By Douglas Adams, edited by Kevin Jon Davies

A publishing event: hundreds of artefacts from Douglas Adams' archive, printed for the first time

Friday, 16 December 2022

Would you like a sneak peek at 42?

- a note from the team at Unbound -

Hi everyone,

Since our last update, Kevin and Unbound’s editorial and design teams have been working hard behind the scenes to make 42: The wildly improbable ideas of Douglas Adams a reality.

What began as thousands of photographs of archival material – shot on a phone as Kevin worked his way through the contents of the archive – has been whittled down, scanned and shaped into chapters covering everything from Douglas’s time at school and at Cambridge, to his personal correspondence, his collaborations, his innovative ideas about science and technology, and of course Dirk Gently, Doctor Who, The Hitchhiker’s Guide and beyond.

Douglas’s never-before-published images, letters, articles and journal entries are accompanied by insightful commentary from Kevin, and we can’t wait for you to see it all.

We’re delighted to share with you here a sneak peek at some of the pages, designed by Martin at Amazing15.

Pages from the chapter Friends and Music: the social side of Douglas Adams

Flying the World: Douglas’s thoughts on the Concorde

Chapter Two: Cambridge Life

A rejection letter for Doctor Who: ‘We do need greater evidence than this of real talent…’

We hope you enjoy poring over these. 

Just a reminder that the book will be with you in 2023 - we will confirm your current delivery address with you prior to sending them out - so don't worry if you're about to move house!

All the best,

The team at Unbound.

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Michail Drakomathioulakis
 Michail Drakomathioulakis says:

Last time I’ve ever supported an Unbound book. Out of the three books, only one has been published so far, and none on time. If this particular one was affected by the pandemic and the closed archives, others have no good excuses.
Incompetent liars!!!

posted 17th December 2022

Chris Randall
 Chris Randall says:

Thanks for the update, looking forward to getting my hands on it at some point next year!
Keep up the good work.

posted 19th December 2022

David Prosser
 David Prosser says:

Michail, I think you are being a bit unfair. Books are complex things that aren't born to a fixed schedule. When you support an author, you are part of that creative endeavor and have to accept that as Douglas Adams once said, "Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so"!

posted 19th December 2022

Michail Drakomathioulakis
 Michail Drakomathioulakis says:

David, I’ve asked refunds for both books. Publicly, Unbound told me to send them an email. In both cases they denied refunds. Thus, they’re liars.
The other project, they were saying is about to be published, only to postpone it with no good excuse. Thus, incompetent.

posted 19th December 2022

Carl Partridge
 Carl Partridge says:

Excellent and exciting in equal measure! I’m proud to be supporting this project. I appreciate it has taken some time to put it together but it’s inspiring to get a peek at these early pages. I look forward to reading the final version when it’s ready, and not before. Keep up the good work and ignore the comments from those who seem unaware of the process they’ve put their money towards…

posted 19th December 2022

Peter Wood
 Peter Wood says:

Thank you so much for sharing these pages. You may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to creating a book and getting it published! Keep up the great work.

posted 19th December 2022

Martin Vuijk
 Martin Vuijk says:

Thanks for the update, appreciated. And allthough it is hard to wait for so long, I'd rather see you take all the time you need to make it a real tribute to Douglas.

posted 19th December 2022

Chris Senior
 Chris Senior says:

It's coming along beautifully, thanks for the preview. Anticipation is all part of the enjoyment for me :)

posted 19th December 2022

Harry Payne
 Harry Payne says:

Michail appears to be unaware of Douglas Adams' take on deadlines. Frankly, delivering this book on time could be construed as an insult to his memory. As for me, I'm looking forward to it when it happens.

posted 19th December 2022

Katrin Bosse
 Katrin Bosse says:

In an age when instant gratification is almost always just one mouse click away it almost feels like a privilege to have to wait for something this good for such a long time.

Living in a Western society, we are increasingly unfamiliar with the concept of waiting. Only a century ago, wives and families had to wait weeks or even months for that one important letter to arrive from the war zone. How ever did they manage the constant, agonising dread and anticipation! Today, the digital age having trained us as the proverbial Pavlovian dogs, we feel we are owed the immediate satisfaction of nearly each of our wishes and demands. Only the future will show what damage that has done.

I admit, when Unbound announced the first rescheduling, I was cross with them. But the longer the wait, the better I feel having stuck with the project. I consider having to wait as a test of character, a test I am not going to fail.

posted 19th December 2022

Peter Fellows-McCully
 Peter Fellows-McCully says:

Update appreciated. Unbound has been a source of unusual books that I never would have come across. What's even better is that when a book arrives, it's a brilliant surprise - sometimes I've forgotten that I've supported one. Keep up the good work.

posted 19th December 2022

Robin James
 Robin James says:

Great to see the teaser pages, thank you! I'll be happy to receive my copy when it's ready - and then I'll be ready to invest in further Unbound projects. Delighted that the book will include photos and notes I haven't seen before. Good job, Kevin!

posted 19th December 2022

Ryan Harkin
 Ryan Harkin says:

Great to see an update.

If you want a proof reader, I'd be happy to have "clapped the phones ot my head" while proofing ;-)

posted 19th December 2022

Robin Rance
 Robin Rance says:

Delighted to see this update.
As others have said, testament to the author to be able to make sense of all Douglas' notes and disorganized chaos, battle through Covid and frustrating delays and ensure it meets Douglas' definition of a deadline.
And I'm glad an update will confirm change of address, I'm thinking of moving Galaxy.

posted 19th December 2022

Julie Gibson
 Julie Gibson says:

"In 2023"? That's a loose window. I appreciate that a book requires flexible time frames, but this was ordered well ahead as a gift for my husband's 50th birthday. That whooshed by in August, just like a deadline. I wish my job was as lax as this. I've supported other authors and been delighted, despite some delays, but this is beyond reasonable.

posted 19th December 2022

Stuart Walker
 Stuart Walker says:

Haha! Michail you amuse me!! What's happening with 42 is EXACTLY what Douglas would have wanted!! He was slapdash, constantly rewriting and missed deadline after deadline (John Lloyd bangs on about this in documentaries.)

We're talking about one of the most influencial writers of the 20th Century. A literary giant. Personally, I can wait.

I love that 42 is also turning into its own reciproversexcluson...

posted 19th December 2022

Ian Desborough
 Ian Desborough says:

I had actually forgotten I had ordered this so the update was a pleasant surprise and I agree - the whoosing sound of deadlines being missed is appropriate here

posted 19th December 2022

Ben Poole
 Ben Poole says:

A few typos in the new pages. Do you need proof-readers? :-)

posted 19th December 2022

Ben Poole
 Ben Poole says:

Public service reminder: this is a crowd-funding platform upon which you voluntarily support a project. It is not a bookshop where you place an order.

posted 19th December 2022

John Costello
 John Costello says:

Good to see an update! When do you think that you'll be finished? Also, did Douglas misspell the word "knocked," or did you?

posted 19th December 2022

Alicia Jean Demetropolis
 Alicia Jean Demetropolis says:

Ask anyone who's ever written a book, or any book editor about the process, and they will tell you it can take many long years. Folks, if you're upset at how long it's taken for this massive undertaking to happen -- even though you understand that Kevin has been denied access to his research materials for much of these past two years -- then the problem lies within your own impatience and unrealistic expectations. Also, as many others have pointed out, you must not know very much about Douglas Adams, either. I doubt you'll be able to fully appreciate this book once it's in your hands...which is pretty sad. Thank you to Unbound for bringing me some of the most surprising and unique treasures on my shelves!

posted 19th December 2022

Bryn Redman
 Bryn Redman says:

Great to see some progress, I'm really looking forward to getting this book next year. A small plea - can you speak to the designer and ask him not to justify the two-column text, it makes the word spacing uneven and difficult to read.

posted 19th December 2022

Steve Dalby
 Steve Dalby says:

“The story so far:
In the beginning, the Universe was created.
This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.”
― Douglas Adams,

Thank you for bringing a smile to my face this morning with anticipation I await the delivery without anger but a little frustration. I also assume this is a pre-proof version of the pages... so I can manage that blockage.

Keep up the awesome work, this is going to be great.

posted 22nd December 2022

Michail Drakomathioulakis
 Michail Drakomathioulakis says:

Stuart, you don’t amuse me. Period.

Alicia, please, don’t make assumptions on what others know or don’t. I’ve edited books myself, and I’ve contributed to translations of books, so I know what it takes.

Regarding Douglas Adams, I’m familiar with all his work translated into Greek, and I have some of these rare editions in my library since my adolescence years. Supporting this project was a way for me to learn more on that legend.

However, Unbound projects have taken way longer that expected. And, if this one had good excuses, as I’ve already pointed out, others don’t.

posted 22nd December 2022

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