Life & Style

Douglas Adams: Life, the Universe and Everything

Rebels, idealists and visionaries now once again have a distinct advantage. For they know no rules. So when it comes to the question of all questions, the question of life, the universe and all the rest, they approach the matter much more unerringly than the rest. Like Douglas Adams. Today we commemorate the British writer.

  • Text
    Michael Köckritz
  • Illustrations
    Helge Jepsen

The question of life, the universe and everything? It is best met with a lot of curiosity, a bit of exuberance and the unconditional joy of surreal changes of perspective. At least that's what Douglas Adams did in the case of his book series "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" - and thus wrote literary history. Today, the British author would have turned 70. To mark the occasion, we are publishing an abridged classification of his iconic science fiction work. The unabridged and original German-speaking text in its original version appeared in ramp #16.

"Life, the Universe and Everything" is the title of a book, the third volume of a wonderful, gleefully sarcastically mad four-volume science fiction trilogy in five parts, written by a British writer called Douglas Adams, a great man whose stories not only thrive on sparkling intellect and philosophical insight, but are also always told with the heart of a great child.

Adams' novels are usually set in absurd, alien worlds, but amazingly nothing here is different from the everyday madness in our real world.

The various aspects of life are parodied, gleefully distorted into the grotesque and absurd, and viewed from an unusual angle. Supposedly sensible motives and supposedly secure views implode in a highly entertaining chain reaction. I remember reading once that Adam's books carry this childlike madness with them, including all the joys and dangers, and above all "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", the legendary first volume, is full to the brim of this unique energy, daft, weird, subversive, prickly and snotty, and yet these books are also witty, iconoclastic, ungodly, unsparing, gentle, funny and surreal, but above all they always dare to be gloriously silly. Silly through and through and wildly silly!

Adam's novels are usually set in absurd, alien worlds, but amazingly nothing here differs from the everyday madness in our real world. Supposedly sensible motives and supposedly secure views implode in a highly entertaining chain reaction.

That's right. That's exactly how it is. And that's exactly why Adam's books and stories are simply cool. Cool in the best sense. Coolness as high-spirited, silly warm-hearted realism. It's not exactly on the usual Steve-McQueen-I-am-the-King-of-Cool-and-pull-my-thing-through-coolness line, but it's at least as much fun and actually much more stimulating. After just two or three pages, you're already pretty much on your way to enjoyment.

The idea for "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" came to Adams, who died unexpectedly in 2001 while working out, when he was lying drunk on a field looking at the stars after a visit to a pub in Innsbruck. He himself described this event thus: "The idea for the title first cropped up while I was lying drunk in a field in Innsbruck, Austria, in 1971. Not particularly drunk, just the sort of drunk you get when you have a couple of stiff Gössers after not having eaten for two days straight."

The plot of Life, the Universe and All the Rest follows on directly from the second part of The Hitchhiker's Guide, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Arthur Dent, the hero of the series, is saddened to learn that a galactic construction crew has blown up the Earth. In reality, the world was in fact a gigantic supercomputer, constructed millions of years ago to solve an important problem, namely the question of life, the universe and all the rest. This supercomputer experiment was nearing completion when the Vogons unceremoniously and somewhat bad-temperedly pulverised the Earth because it was in the way of a planned hyperspace bypass. Arthur Dent, meanwhile, is relaxing in the restaurant at the end of the universe, where they meet regularly to celebrate the demise of the cosmos appropriately in a relaxed atmosphere. All right?

A quick list of a few more incredibly important things you should know if you're hitchhiking through the galaxy: A towel is about the most useful thing you can carry with you on such journeys, because you need it for sunbathing and keeping warm. It also inspires respect: "The non-adherent will think that someone who has made his way across the galaxy against all odds and still carries his towel is not to be trifled with. "

That's why every year on 25 May, Douglas Adams fans dutifully take out their towels and carry them around in memory of their favourite author. Alternatively, the towels can be hung in unusual places, photographed and published in the vastness of the internet.

And then, of course, there is the "Heart of Gold", the first spaceship in the universe powered by the infinite improbability drive. By the way, this largest supercomputer in existence was called "Deep Thought " and the absolutely correct answer to the question of all questions was, after a computing time of 7.5 million years, briefly and succinctly "42", which didn't really get anyone anywhere, because they had stupidly forgotten what the question had actually been. So much for the constant search for the meaning of life.

Michael Köckritz

Michael Köckritz

Editor in Chief
As a journalist, author, artist and media maker, Michael Köckritz succeeds time and again in creating both attention-grabbing and sustainably stimulating impulses in the context of contemporary and future topics as well as lifestyle and luxury worlds. As publisher and editor-in-chief, he has realised a whole series of book and lifestyle magazine formats that have regularly won numerous national and international awards over the years. The car culture magazine ramp, the men's lifestyle magazine rampstyle and the design magazine ramp.design are published internationally and are considered style-setting.
ramp #16 DLDUUDGR* (Das Leben, das Universum und der ganze Rest)

ramp #16 DLDUUDGR* (Das Leben, das Universum und der ganze Rest)

Rebellen, Idealisten, Visionäre und Querdenker, diejenigen, die sich in kein Schema pressen lassen und die Dinge gerne anders sehen, haben jetzt mal wieder einen deutlichen Vorteil. Sie kennen keine Regeln und sie haben keinen Respekt vor dem Status Quo.

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