If you has ready and appreciate also one book by Douglas Adams, I think that you could have a little idea of what the people who knew him proved after his death. So, Peter Guzzardi composed The Salmond of Doubt with the idea to make an hearthful tribute to the writer of the Hitchhiker's Guide using unpublished articles, interviews and the third unfinished novel of the series of Dirk Gently, which also gives its name to collection.
Insufficient portrait of an artist
No sooner was I buzzed in the door to the Adams residence in Islington than a large, ebullient man bounded down the long staircase, greeted me warmly, and thrust a handful of pages at me. "See what you think of these," he said over his shoulder as he bounded back up the stairs. An hour later he was back, new pages in hand, eager to hear my opinion of the first batch. And so the afternoon passed, quiet stretches of reading alternating with more bounding, more conversation, and fresh pages. This, it turned out, was Douglas's favorite way of working.
(from the editor's note by Peter Guzzardi)
We were on holiday in Corfu with three friends when he was finishing a book, and he ended up taking over the whole house. He had a room to write in, a room to sleep in, a room to go to when he couldn't sleep, and so on. It didn't occur to him that other people might want a good night’s sleep as well. He goes through life with a brain the size of a planet, and often seems to be living on a different one. He is absolutely not a malicious person, but when he is in the throes of panic and terror and unable to finish a book, everything else pales into insignificance.
(John Lloyd from the obituary by Nicholas Wroe for The Guardian)
Whether in the preparation of lectures, the execution of occasional journalism or in articles for specialized scientific or technical publications, Douglas's natural ability to put one word after another in the service of awakening, delighting, bamboozling, affirming, informing or amusing the mind of the reader never deserted him. His is an ego-less style where every trope and every trick available to writing is used when and only when it serves the purposes of the piece.
(from the introduction by Stephen Fry)
Writing, science, technologyThe previous quatation, extracted from The Salmon of Doubt, are a modest atempt to describe Douglas Adams using his friends' words: they transmitted the vivid image of a tall, imposing person, but extremely friendly and nice, with a great sense of humor. In particular Fry's quotation is the ultimate review about Douglas Adams, and also the most synthetic review for the collage that composes the The Salmon of Doubt.
Structured in three parts (Life, The universe, And everything, with the latter containing the Gently's unfinished novel that gives the title to the collection), collects, as written, a number of unpublished material recovered from the beloved Adams' Mac. The British writer, in fact, was a technology's enthusiast, especially for the Apple, and in a couple of articles imagines himself using the touch screen of today's smartphone and tablet in a period in which the smartphone and tablet not even mentioned!
Music fan, in particular for Beatles (but not only them), he met many well-known personalities, including artists and scientists, and in particular with the latter was particularly at ease: his ability to write about science in a simple and clear style, always ironic and never wrong, was deeply appreciated. His propensity to deepen any topic pushed him, then, to undertake an adventure around the world in search of endangered species along with the zoologist Mark Cawardine, which led to write the beautiful and brilliant The Last Chance to See.
His career and his life were undoubtedly marked by the success of Hitchhiker's Guide, which began first as a BBC radio program, and then became a series of successful novels, and at the end it inspires the creation of one of the first sites with a bit of social: h2g2.com.
The nonfiction writings render the portrait of a man up-to-date and interested in technology and science, concerned about the state of the planet and its inhabitants (not only human), with a fun and challenging style. Therefore a reading you should not miss anyone, lover or not for the British writer.
From the Guida to Dirk GentlyIn the last part of the book there are a short story about the Hitchhiker's Guide and the unfinished third novel about Dirk Gently down-at-heel private detective always been committed to solving absurd or surreal cases. And indeed The Salmon of Doubt presents many surreal elements, starting with the shadowing's technique of Dirk, who leads him to the United States without knowing why, through a runaway rhinoceros that ends up dying in the pool a rich guy.
Following the Adams' initial plan, the story would be a new novel of the Hitchhiker's Guide, but the vicissitudes written were a bit out of place for the saga, so he adapred the story for Dirk Gently, while retaining the title of the initial work, that Salmon of Doubt which is a clear reference to the Guide, but also to remind to the reader one of the foundations of science, so beloved by Adams: always doubt.
Bionus track: The origin of god