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Wish You Were Here
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NICK WEBB was a publisher for nearly thirty years before, perversely, turning to writing. He commissioned The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy while he was an editor at Pan Books, and remained good friends with Douglas Adams until the end of the author's life. He lives in Hackney. From the Hardcover edition.

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In 2003 Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was voted "one of Britain's 21 best loved novels" by the British public as part of the BBC's "The Big Read" campaign. Adams, creator of the radio series, the novel, and its sequels, is the subject of this official biography. Webb, the editor who commissioned the original Hitchhiker novel and a friend of Adams, studies the man, his work, and his influence, presenting him as "a brilliant, engaging, and complex man." He provides countless details about almost every aspect of Adams's childhood, schooling, and early career as scriptwriter and producer at the BBC, as well as the creation of each of the Hitchhiker sequels and his other works. His interviews with family members, friends, and colleagues reveal Adams's generosity, overarching curiosity, and constant need for reassurance. The agony Adams endured during the writing process is also well documented. Webb's informal, intimate writing style works well, and his insights are rendered with a great deal of affection. Although the index contains numerous errors, this is still recommended for public and academic libraries.-Kathryn R. Bartelt, Univ. of Evansville Libs., IN Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Webb was the editor at Britain's Pan Books who bought the book rights to Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in 1978, back when it was a hit radio show on the BBC. While Webb didn't have much to do with Adams professionally after that, the two remained friendly until Adams's death, at age 49, in 2001, and that closeness pervades this authorized biography and its conversational tone. That doesn't mean the story is sugarcoated; Adams is occasionally chided for his emotional thickness, and Webb deals frankly with the consequences of his chronic slowness as a writer (one Hitchhiker novel was produced only when his editor, Sonny Mehta, booked a hotel room and sat with him as he turned out the pages). Another section addresses the thorny issue of who contributed what to the zany plot line of the radio series and how Adams's collaborator, John Lloyd, was nudged out of the book deal. For the most part, however, Webb genially celebrates Adams's comic talent and zest for life, aiming his account squarely at the large Hitchhiker fan base with occasional overtures to readers who don't necessarily know every nuance of the trilogy. It might be overstating matters to suggest that "before Douglas nobody had been cosmically funny," but Webb's tribute makes it easy to see why those who knew Adams admired him so greatly. Agent, Ed Victor Agency. (On sale Mar. 29) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Praise for Wish You Were Here "Webb's tale brims with affection and humour; every page is a delight." -The Daily Mail "It's perhaps the ultimate credit to Webb that he can be just as funny as Adams in his writing. With many of the same veins of humour that Adams had running throughout this biography, it's as if the great hitchhiker has never really left." -The Leeds Guide From the Hardcover edition.

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