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Don't Panic: Douglas Adams & The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Hardcover – May 1 2005

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Titan Books; 3rd New edition of Revised edition edition (May 1 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840237422
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840237429
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 2.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #967,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


SFX Magazine Review 2004: "Don't Panic works as a lean and focused Adam's biography as well as a complete fanboy's trawl through the history of the franchise."

About the Author

Neil Gaiman is a New York Times best-selling author and one of the most critically acclaimed living comics writers. There have been two recent movie adaptations of his work, Stardust and Coraline. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Years ago, while browsing in a book shop, desperate for something to read during lunch, I stumbled across this little book. I was a big fan of Adams but had never heard of Gaiman but decided to pick it up and give it a chance. It was well worth it as it was a great read.
Some time later, I spotted a new hardback on the shelves at the same book shop. I knew the name Pratchett and had to think for a while as where I knew the name Gaiman from and then recalled that he had written that little book called Don't Panic, so I picked it up. Haven't looked back since.
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Format: Hardcover
Don't Panic is sort of a biography of Douglas Adams. But it concentrates almost exclusively on The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and the events and circumstances in Adams's life that contributed to the creation and development of the Hitchhiker-phenomenon. It was originally published back in 1988, then revised in 1993, and now revised again, after the untimely death of Adams.
Don't Panic is written in the same style as the Hitchhiker novels, and is at times quite amusing. There are no less than 31 short chapters (the first one is chapter 0) in the book, dealing with various distinct subjects. This is followed by five appendixes. There are a lot of direct quotations from various people surrounding Adams, and from Adams himself, but there is never any information given about when or where these people said these things, which is a major drawback.
There is a lot of trivia here, but a lack of depth, and the book does seem to repeat certain myths (for example, the well-known one that Adams first got the idea for Hitchhiker while lying drunk in a field in Innsbruck). Still, if you're a fan of Adams, this is essential reading.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars 19 reviews
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great tribute to a great man Feb. 11 2005
By isala - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is part a biography of Douglas Adams, and part a description of how the different versions of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy came to be. Douglas Adams was a very interesting and intelligent man whose life was cut tragically short. The story of how his most famous work was created is almost as funny and capticating as the Hitchiker's Guide itself. We get some examples of his early work, which can be incredibly funny ("How many kamikaze missions have you flown?" "Fourteen Sir!" "Shouldn't it be just one?"). He was involved with the Monty Python group, and wrote some material for them.

I think the book should be essential not only for Hitchhiker's buffs but also for wannabes in any creative profession.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny and Informative Nov. 10 2004
By K. Lakas - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Neil Gaiman does an excellent job of capturing the style and mood of Douglas Adams, and reveals the man behind the books revered by many. This book is enjoyable, and interesting, and a definite read for anyone who loves the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The only sad part is that it's a bit short - like Adams' life. So that's a bit depressing. Otherwise, a good read!
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's the bonus disc to the H2G2 June 30 2005
By Rotten Arsenal - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is a neat little book. I found the 1st edition years ago by chance in my university bookstore and bought it. When this revised edition (with some new material) was released, I snapped that up as well and re-read it.

Basically, think of this as the book equivalent to a "Bonus Features" DVD. It's jam packed with odd little stories and insights into the making of the Hitchhiker's universe (all media: radio, records, books, & TV). Die-Hard Adams fans will enjoy this.

And the fact that this happens to be compiled by Neil Gaiman, one of my other favorite writers, is just an added bonus.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Affectionately true to Douglas Adams' spirit but mostly about the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and its various iterations Nov. 10 2013
By Phred - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Neil Gaiman's Don't Panic succeeds in so far as the author manages to capture the humor of the late Douglas Adams. It lacks depth as a biography but more than blankets the various aspects and versions of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (H2 G2 ) as well as the five book trilogy. It is correctly described in one of the other reviews as the hyperextended bonus feature that was too long to include on any of the CDs or DVD versions of the radio broadcasts, televisions shows and unfortunately the Disney movie.

If you have come looking for this book and have read this far my assumption is you are a Douglas Adams fan. H2 G2, Dirk Gently or possibly Dr. Who fans constitute the target readership for this book. Granted Douglas Adams had a very slight association with the Monty Python's crew; more of common friendships than creative participation but none of this qualifies Don't Panic for a general audience.

That portion of the book that is about Douglas Adams is clearly intended as a friends and family type biography. That is, one that is more affectionate than analytical or critical. A very large portion of the discussion of Adams the writer centers around his inability to meet any deadlines which is nothing new for people who know about Adams's history. Daiman does do a decent job of explaining Adamns and missed deadlines by providing the additional context of Adams; too often self-inflicted complex life.

Gaiman succeeds as an apologist for Douglas Adams and is someone who can speak in a voice very much like Douglas Adams. I have read as much of Adams published works as are available in America. I own and enjoy the original radio series and the original television series of H2 G2. So I was interested to get to read about the intimate background on most of what occurred in the making of -- to include electronic games and live performances.

My conclusion is that this is a fan's book. There may be some other audiences such as those who collect biographies of writers or who wish to know more about the creative / production process in any of several media. The ironic /humorous tone makes for easy reading but one can get somewhat bogged down in details.
5.0 out of 5 stars We live and learn. At any rate, we live. Nov. 26 2014
By Chris Ziesler - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you have ever stood in a field staring up at the myriad stars in the night sky and wondering just how it came to be that the humanoid life-form known as Douglas Adams managed to dream up such infinitely improbable adventures, or if you have ever stood in front of a vending machine that has just provided you with a plastic cup filled with a liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea, then in all likelihood you will enjoy this book.

Neil Gaiman has taken time off writing his own fantastic adventures to share with us his research into the life and times of Douglas Adams. I for one am very glad that he did as the story he so masterfully unfolds is both sympathetic and enlightening. Gaiman manages to shed not a little light on Adams' creative process and life, from the rigors and panics of his early days of script writing for Doctor Who then the Hitchhiker's radio series all the way through to the very end of his career. Gaiman does a marvelous job of not only telling the tale but also revealing something of the man who said, 'I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.'

Adams was a unique writer and a comic creator of genius. He died all too young, but this book is a great tribute to a life fully-lived and to a very human humanoid.