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New Douglas Adams Bio to Include Unseen 'Hitchhiker's Guide' Material

Biographer Jem Roberts found a trove of unpublished work in Adams' Cambridge archives

Douglas Adams
Dan Callister/Online USA
May 29, 2014 11:35 AM ET

A new excerpt from a deserted draft of Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy novel, along with a score of previously unseen material, will be published in an upcoming biography of the author, The Guardian reports.

Biographer Jem Roberts' book The Frood will include discarded parts from the first Hitchhiker's book (which was turned into a movie in 2005), as well as sections from the "lost" draft of Life, The Universe and Everything, which Roberts says has "whole chapters where the characters are doing different things — different ideas he never got round to using, [such as] chapters written from Arthur Dent's point of view." Roberts found the pages amongst a staggering amount of unpublished work stored in Adams' archives at St. John's College in Cambridge.

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While a collection of story fragments and part of an unfinished novel were published posthumously as The Salmon of Doubt in 2002 (Adams died the previous year), those were culled from the author's hard drives. "Nobody had ever thought about a paper trail though," Roberts said. "Douglas Adams was the king of new technology, and people probably thought he'd had a huge bonfire of all his papers. But there are boxes and boxes of notebooks, lots of typescript stuff, paper printed from the computer... it was just an enormous job."

The well of Adams' work is deep, and The Frood will also feature an alternative original pitch for Hitchhiker's Guide, a draft for the second television series and unused material boasting characteristically absurd, grandiose titles like "Baggy the Runch" and "The Assumption of Saint Zalabad."

Roberts did stress, however, that "none of this stuff is finished. It's very important to contextualize this material properly... and I understand people thinking that this is raw material and he didn't want it to be seen. I spend part of the book asking what Douglas would have wanted … but there are so many great Douglas Adams jokes which have been completely air-sealed for the last 20 years. [And] I think it's wonderful that we finally get to read some of this stuff."

The Frood is set to be published this fall. While there have been other biographies of Adams, The Frood is the first authorized by the author's estate and family.

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