic". Pressing enter plays all the computer readouts for the Heart of Gold display screens.

    On the Inner Planets (First Screen) highlight 'Communicate' and press left to highlight the hidden planet Earth
    Flick about left to right in the middle of the screen to select a hidden planet (earth). This plays the complete credit sequence (with the tunnel through the O lifted right out of the Doctor Who credit sequence)

  • by PHAEDRU5 ( 213667 ) <instascreedNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday May 03, 2002 @08:36AM (#3456542) Homepage
    Is it a takeoff on the Irish myth of The Salmon of Knowledge [allaboutirish.com]?
  • CG in HHGTTG... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by h0tblack ( 575548 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @08:52AM (#3456605)
    I remember an interview with D.A. concerning the TV adaptation where he recounted how many ppl had asked him about what computers and software they had used to make the actual Guide sequences. Much to their disappointment (and Adams' amusement) he replied "..umm, well, actually they were all hand-drawn." I'm still waiting for someone to create all of the info in the Guide excerpts in Flash ;)

    "I'm never going to be cruel to a Gin & Tonic again"
  • I am in the middle of listening through the radio series with my wife (she had never heard it prior).

    The books are good. I love the radio series. But I watched the video, and can not stand it. I owned it for 3 years. Watched it once. Never wanted to see it again.

    I won't go so far as to say the video hurt the series, but I wouldn't recomend anyone watching it unless they get a 1/2 dozen beers in them first.

  • Only if they modified it and had the Vogons proclaiming that All Your Base Are Belong to Us.

    Of course, Someone set us up the bomb might work in parts as well.
  • Looking on amazon.co.uk theres this version of the book:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0333766 57 1/ref=sr_aps_books_1_1/026-0803875-1046813

    That seems to have a introduction by Stephen Fry, and a tribute by Richard Dawkins in that version.

    However there is also this version (Which looks to be the same as a amazon.com version).

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1400045 08 8/ref=sr_aps_books_1_2/026-0803875-1046813

    I assume the one with the extra bits is a 'UK' version, while the other is a international one ?.
  • How weird is THAT? And it wasn't even intended. I happened to post it yesterday, and today it's posted. Cool.

    This is NOT offtopic, by the way. I'm referring to the posting of this very story.
  • How much is this going to cost the economy [slashdot.org] if us techies take the day off to watch it?
  • by Laptop Dancer ( 572075 ) on Friday May 03, 2002 @12:36PM (#3457852)
    There's a whole domain dedicated to the HHGttG, vogon.com [vogon.com]. The site was built for Netscape so the online guide's JavaScript is flakey with IE, but there must be over a hundred pages on the series.
    • This was made by a friend of mine from way, way, way back. Unfortunately, it looks like he's abandoned the project and it just lives on as a cobweb site. Kinda funny to remember how cutting-edge Netscape 3 was in those early days ...

      I was going to post a link to it myself, but since it doesn't appear to work at all using Mozilla, I didn't. I think you'd have to get an actual copy of Netscape 3 (or maybe 4?) to view it properly.

      D
  • Aren't we supposed to be boycotting DVD's over the DeCSS/region encoding issues?



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