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Thomas Jones: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, 5 May 2005

... said to be true to the spirit of its predecessors, however: it uses a script based on the one Douglas Adams was working on when he died in 2001; it stars an Englishman (Martin Freeman, perhaps still better known as Tim from The Office) as the picaresque hero, Arthur Dent; and it has the same theme tune. I say ‘it’s said’ because I haven’t ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Scrabble, 18 October 2001

... actually part of the computer – but that it is an intelligible sentence at all is absurd. Douglas Adams co-wrote The Meaning of Liff, a mock-dictionary in which place names are assigned to familiar phenomena which ought to have names but don’t – woking, for example, is ‘standing in the kitchen wondering what you came in here for’. It is ...

Amigos

Christopher Ricks, 2 August 1984

The Faber Book of Parodies 
edited by Simon Brett.
Faber, 383 pp., £8.95, May 1984, 0 571 13125 5
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Lilibet: An Account in Verse of the Early Years of the Queen until the Time of her Accession 
by Her Majesty.
Blond and Briggs, 95 pp., £6.95, May 1984, 0 85634 157 6
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... without the ‘very’. A poet called Lord Alfred Tennyson, not to be confused with Alfred Lord Douglas, briefly surfaces like the Kraken; the poem is here a Mort and there a Morte. Max Beerbohm’s parody of Henry James is readily and roughly transcribed: for ‘caught in her tone’, read ‘caught her tone’; for ‘feverish’, read ...

Out of the Gothic

Tom Shippey, 5 February 1987

Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction 
by Brian Aldiss and David Wingrove.
Gollancz, 511 pp., £15, October 1986, 0 575 03942 6
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Eon 
by Greg Bear.
Gollancz, 504 pp., £10.95, October 1986, 0 575 03861 6
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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Trilogy in Four Parts 
by Douglas Adams.
Heinemann, 590 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 434 00920 2
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Humpty Dumpty in Oakland 
by Philip K. Dick.
Gollancz, 199 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 575 03875 6
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The Watcher 
by Jane Palmer.
Women’s Press, 177 pp., £2.50, September 1986, 0 7043 4038 0
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I, Vampire 
by Jody Scott.
Women’s Press, 206 pp., £2.50, September 1986, 0 7043 4036 4
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... the author’s volition. By contrast with this classic central statement, two recent releases from Douglas Adams and the late Philip K. Dick take station as ‘outriders’. Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has the four familiar books in one volume. It looks, to be blunt, like a highly entertaining case ...

‘We shot a new pigeon’

Andrew Sugden, 23 August 2001

Extinct Birds 
by Errol Fuller.
Oxford, 398 pp., £29.50, May 2001, 0 19 850837 9
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... mating call (which can be heard at http://www.bigjude.com/Page8.html) was compared by the late Douglas Adams to the opening bars of a Pink Floyd album, is unique among parrots in having a mating system in which females choose between males gathered together on a common display ground. Now that only fifty wild individuals are left in scattered ...

Willesden Fast-Forward

Daniel Soar: Zadie Smith, 21 September 2000

White Teeth 
by Zadie Smith.
Hamish Hamilton, 462 pp., £12.99, January 2000, 9780241139974
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... up and down his pages because he writes about the fact of fantasy: he knows what he’s doing. Douglas Adams, on the other hand, in one of his later novels, has a pretty, charming, 2CV-driving female character undress, run a bath full of all the salts and soaps she can find, and climb in to soak after a long day fighting off vultures. You can almost ...

Not to Be Read without Shuddering

Adam Smyth: The Atheist’s Bible, 20 February 2014

The Atheist’s Bible: The Most Dangerous Book That Never Existed 
by Georges Minois, translated by Lys Ann Weiss.
Chicago, 249 pp., £21, October 2012, 978 0 226 53029 1
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... do not exist, often with bibliographical exactness: it continues in the fictions of Italo Calvino, Douglas Adams, Roberto Bolaño and Mark Z. Danielewski, among many others. The Polish science fiction writer and author of Solaris, Stanisław Lem, wrote long introductions to four imaginary books in Imaginary Magnitude (1973) and a whole volume of reviews ...

That sh—te Creech

James Buchan: The Scottish Enlightenment, 5 April 2007

The Enlightenment and the Book: Scottish Authors and Their Publishers in 18th-Century Britain, Ireland and America 
by Richard Sher.
Chicago, 815 pp., £25.50, February 2007, 978 0 226 75252 5
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... Boswell and Samuel Johnson visited Pembroke College, Oxford and called on the master, William Adams. According to Richard Sher, Boswell wrote in his journal how dismayed he had been to see in the master’s library a copy of the quarto edition of David Hume’s Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects of 1758, handsomely bound in morocco leather. Boswell ...
The Journalist and the Murderer 
by Janet Malcolm.
Bloomsbury, 163 pp., £12.99, January 1991, 0 7475 0759 7
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... equals money if it brings more readers/viewers/listeners to the subject’s work. Thus when Kirk Douglas or Richard Adams or Melvyn Bragg ‘agrees to see me’ shortly before their new book comes out, they are not doing it out of the kindness of their hearts but in hopes of a socking great plug. And even if I say their ...
Mason & Dixon 
by Thomas Pynchon.
Cape, 773 pp., £16.99, May 1997, 9780224050012
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... 20th-century non-linear-dynamical point of view. It’s a funny book, Time Bandits crossed with Douglas Adams. It’s an enormous, systematic study of order and disorder, which moves to the strange, slow rhythms of what historians call the longue durée. Although the bulk of its action seems to happen in North America, it is also about 18th-century ...

Something of Importance

Philip Williamson, 2 February 1989

The Coming of the First World War 
edited by R.J.W. Evans and Hartmut Pogge von Strandmann.
Oxford, 189 pp., £22.50, November 1988, 0 19 822899 6
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The Experience of World War One 
by J.M. Winter.
Macmillan, 256 pp., £17.95, November 1988, 0 333 44613 5
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Russia and the Allies 1917-1920. Vol II: The Road to Intervention, March-November 1918 
by Michael Kettle.
Routledge, 401 pp., £40, June 1988, 0 415 00371 7
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Douglas Haig 1861-1928 
by Gerald De Groot.
Unwin Hyman, 441 pp., £20, November 1988, 0 04 440192 2
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Nothing of Importance: A Record of Eight Months at the Front with a Welsh Battalion 
by Bernard Adams.
The Strong Oak Press/Tom Donovan Publishing, 324 pp., £11.95, October 1988, 9781871048018
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1914-1918: Voices and Images of the Great War 
by Lyn Macdonald.
Joseph, 346 pp., £15.95, November 1988, 0 7181 3188 6
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... one of the illusions of August 1914. Another was the generals’ belief in a war of movement. In Douglas Haig Gerald De Groot examines the British general who suffered the greatest military frustration, as the Western Front stubbornly remained an immobile trench war. Before 1914 Haig was one of the foremost believers in the continued battle-winning capacity ...

Dirty Money

Paul Foot, 17 December 1992

A Full Service Bank: How BCCI stole millions around the world 
by James Ring Adams and Douglas Frantz.
Simon and Schuster, 381 pp., £16.99, April 1992, 0 671 71133 4
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Bankrupt: The BCCI Fraud 
by Nick Kochan and Bob Whittington.
Gollancz, 234 pp., £4.99, November 1991, 0 575 05279 1
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The BCCI Affair: A Report to The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations 
by Senators John Kerry and Hank Brown.
US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 800 pp., September 1992
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Inquiry into the Supervision of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International 
by Lord Justice Bingham.
HMSO, 218 pp., £19.30, October 1992, 0 10 219893 4
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... Clifford was looking for a cause – especially if it had a few million dollars attached to it. Adams and Frantz describe in detail one deal in which Clifford and his partner Robert Altman, well-known in Washington social circles since he was married to Wonderwoman, bought and sold shares through BCCI and ended up with $9.8m in their pockets. Kerry reveals ...

Brattishness

Colin Burrow: Henry Howard, 11 November 1999

Henry Howard, the Poet Earl of Surrey: A Life 
by W.A. Sessions.
Oxford, 448 pp., £60, March 1999, 9780198186243
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... uncle Thomas discovered when he was imprisoned in 1536 after a rash engagement to Lady Margaret Douglas, who also had royal blood. Surrey was unimaginably grand, but was also not unjustly described by John Barlowe, Dean of Westbury as ‘the most foolish proud boy that is in England’. His actions often tread the dividing line between brattishness and ...

No Accident

Zachary Leader: Gore Vidal’s Golden Age, 21 June 2001

The Golden Age: A Novel 
by Gore Vidal.
Little, Brown, 467 pp., £17.99, October 2000, 0 316 85409 3
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... and Caroline’s half-brother, Blaise. The most important historical figures are Hay, Henry Adams, William Randolph Hearst, and Presidents McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, though there are cameo appearances from many others, including Adams’s brother Brooks, author of the imperialist manifesto Law of Civilisation ...

How wars begin

Jon Halliday, 23 May 1985

The Korean War: History and Tactics 
edited by David Rees.
Orbis, 128 pp., £7.99, September 1984, 0 85613 649 2
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Der Koreakrieg 1950 bis 1953: Das Scheitern der Amerikanischen Aggression gegen die KDVR 
by Olaf Groehler.
Militarverlag der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik, 120 pp., DM 6.50
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The Rainy Spell, and Other Korean Stories 
translated by Suh Ji-moon.
Onyx, 255 pp., £12.95, December 1984, 9780906383179
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The Complete Book of MASH 
by Suzy Kalter.
Columbus, 240 pp., £15.95, October 1984, 0 86287 080 1
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The Last Days of MASH 
by Alan Alda and Arlene Alda.
Columbus, 150 pp., £8.95, July 1984, 0 88101 008 1
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... Perhaps the biggest knock to the Western position comes from the head of the UN forces, Douglas MacArthur, hardly a man to suspect of going soft on a Communist conspiracy. At a time when Western governments were loudly proclaiming Soviet responsibility for the Korean War, MacArthur was saying in private that this was not the case. In a report dated ...

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