The Frood

Adams’ aban­doned ideas

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Books -

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

471 pages | £ 20 ( hard­back)/£ 9.99 ( ebook) Au­thor: Jem Roberts Pub­lisher: Pref­ace Pub­lish­ing

In­ter­viewed by sfx a

while back, The Frood au­thor Jem Roberts was happy to ad­mit his good for­tune. When em­bark­ing on this new biog­ra­phy of the “rooftrou­bling ” au­thor of The Hitch­hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, he didn’t know that a meet­ing with Dou­glas Adams’s daugh­ter, Polly, would re­sult in him be­ing given the keys to an Aladdin’s Cave of un­used scripts, hastily scrib­bled notes and aban­doned ideas at the Adams ar­chive in Cam­bridge.

Th­ese never- seen- be­fore gems were clearly al­ways go­ing to be the most head­line- grab­bing, mar­ketable as­pect of the book, but Roberts hoped that even if he’d never dis­cov­ered them, his fresh ap­proach to chron­i­cling Adams’s life would be rea­son enough to buy. He needn’t have wor­ried. It is. Roberts’s lively con­ver­sa­tional prose never tries to ape Adams’s own style, but tells the story of his life in an ac­ces­si­ble, com­pelling flow. He’s not judg­men­tal about the au­thor, but doesn’t white­wash him ei­ther, and places bi­o­graph­i­cal de­tails in his­tor­i­cal con­text.

Oc­ca­sion­ally he as­sumes the reader must have as much knowl­edge of late 20th cen­tury UK com­edy as he does, a few events are glossed over, and you might ex­pect a few more orig­i­nal quotes from fam­ily and col­leagues in a book which so boldly af­firms its of­fi­cial sta­tus. But for the most part, this is a thor­oughly ab­sorb­ing read. Dave Golder

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