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A deadline bandits last hurrahThe Salmon of DoubtDouglas AdamsMacmillan 1699 pp299When I was in publishing in the 1980s hardly a season went by without some wonderful piece of gossip about the brilliant new book Douglas Adams was not writing These tales were matched by scarcely credible reports of the increasingly desperate non-literary techniques employed by his then editor Sonny Mehta somehow to liberate this unwritten chef-doeuvre and place it before the massive and avid audience engendered by Adamss 1979 cult bestseller The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and its successors The Restaurant at the End of the Universe 1980 and Life the Universe and Everything 1982I love deadlines the recalcitrant author used to say I love the whooshing noise they make as they go bySo theres an irony which Adams would have enjoyed hugely at the almost indecent speed at which exactly a year after his untimely death at the age of 49 his widow literary agent and some of his closest friends have assembled this posthumous volume from the recesses of the CD-ROM on which Adams had accumulated his unpublished writings letters speeches introductions faxes penses For a man whose reputation went up with every book he didnt write Adams was privately quite productive leaving no shortage for his fansLike Caesars Gaul this valedictory volume is divided into three parts The first Life is a collage of ephemeral writings indicative of their authors range of interests the Beatles popular science PG Wodehouse and the letter YThe second Universe reflects Adamss fascination with technology I unashamedly love playing with gadgets computer science and the little dongly things that run on 120 volts AC More important possibly to the mature Adams are the pages devoted to his passionate advocacy on behalf of endangered speciesFinally there are various items of fiction Everything - some stories The Private Life of Genghis Khan and 10 chapters of the long undelivered novel provisionally entitled The Salmon of Doubt on which
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