MFAQ 3.0 -


From: "Greg Pacek - CrazyOne"
Message-ID: <>
Subject: [MFAQ 3.0] Spending a year dead for tax purposes
Date: Thu, 17 May 2001 12:13:44 GMT

In Memoriam
Douglas Noel Adams
March 11, 1952 - May 11, 2001

"This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays."

*** The MFAQ (Most Frequently Asked Questions) ***

Version 3.0 / Last changes 12 May 2001 / This posted 17 May 2001

12 May 2001 note from Greg:
I thought I would embark on a long-overdue overhaul of this document
today, but I'm realizing just how hard that will be. All the "might
happen in the future" speculation gets pretty much wiped out, and that
just brings home again how sad it is that DNA is no longer with us. So
much was left to come. But certainly he enriched our lives while he was
here, and that's what this MFAQ is about.

Welcome to!

In this little corner of Usenet we discuss things supposedly related to
British book/game/film/radio author Douglas Adams and his works. This
MFAQ is meant to answer the common questions so that discussion on the
group can be more about the less common and/or totally absurd ones.

This MFAQ is posted (tries to be, anyway) weekly on Thursdays; the web
home of the MFAQ is:

For more in-depth info on Douglas Adams and his work, please visit the
more than complete FAQ at its *new* home: (not to be confused with the non-hyphenated :-)

A few notes about the newsgroup: This is an
unmoderated group, which means you may see "spam" from time to time. It
is best not to respond to spam, except maybe to send a mail to the
spammer's service provider if you can figure out who it is and you feel
like it. This is also NOT a binary group. That means if you have this
great picture file, background "wallpaper", etc. you should post an offer
to email it to people or a pointer to where they can download it rather
than attaching the file to the post. Binaries to the group will be met
with a flurry of nasty notes from regulars. So if you didn't know before,
now you do. :-) Also, common sense, while not often seen on Usenet, can
be a help. Ridiculous breaches of netiquette tend to result in flames.
If you're totally new to Usenet newsgroups, you might want to look at this
piece on netiquette at In fact, there's
a bit on this page that immortalizes
what happened several years ago on this very group. So be careful what
you wish for. ;-) One thing to note is that we're not
particularly picky about being on-topic all the time, which means if you
want to know what Douglas Adams fans think of this or that, you're usually
okay in asking. In fact, these days it's rare to see much on-topic at

The FAQ team is allegedly Greg Pacek, Owen Cameron and Ben Brockert. This
MFAQ was developed and is maintained by Greg "CrazyOne" Pacek (email: with the help of Iain Barker (web translation), Ben
Brockert (FAQ-MFAQ cross-pollination), other a.f.d-a participants and
furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. Please send comments and suggestions
to Greg.

And now... on with THE ANSWERS!

** The questions/contents (in some sort of order):

(new info since previous post indicated with + in the contents)
(this time they're left as new, just in case you didn't see on Saturday)

+ 1. Who is Douglas Adams anyway?
+ 2. What has he written/created?
+ 3. What was he last working on?
+ 4. What happened to the company he co-founded?
+ 5. What is this about?
+ 6. What happened to The Salmon of Doubt?
+ 7. What's this I hear about a movie?
+ 8. How do I find the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
or Bureaucracy computer games?
+ 9. Where can I get other CDs, tapes, books, etc.?
+10. What do you get if you multiply six by nine? (and other notes on 42)
11. What kind of stuff is in the complete FAQ?
+12. Where do I find HHGG/DNA _______ on the web?
+13. Where else can I interact with Douglas Adams fans?
14. Is there a fan club? (ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha info)

1. Who is Douglas Adams anyway?

You really don't know? ;-) Douglas Adams was a British author of humorous
books and other items in various media (radio, tv, computer games, etc.)
By far his best-known work is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (in its
various forms) and its sequels. For a lot more info, please visit the
more than complete FAQ mentioned above. And of course check out

By the way, his name is Douglas Noel Adams, so around here we often call
him DNA for short. He was born March 11, 1952, in Cambridge (the one in
England). And he died suddenly May 11, 2001, in Santa Barbara,
California, leaving behind his wife Jane, daughter Polly and millions of
grieving fans. For more off-line info about DNA you can check out _Don't
Panic_ by Neil Gaiman and the new Pocket Essentials _Hitchhiker's Guide_
by M.J. Simpson.

2. What has he written/created?

Well, the best bibliography is at Floor 42 (see also item 12), but here's
a quick list of the most common works (some of these have co-authors):

Radio Series:
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

TV Series:
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Life, the Universe and Everything
So Long and Thanks for All the Fish
Mostly Harmless

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul

Last Chance to See

The Meaning of Liff
The Deeper Meaning of Liff

Computer Games:
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Starship Titanic

Feature Film:
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (see item 7)

Web site: (now part of BBC New Media)

3. What was he last working on?

The last things DNA was working on would be the feature film of The
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, for which he had written the screenplay
and was still searching for a way to get it made finally (see item 7).
There may have been some writing he was doing, it did come up in question
and answer chats and interviews from time to time, but there is nothing
known to be completed and probably unlikely to be anything released in
that area.

4. What happened to the company he co-founded?

Douglas Adams co-founded a new media company several years ago called The
Digital Village. Its first project was the computer game Starship
Titanic. Later work began on what became, the online real-life
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, an information and community oriented
web site. When that project became the major part of TDV's activities,
the company name was changed to h2g2 Ltd. And in early 2001 was
acquired by BBC New Media and became part of their web portfolio. Also
under development at that time at TDV/h2g2 Ltd was an all-new Hitchhiker
game. This was not included in the BBC acquisition, and the project
apparently continues with a new corporate name of Phase 3 Studios

5. What is this about? (or actually now the address is is the
online Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Go check out this amazing site,
the Guide to everything, as researched by everyone! Submit your own guide
entries, comment on others, put up info on the web without knowing any
HTML, and on and on. There are over 50,000 registered researchers now,
and lots of ways to interact with others. You can even use h2g2 on your
WAP-enabled mobile phone, which proves once and for all that fiction will
become reality.

The site was originally developed by The Digital Village (later h2g2 Ltd.)
and picked up by BBC New Media in early 2001.

6. What happened to The Salmon of Doubt?

Despite persistent publication dates in some ordering systems and a bunch
of fake reviews on, this book does not exist. Basically,
Douglas started writing a Dirk Gently book. Then Dirk didn't fit. Then
later he gave up on the idea for now. He had said that many of the ideas
he came up with belonged instead in a Hitchhiker book, which now, of
course, we'll not get to see.

Fearless webmaster Iain Barker had a conversation with DNA at one point.
One of the things he mentioned is that uninformed people compliment him on
how good this nonexistent book is! "A good return to form" even!
Ridiculous. Don't believe anything you've seen or heard about this book
existing, because quite simply it doesn't.

7. What's this I hear about a movie?

All the movie news has become sadly irrelevant now. Maybe not totally
irrelevant, but it's unclear what will happen with the film in the wake of
DNA's passing. The last we knew was that Jay Roach was still on as
director and that they were looking for a new studio to fund the
production. There exists somewhere a completed screenplay done by DNA
himself. It's entirely possible the film will still get made some day, I
suppose, given those facts, but I don't know just how likely that might

8. How do I find the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
or Bureaucracy computer games?

Well, the deal is that the rights to the HHGG game have reverted back from
Activision (successor to Infocom) to Douglas Adams. In fact, this is why
the game did not appear on the most recent Infocom collections. (It does
appear on "The Lost Treasures of Infocom" and "The Infocom Sci-Fi
Collection", both of which are now apparently out of print, or at least
very difficult to find.) If you do have an old version of the game,
however, it is possible to take the data files from it and use it on
virtually any type of operating system. Infocom designed the game (and
other text adventures they did) to use the same data file on any sort of
computer and utilize an interpreter program that was written for that
platform (often refered to as a Z Interpreter). The practical upshot is
that you can get a shareware or freeware Infocom interpreter for nearly
any platform you like. This FTP site has been recommended as a source for
several such interpreters:

Occasionally people sell their copies of these collections on the auction
website eBay (

Please note that unauthorized distribution of the game remains illegal,
and h2g2 Ltd may well take action against such distribution (including but
not limited to closing of web sites, lawsuits, concrete shoes, calling in
the Vogons, etc.)

You can now play a Java version of the HHGG game online at (This was done with little fanfare. Not sure if the
Comic Relief site one is still meant to work or not.) Just hop on over to to play the game.
I don't know to what degree they care about downloading the z datafile
itself, but its location can't be hidden anyway. It's at You can use it with any z
interpreter as mentioned above. Keep in mind the above remark about
unauthorized distribution. You should direct people to the site, nowhere

There was supposed be an all-new Hitchhiker game to go along with the
movie, though. Work on this game has in fact already started, but the
fate of the movie is unclear. Certainly at this point the game would be
completed before the film, if indeed the film is ever completed at all.

Bureaucracy is slightly easier. It appeared on a couple of Infocom
collections in the past, and appears on Activision's newest collection of
old Infocom stuff called "Masterpieces of Infocom", just released on their
"Essential Collection" budget label. This collection is very inexpensive
(around 10UKP/probably about US$10) runs on PC or Mac and includes 30 or
so other old Infocom text adventure games. It's been a while now though,
and I'm not sure if this latest collection is still in stores or not.

Look, it's simple. DO NOT post the games on your web site. DO NOT post
the address of any site (yours or otherwise) where the games supposedly
have been posted. DO NOT post requests for the games or offers to send
them. And most of all DO NOT post the games themselves to the group.
(It's NOT a binaries group.) Unauthorized distribution of the games
REMAINS ILLEGAL. Play the Java game online for HHGG; buy the inexpensive
collection for Bureaucracy.

9. Where do I get other CDs, tapes, books, etc.?

The Radio Series is otherwise notoriously hard to get ahold of, at least
in the US, and the TV Series is approaching that point. In the UK and
other places in the EU you can still get these directly from the BBC
( and click on the Science Fiction section), but
the BBC won't ship across the pond, or, indeed, outside the EU. As for
walking into a store, well, the BBC shops do usually have them. Info from
Australia suggests the ABC shops are a good source for the radio series.
Info from the US suggests Media Play for the tv series and possibly even
the making-of video. I saw US-edition videos recently at The
best place for most of the world to look for the radio series is probably or, which carry the latest BBC editions and
ship anywhere. If you're a member of ZZ9 (see item 14) you can buy the
radio series (and other merchandise) through their members-only
merchandise catalog. (Remember you have to be careful with video because
the North American format is different from most other places in the world
including Europe and Australia. Japan is the same as the US and Canada,

Some of the books are more difficult (impossible) to get than others. My
recent experience indicates that the UK-based online bookstores (Internet
Bookshop at and hold possibility of
getting UK editions of many of the books and audiobooks. US-based online
stores (Borders, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc.) and their brick and
mortar counterparts offer varying success at getting US editions. The
Dove Audio unabridged editions of all the novels read by DNA himself are
best purchased at, which is a division of the same
parent company as Dove Audio. Smaller bookshops both on and off the web
can be great sources of hard-to-find stuff. If you scoore a radio scripts
book at this point you are very lucky indeed. Don't forget to check for people selling used stuff. Or, to search a large database of
used and rare books, try

You can still get The Voyager Company's CD-ROM version of Last Chance to
See. This has the full text of the book plus photos and the entire book
read on audio by DNA. Comes in Windows or Mac version. Here's a direct
link to the info (Win versions appear to be out of stock again, call for

Please note that like the game, the Radio Series and TV Series are under
copyright. Uploading or downloading audio or video files of them could
get you into trouble. Use a bit of common sense. Fair use should allow
short audio clips of under 30 seconds, though. (Standard disclaimer
applies. I do not have intimate knowledge of the law.) Same with the
books. Quotes are okay, but posting the whole things are a big no-no.
Expect to be shut down or worse if they catch you.

10. What do you get if you multiply six by nine? (and other notes on 42)

Well, 54, of course. It can be argued that in base 13 you get 42. Those
of us who have followed this group for some time have seen the revelations
of those who have newly discovered this. (Some of us have even been there
ourselves.) It's an extremely tired discussion, though. The joke, when
Douglas wrote it, was simply that it was the wrong question for the answer
(or the wrong answer for the question, if you prefer.) He has said
himself "Nobody writes jokes in base 13."

42 is just a number. It has no significance in relation to any other
previous uses of the number 42, as least as far as DNA always insisted.

11. What kind of stuff is in the complete FAQ?

Well, all kinds of good stuff, like differences between US and UK versions
of the books, more answers to less frequently asked questions, song
lyrics, biographical info about Douglas, all sorts of silly info about the
making of things, DNA and Dr. Who, links to other cool stuff and the
Question to the Ultimate Answer. Well, maybe not the last one. Again,
the address is

Two of the better things linked to the FAQ page are the Ultra-Complete
Indices. These were undertaken a few years back by Mathias Maul and are
very useful when you are looking for a certain quote. You can find The
Ultra-Complete Index to The Hitchhiker's "Trilogy" or The Ultra-Complete
Index to Dirk Gently on the FAQ website.

In the places where these two documents overlap, info there should be in
agreement with info here. If we have any incorrect info, we are therefore
at least definitively inaccurate. Or maybe it's more like this: the FAQ
is definitive; reality is frequently inaccurate.

12. Where do I find HHGG/DNA _______ on the web?

Looking for sound clips, bad poetry, quotes, indices of certain passages
from the books and other such stuff? Check the FAQ site above (item 11),, the ZZ9 website (see item 14) and the sites below first!
You're bound to find nearly anything you're looking for.
(Kate Brown's very professional-looking site with general info, message
boards, a trivia quiz and more. The best lofoking DNA fan site I've seen,
period. Sometimes the info here is better than the info in the FAQ. This
site also has the best DNA bibilography, definitely better than the one in
the FAQ.) or
(The unofficial official homepage of a.f.d-a, under direction of webmaster
Iain Barker. Includes this very MFAQ for your reading pleasure.)
(Home of Project Galactic Guide. Conceived and executed long before, the idea is a similar one. Everyone contributes entries on a
wide variety of subjects. While the execution may not be as flashy as
h2g2, it's worth a visit for the content alone.)
(Kieran John's slightly rough but promising site with a character database
and recreations of the guide entries among its unique features. Currently
awaiting an update, so don't base your impression on what's there now.)
(Megan Branning's page now called Studio 42. Home of Bart's Guide to the
Galaxy. ;-)
(Tomas Wallin's page has a large selection of audio samples from the radio
series in RealAudio format.)
(Nathan Hughes' Douglas Adams Worship Pages - the original source for lots
of cool stuff. He used to maintain the FAQ.)
(Lee Haslam has totally overdesigned this site, but it's one of the cooler
overdesigns I've seen. I like how all the info of the site appears on a
sort-of HHGG-like screen when you press the link.)
(Slartibartfast, from the country with the award-winning coastline, has
put together a bit of useful info. Most of it can probably found
somewhere else, but it was the button at the bottom that says "Do not
press this button" and how that is set up that did it for me. Maybe I'm
just easily amused.)
(Vogon Heavy Industries is home to an impressive Java HHGG implementation
which I finally did get to work recently. Alas, it appears to have been
neglected for some time. Still, the design is good and concept is
certainly sound, worth visiting just to see how similar it is to the Guide
described in the original versions.)

[If you want me to plug your website, please post or email your web
address, and I'll take a look.]

13. Where else can I interact with Douglas Adams fans?

Since this group has filled with so much, er, off-topic silliness (nothing
bad if you like it! but hey, some don't), Stuart has created the
douglasadams-news moderated mailing list at All messages
sent to the list will be approved by a moderator before being sent to
everyone else. To join, go to and follow the
instructions. In fact, there are around a dozen other lists on eGroups
with DNA-related subjects, but none of them receive that much traffic,
even though they are unmoderated. I've joined several to see what goes on
in them, and the answer is basically nothing different than what happens
on afda. Nobody seems to have any extra insight to offer.

The forum at is a good place to check out, though I
suppose its future will be uncertain. is certainly full of DNA fans, and is just a cool concept in all

The forum at Floor 42 ( has become rather active as well.
It's populated by some of the same people who frequent the forum, as well as some others. Many of these people do
not frequent afda, so you might meet some new fellow fans. Floor 42 also
maintains a contact list. AOL Instant Messenger seems to be the most
likely chat method, though you'll also find some ICQ numbers and possibly
even more ways to be in contact with the people listed there. And you can
add your own listing, of course, if you'd like people to contact you.

Some afda regulars chat via Internet Relay Chat. Fire up your IRC client,
login to and join channel #afda. If you need an IRC
client, it seems that mIRC is rather popular for Windows. For Mac it's
IRCle. And there are clients for other assorted operating systems as
well. You can find these in the usual software download places. I'm not
going to write a primer for IRC in here, partly because it would take too
long, but mainly because I'm not really qualified. Floor 42 has an IRC
channel as well, #Floor42 on I mention this mainly because
DALnet's homepage,, has some good general info if you're
new to IRC.

14. Is there a fan club? (ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha info)

ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha (aka ZZ9) is the official Hitchhiker's Guide To The
Galaxy Appreciation Society. It was established in 1980 and have released
a quarterly magazine, Mostly Harmless (the name of which was used long
before the book of that name came out), full of interviews, fiction, news,
art, discussion, and so on, ever since. They also produce a wide range of
merchandise related to Douglas Adams exclusively for members of ZZ9. They
come highly recommended by many people on the newsgroup. They also
arrange and coordinate meetings for fans of Hitchhiker's Guide, mainly
based around the UK. The society is based in the UK, but they're able to
accept membership dues in US dollars. Current details, including contact
addresses and so forth can be found at their homepage:

Thanks for reading!

That's all I have for now. If you have suggestions for more questions or
new info on these ones, please send it/them!

CrazyOne <---


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© 1999-2001 e-mail Uwe Milde

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Last edited on 24.05.2001.