Wish You Were Here: The Official Biography of Douglas Adams

ISBN: 0345476514
ISBN 13: 9780345476517
By: Nick Webb

Check Price Now

Genres

Biographies Biography Currently Reading Douglas Adams Humor Non Fiction Nonfiction Science Fiction To Read Wish List

About this book

It all started when Douglas Adams demolished planet Earth in order to make way for an intergalactic expressway–and then invited everyone to thumb a ride on a comical cosmic road trip with the likes of Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, and the other daft denizens of deep space immortalized in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Adams made the universe a much funnier place to inhabit and forever changed the way we think about towels, extraterrestrial poetry, and especially the number 42. And then, too soon, he was gone.Just who was this impossibly tall Englishman who wedded science fiction and absurdist humor to create the multimillion-selling five-book “trilogy” that became a cult phenomenon read round the world? Even if you’ve dined in the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, you’ve been exposed to only a portion of the offbeat, endearing, and irresistible Adams mystique. Have you met the only official unofficial member of Monty Python’s Flying Circus? The very first person to purchase a Macintosh computer? The first (and thus far only) author to play a guitar solo onstage with Pink Floyd? Adams was also the writer so notorious for missing deadlines that he had to be held captive in a hotel room under the watchful eye of his editor; the creator of the epic computer game Starship Titanic; and a globetrotting wildlife crusader.A longtime friend of the author, Nick Webb reveals many quirks and contradictions: Adams as the high-tech-gadget junkie and lavish gift giver . . .irrepressible ham and painfully timid soul . . . gregarious conversationalist and brooding depressive . . . brilliant intellect and prickly egotist. Into the brief span of forty-nine years, Douglas Adams exuberantly crammed more lives than the most resilient cat–while still finding time and energy to pursue whatever side projects captivated his ever-inquisitive mind. By turns touching, tongue-in-cheek, and not at all timid about telling the warts-and-all truth, Wish You Were Here is summation as celebration– a look back at a life well worth the vicarious reliving, and studded with anecdote, droll comic incident, and heartfelt insight as its subject’s own unforgettable tales of cosmic wanderlust. For the countless fans of Douglas Adams and his unique and winsome world, here is a wonderful postcard: to be read, reread, and treasured for the memories it bears.From the Hardcover edition.

Reader's Thoughts

Vasil Kolev

This was great, makes me want to reread all his books again.

Michael

Douglas Adams is one of my favorite writers, and I've been a fan of his books since I was about 12 or 13. Ironically, I was introduced to his first book (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) by my older brother, who has no sense of humor whatsoever.I read this at the same time as reading another Douglas Adams biography, called "Hitchhiker", written by M.J. Simpson. The reason I did this is I wanted to get a more complete sense of the life of my favorite humorist from more than just one viewpoint. Sure, each book is filled with interviews, but different writers focus on different things, and there was bound to be some stories and events that, while glossed over in one book, would be more fully described in the other. And I indeed found this to be the case. This book did a better job of telling the story of Mr. Adams' life from the viewpoints of his family and close friends. You get a sense of intimacy and closeness that is missing from the other book, largely because author Nick Webb was a close friend of Mr. Adams and family, and he had many personal stories to tell.I recommend this highly to anyone who has enjoyed or been influenced by the works of Douglas Adams. It is a worthy tribute to his life.

Brian Steed

Nick Webb is a fine writer. I can’t find anything else by him on Amazon, so I’m assuming this is his first book. He should do more biographies. I loved the observant and well-phrased asides he scatters throughout the book. He seems as genuinely fascinated by the natural world, literature, and technology as Adams was.

Astrid Detlefsen

Besides Humphrey Carpenter's Tolkien-biography this is without a doubt one of the best biographies I have ever read - if it isn't actually the best. Nick Webb has caught the mood and mannerism of Douglas Adams to perfection, and anyone who's read Hitchhiker's or any of his other books will recognize the whimsical and charming humor inside this one.Wish You Were Here toes the line between what is personal and what is too personal to tell in a biography, but never once does he cross it and there's never an uncomfortable moment when you think he's overshared a bit. All the stories he tell, and the natural criticism any imperfect human will be subjected to when their lives are being retold, are treated with the utmost respect and affection for the people in them. All I can say about this book is: read it. If you are familiar with Douglas Adams it will be like befriending him all over again with all his faults and virtues; if you don't know Douglas Adams read it anyway. This is the perfect example of how to write a biography that is truly in the spirit of it's subject.Douglas Adams did not like biographies. But I believe that if Douglas Adams had to write an autobiography, it would be exactly like Wish You Were Here.

Patrick Lum

Neil Gaiman's unofficial biography is better; I feel like the author's presence (not DNA's) is pretty heavy here.

Kate Millin

Official biography and a fascinating read and insight to the man - would now like to read the other biography - don't panic

Francesca

Great personal biography by one of Douglas' friends and colleagues. Vivid portrayal and intimate look at the author whose wit and love of science and obvious curiosity/philosophical interest in life drew me to his Hitchhikers series.

Scott

Fantastic! It takes a little while to get going through some slightly dull plodding about at the start discussing Douglas Adams' family, but it really hits its stride once the great author gets into the picture. Very intelligent and often funny (maybe a bit too much America-bashing from author Webb, ironic as Douglas loved America), this book is straightforward for about half the pages and then goes off the rails in different directions about Adams' life. Appropriate, though, given how full of ideas and enthusiastic Adams was about everything. I really enjoyed it, recommended for Adams fans especially.

April

eh, i ended up skimming. maybe i just wasn't in the mood for a bio. it did make me want to read more douglas adams though.

Elizabeth

Painstakingly researched, and affectionate. Webb acknowledges his seriously pro-Douglas bias, but he makes many excuses for Adams' personality challenges which are a bit grating to read after a while. The early parts of the book are the strongest, focusing on things that happened and anecdotes. I consider myself a great admirer of his work, but not a fanatic, so I was happy to learn about the childhood and adolescent circumstances that shaped one of the funniest English modern writers. The latter chapters - especially the movie-making chapter - get bogged down in too many details. Die-hard fans will enjoy the minutiae (and complain there wasn't enough!) but I found it a bit painful to read and reread accounts of botched Hollywood deals, and the agony Douglas went through with each writing process.

Mark Bruhn

I miss Douglas Adams, though I preferred his earlier work to his later (I know, this is biography, sue me). He does seem to have been quite a character.

Igor

I'm a big fan of Douglas Adams.But not obsessed enough to be able to finish this book.It is done well enough, for sure, and I respect that.I just cannot finish this book. I mean, it might actually be longer then The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe...

Mia

Another thrift store find... and a fantastic one at that! Douglas Adams was a difficult genius and Nick Webb did a wonderful job of telling the story in a very even-handed manner. He admits Adams's shortcomings as well as some of his unpublicized triumphs. Webb's writing is also great. A biography has never been so fun! He has a quirky humor, much like Adams, that makes it an enjoyable read. The only bummer is that the book was published before the movie was released - I would have loved to hear his thoughts on the movie, and the thoughts of all the other creative minds behind Hitchhiker's to see how they felt about it. (I personally love the movie)

Tracey

It's more of a theme-based biography than strictly chronological & very British (I have got to start using the word "kipple"!). Mr. Webb was also an acquaintance of Douglas & as well as being the "official biographer", he was able to bring some of his personal insights to the work. I learned more about his family background that I remember reading in either the Gaiman or Simpson bios - the section of pictures (if a bit too small) was a lovely addition, as was the list of Douglas' favourite Beatles tunes. The index and List of Works would probably be useful if you were doing research. I'll be adding this book to my Amazon wish list.FWIW - I had the great fortune to meet Adams in the mid 1990's at a book reading/signing... I thanked him for his work and its influence on getting me and my husband together & I got a rather confused "You're welcome" type of reply. It's a tossup as to which creative -mind-gone-too-soon I miss the most: Douglas or Jim Henson.

Krissa

This isn't just a must-read for Adams fans, it's also a must-read for writers or any other creative type who enjoys the sweet torture of procrastination - Adams was a master of the genre.I'm not much of a biographies person but this one is almost like hanging out with Adams, he's that well captured.

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *