Douglas Adams

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Douglas Adams (11 March 1952 – 11 May 2001) was an English author, screenwriter, essayist, humorist, satirist and dramatist. Adams is best known as the author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a work of science fiction comedy which originated in 1978 as a BBC radio comedy and developed into a "trilogy" of five books that sold more than 15 million copies in his lifetime and generated several adaptations. These stories chronicle the adventures of one Arthur Dent, thought to be the last survivor of the Earth's destruction by a Vogon constructor that was making way for a hyperspace bypass - he is rescued by Ford Prefect, a humanoid alien writer for the in-universe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and the pair travel around the galaxy.

In NetHack, there are a few scattered references to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, with the most primary one being the towel, a multipurpose tool. While not as ridiculously useful as in The Hitchhiker's Guide, it still has various relevant applications: among them are blinding yourself, wiping glop or grease off your person, removing engravings on the floor, and wetting the towel to whip at monsters. The Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal and the microscopic space fleet are two hallucinatory monsters that originated in The Hitchhiker's Guide as well.

Additionally, the message given for thrones disappearing originates from an aside in The Hitchhiker's Guide: the in-universe Guide's entry for the Babel Fish suggests that Man used it to convince God that He doesn't exist; God "promptly vanishes in a puff of logic." Man would then go on to prove that black and white are the same, and is promptly killed at the next zebra crossing.

Influence on variants

In 1994, Sebastian Klein released NetHack: The Next Generation, a variant of NetHack 3.1.3 that draws much more heavily from the works of Douglas Adams and adapts them to the Whole Sort of General Mish Mash that is the variant's geek culture influence. Various monsters derived from or inspired by his works are added to the game, with the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal and microscopic space fleet being "upgraded" to actual monsters in the process.

NetHack: The Next Generation also includes a special tribute level dedicated to Douglas Adams and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as a whole; Douglas Adams himself appears as a monster that can be encountered here, and the level is populated with various Adams-inspired monsters as well.

SlashTHEM, a variant based on SLASH'EM and another SLASH'EM fork called Slash'EM Extended, incorporates all of the aforementioned monsters, levels and features from NetHack: The Next Generation.

List of Douglas Adams-inspired features in variants

The following is a non-exhaustive list of features in NetHack variants related to the works of Douglas Adams: