You know how you know I'm a nerd? I get emotional about Douglas Adams.The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was the first—like the first non-Marvel comic, non-Choose Your Own Adventure—recreational reading that I ever did (big shouts to that kid who recommended it to me at the time). (Shouts also to Google, who are paying tribute to him today with their Doodle.) The saga of Arthur Dent, a hapless human adrift in a hostile, chaotic universe, resonated mightily with my pre-teen alienation. I thought So Long and Thanks For All the Fish was a beautiful love story. His detective hero Dirk Gently and his holistic approach to finding answers helped me understand the fundamental interconnectedness of all things.
Adams' work was also interconnected with his love of music—he was an an avid guitarist with a collection of 30+ left-handed writer's block-busters. He claimed to have written The Restaraunt at the End of the Universe while listening to Paul Simon's One Trick Pony on repeat. During a love scene in So Long he said this about Dire Straits' "Tunnel of Love":
Mark Knopfler has an extraordinary ability to make a Schecter Custom Stratocaster hoot and sing like angels on a Saturday night, exhausted from being good all week and needing a stiff beer.
(Man, this is nerdy, but I love this guy.) He partied with the dudes from Pink Floyd (Adams named their 1994 album The Division Bell) and Procul Harum. Pink Floyd even invited him to play with them on the event of his 42nd birthday—Guide fans will recognize the considerable significance of that number. David Gilmour and Gary Brooker both played at a "virtual 60th birthday" for Adams last year, doing Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" and Harum's "Whiter Shade of Pale." Plenty of other musicians of paid tribute to Adams as well, such as Radiohead, whose "Paranoid Android" was inspired by the morose Marvin.
Now, I've never dedicated an Eagles song to anybody, and for good reason, but this one is apropos. The Don Henley-less, mystical banjo epic "Journey of the Sorcerer" from 1975's One Of These Nights was, in some form or another, the theme song to the Hitchhiker's Guide's radio, TV, and (sad, sad) movie incarnations. So I send this one to my favorite tall and deceased British sci-fi comic genius. May your packet of biscuits be everlasting.