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Douglas Adams : DNA - The Source Of Life, The Universe And Everything

Douglas Adams Picture Portrait Life The Universe And Everything So Long And Thanks For All The Fish Zaphod Beeblebrox woz ereDNA – The Source of Life, the Universe and Everything

By Simon Hope


It’s like a Freemason’s handshake to fans of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Forty-two. The answer to life, the universe and everything. Just one of a series of clever in-jokes that bind millions of Hitchhiker fans around the globe.

In 1979, soon after publication of the Hitchhiker’s Guide, author Douglas Adams was invited to a book signing at a small science fiction shop in Soho. As he drove he was held up by what he assumed to be a demonstration. It was only on arrival that he realised the massive crowds were there to meet him. Rarely has a book, particularly a sci-fi comedy novel, created a following of such scale. The Hitchhiker’s Guide had morphed from a cult radio series into a publishing success overnight. A phenomenon was born.

Douglas Noel Adams was born in Cambridge on 11 March 1952 (one of his favourite gags being that he preceded Crick and Watson’s own discovery of DNA in Cambridge by some nine months). After a strange start to life – Adams claimed to have made a habit of walking into lamp-posts as a child – he quickly found his vocation. By the age of eleven his first piece of writing had been accepted into print – a short story for Eagle annual. Despite the many detours he would take along the way, it appears the writing bug was unshakeable from that early age.
Read the full story

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Sir Patrick Moore At AstroFest 2007


Thanks to Roy Gray and Peter Bond, Royal Astronomical Society Press Officer at Astronomy Now.

Astronomers will be congregating in their thousands in Central London over the 9-10 February as Kensington Town Hall plays host to European AstroFest 2007, the largest astronomy exhibition and conference of its kind in Europe.

This two-day event, held in Kensington Town Hall, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Hornton Street, London W8 7NX, is organised by ‘Astronomy Now’ magazine. Doors open at 9am and close at 6pm each day.

This year’s Astrofest will include a wide variety of speakers from all areas of astronomy, headlined this year by Sir Patrick Moore, Chris Lintott and Brian May, who will be discussing 50 years of ‘The Sky at Night’ and signing copies of their new book, ‘Bang! The Complete History of the Universe’.

Also present will be Michael Meyer, the lead scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Programme, who will be speaking on both days about NASA’s plans for the exploration of the red planet. Prof. Jocelyn Bell-Burnell (discoverer of pulsars), astrophotographer Damian Peach, astronomy historian Prof. Allan Chapman, Dr Tim O’Brien from Jodrell Bank, Iain Gilmour from the Open University and Reinder Bouma of the Royal Dutch Association for Meteorology and Astronomy have also been added to the list of speakers.

As well as the conference programme, AstroFest 2007 also features the largest exhibition of telescope and astronomical equipment dealers in Europe, with over thirty companies and organisations exhibiting across three floors. Dealers and exhibitors will include Telescope House, David Hinds Ltd, Orion Optics, Springer-Verlag, ‘Astronomy Now’ magazine and the British Astronomical Association.

Also present will be a portable Starlab planetarium presented by AstroAdventures, who will give attendees guided tours of the night sky that are fun for adults and children alike.

Tickets are still available for the conference sessions all-day Friday and Saturday afternoon. A single conference session (incorporating four lectures) costs £12.50; two sessions cost £23.00, and three sessions costs £31.50. Entrance into the exhibition only is £5 for adults and £2 for children. Tickets bought for the conference include entrance into the exhibition. However, tickets for the Saturday morning slot when Sir Patrick Moore will be speaking have now sold out.

The full two-day programme can be found at:

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Brian Aldiss Audio Reading of ‘Man In His Time’

Roy Gray has pointed me in the direction of the BBC Audio website. On it there is a reading of Brian Aldiss’ Man In His Time to mark his 80th birthday.

Note that the link above lists the current Arts & Drama Audio listings which are updated almost constantly, so this will only be available for a short time.

Incidentally, there’s also listings for Doctor Who - Blood of the Daleks with Paul McGann as the Doctor.

Get it while it’s hot.

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Ultra Short SciFi Stories

Are These Stories Or Just Stuttering Sentences?

Wired have posted an interesting article on stories of six words or less. They asked sci-fi, fantasy, and horror writers from the realms of books, TV, movies, and games to take a shot themselves at something which Hemingway had done: (”For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”) which he is dubbed as saying was his best work.

Other noterieties include Joss Whedon, Stan Lee, Rudy Rucker, Charles Stross, Gregory Macguire, Margeret Atwood, Alan Moore, David Brin, Eileen Gunn and William Shatner.

My favourite is from Alan Moore: “Machine. Unexpectedly, I’d invented a time”

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Kim Stanley Robinson Radio Broadcast

Kim Stanley Robinson on Hour of the Wolf

From Andy Porter and Roy Gray.

On recording from CapClave, Kim Stanley Robinson performs two readings. The first is from his novel, Fifty Degrees Below, and the second from the forthcoming sequel, Sixty Days and Counting.

This to be broadcast Saturday, November 4, between 5 and 7 AM on WBAI, 99.5 FM as part of Jim Freund’s radio program, Hour of the Wolf. The show is also streamed at and available ‘on-demand’ afterward. Go to a day or so after the broadcast, and I’ll have the link up by then.

Speaking of which, last week’s show was never aired, since our transmitter was kaput. However, guests Sarah Langan and JT Petty were troupers. We began recording the interview, only to discover trough listener calls that we were actually streaming online.

To hear this phantom show, click on this link:
After the intro, skip past the first 40 minutes, and you’ll come into the program midway, just as I turned on the mics. Most surreal, but an interesting discussion about
the nature of the horror genre(s).

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