Shortly before his untimely death (just eight days before, in fact), Douglas Adams appeared in a tv interview series called Big Thinkers, and I thought I’d post it here for all you Adams fans.
Actually, you could call me an Adams fan, even though I’ve never read any of his work. It’s always possible I will someday, but humor isn’t really my favorite type of writing. I’m the same way with other media too; it’s a very rare thing for me to watch comedy tv or movies. No, I usually prefer the more serious stuff. Still, I’ve heard enough bits and pieces and snippets of Adams’ writings and opinions to know he was a really sharp, brilliant guy, and I admire him a lot. For one thing, he shared my interest in evolutionary biology, and was good friends with Richard Dawkins (one of my favorite non-fiction writers). He was an outspoken atheist (his “sentient puddle” analogy refuting the fine-tuning argument was a beautiful piece of work). And he was devoted to various environmental and endangered species causes (such as The Great Ape Project and Save the Rhino, and his book and radio project Last Chance To See).
In this video he touches on some of those subjects, as well as technology issues and, of course, his books and science fiction in general, on which topic he says:
“As a science fiction writer I’ve always been terribly terribly interested in seeing how very familiar things look from unfamiliar points of view. How do you change your point of view, how do you change your perspective, and suddenly see the truth of something?”
Very interesting, very unique individual, and it’s unfortunate for us that he’s no longer with us. Anyway, on to the video:
Also, for anyone who may be interested, here’s a video of a discussion on evolution moderated by Adams, with the participants being Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Steven Pinker, and Jared Diamond (those first three are three of my favorite people on the planet):