I did a Pod Delusion interview last week with this year's speaker, Marcus du Sautoy, to publicise it - if you are interested, here is a slightly longer version.
However, now that I have a blog, it would feel odd not to write something on what would have been his 58th birthday.
I've said before that I think Adams would have found much in common with the burgeoning skeptical movement, something borne out by Bob Novella from the SGU when I spoke to him (again, this is a longer version of last week's Pod Delusion interview).
Most people I know have read at least the first couple of Hitchhiker books, and the reasons for Adams' popularity are obvious - the endless cascade of ideas, the warm absurdity so unique to Adams' writing, and the dual understanding of science and literature on display throughout
But few people have heard the original the radio series. I listened to until my cassettes literally broke. It still sounds unique to day - at the time it was revolutionary. It will give you an insight into what a good writer Adams was, and provides new insights into why the books are so easy to read - they were written with the spoken word in mind.
Then, there are the later Hitchhiker books, which to my mind are better novels. They retain all the good points of the early books, but Adams had run out of radio scripts to adapt, and so turned his hand to constructing a novel from scratch.
Mostly Harmless may be less popular among fans because it is so dark in tone, but its a masterclass in structure and pace.
The two Dirk Gently novels continue this trend, and Adams never bettered their central character or intricacy of plot. Try Chapter 6 of Holistic Detective Agency or Chapter 9 of The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul to see what I mean.
And finally, if you think there is a reason you won't enjoy his novels, such as you don't like science fiction or laughing out loud, there are the non-fiction books Last Chance To See and Salmon of Doubt, which was published posthumously. These reveal the passion and humanity of Adams, something reflected by everyone who knew him. He was an extraordinarily nice man and you begin to realise how much of himself he put into his novels.
The nearest I ever came to meeting Adams in person was a fleeting glance of his gargantuan frame at was a book signing during the mid-90s
My father and I turned up in glorious naivety expecting to buy tickets on the night, only to find it had sold out weeks before. We watched forlornly as Adams arrived in a car and disappeared inside, although I later received a signed copy of Mostly Harmless for a guilty father.
The awesome memorial lectures have provided some consolation over the years. I remember Robert Swan and Mark Carwardine with particular fondness, and in 2005, at the charity auction, I bought two tickets to the premiere of the long-delayed Hitchhikers film (which was disappointing but is hugely underrated - Mos Def is a wonderful Ford Prefect).
I understand you will be able to listen to the Marcus du Sautoy lecture after the event, and I will link to it as and when I can. If any of you are there, let me know, as some fellow PodDelights and I are going for a drink afterwards.
Until then it only remains to say Happy Birthday and thank you to Douglas Adams, a hoopy frood if ever there was one. You are fondly remembered, and sorely missed.