Neil Gaiman Remembers 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' Author Douglas Adams on His Birthday

Neil Gaiman is today remembering one of the iconic figures in modern science fiction, Douglas Adams, on what would have been the writer’s 65th birthday.

Gaiman shared a Polaroid photo to his Instagram feed of himself sitting with Adams. The photo is from about 35 years ago, likely taken as Gaiman was beginning work on the book Don't Panic: The Official Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Companion.

Take a look below:

Neil Gaiman Douglas Adams

“It is Douglas Adams' birthday today,” Gaiman writes. “He would have been 65. He was only 30 when this Polaroid was taken, and I was a 22 year old journalist there to interview him. I wish he were still with us. We need his mind.”

Adams was a writer known for his humor. His best-known work is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which began as a BBC radio comedy. Adams later turned The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy into a novel, and then into a "trilogy in five parts": 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, and Mostly Harmless.

Adams also wrote two Dirk Gently novels featuring the titular, eccentric investigator, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and its sequel The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. The novels were recently adapted into a television series.


Douglas Adams also worked on the long-running BBC science fiction series Doctor Who. In fact, the third novel in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy "trilogy," Life, the Universe and Everything, began as a Doctor Who movie pitch. Adams worked as a script editor on Doctor Who in 1979 and penned three episodes himself, each featuring Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor. They were “The Pirate Planet,” the second part of the “Key to Time” arc in Season 16, “City of Death” (co-written under the pseudonym David Agnew), and “Shada” which was only partially filmed at the time and did not air on television due to television industry disputes. In 2017, the BBC used animation and new voice recordings from the original cast to complete “Shada” and made it available digitally and on home media.

Adams died of a heart attack in 2001 at age 49. Gaiman considered Adams a friend and a huge influence on his career. Gaiman’s essay memorializing Adams, “Remembering Douglas Adams,” can be found in his collection of non-fiction work The View from the Cheap Seats.