DNA – 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.
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