When creative people die at a relatively young age, the longing will always be there for the projects that might have been had they lived longer. One need only buy all 17,000 posthumous Jimi Hendrix albums to know what that’s about. One of GFR’s favorite authors, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy‘s Douglas Adams, is definitely one of those people, and we are swirling our towels around in a frenzy at the news that an upcoming biography will feature sections of Adams’ work that has never been seen before by the public. And this isn’t just letters to mum or anything — it’s a gold mine.
Biographer Jem Roberts has put together The Frood, an Adams term for an amazingly together guy, which will be a fresh take on Adams’ life and will stand apart from previous biographies. The holy grail here is a collection of Adams’ papers stored in his Cambridge archive at St. John’s College, to which Roberts was given access by the Adams estate. An amazing opportunity, but a massive undertaking, as Roberts said (via The Guardian) that there are “boxes and boxes of notebooks, lots of typescript stuff, paper printed from the computer…it was just an enormous job.”
So what kinds of things can we hope to see? Roberts will include sections of the original Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy novel, called The Dentrassi and Arthur’s Reverie. As well, we can expect to find portions of a long-thought-lost abandoned version of Life, the Universe and Everything, and deleted scenes from the published version. Apparently the plot was the same, but there were a ton of different jokes and ideas going into it. New Douglas Adams jokes is what dreams are made of, people! Pieces of unused material have names like Baggy the Runch and The Assumption of Saint Zalabad. I’m going to name my second kid Baggy!
Beyond those awesome features, The Frood will contain a rough draft script for the second Hitchhiker’s Guide television series that was never produced. Plus, new interviews with Adams’ family and friends, such as his daughter Polly and his sister Susan. Their help should make Roberts’ intentions known, but he says, “It’s very important to contextualize this material properly…and I understand people thinking that this is raw material and that he didn’t want it to be seen. I spend part of the book asking what Douglas would have wanted.” Much respect,and many jokes. We all win.
Celebratory song time!
Adams fans have already experienced something like this before back in 2002 with The Salmon of Doubt, a collection of unpublished work meant for a novel in his Dirk Gently series. But this is something else altogether. Don’t panic about not being able to read this material! Random House imprint Preface will publish The Frood this October. This gives me a reason to reread the Hitchhiker’s Guide series again. As if I needed one.