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Douglas Adams
on his new game Starship Titanic

mlitiagrl: its the man!

Sci-FiGal: He's here! he's here!!!!

* MaxQ hello mr adams *

Miles: Hi!

Passion1: All right, he's here

Sydney: Hiya Mr. A!

* InvisigothGypsy waves at DNA. *

Moderator: We're now moderated

Moderator: Douglas, welcome!

DouglasAdams: Hello, I'm here mow.

DouglasAdams: Or 'now' as we linguists say.

Moderator: Can you introduce yourself to the group and let us know what you've been up to lately?

DouglasAdams: Hello? Hello?

Moderator: (please send your questions for Douglas Adams as private messages to me)

Moderator: (/msg Moderator)

DouglasAdams: What I've been up to lately is software. Starship Titanic is what I've been doing for the last two years.

Moderator: <Miles> to <Moderator>: I've already bought the book and game versions of Starship Titanic. Are there any more versions or sequels planned for the future?

DouglasAdams: Well, let's see if anybody bites at doinga movie. I think there is real potential there, but we'll see. I'm not personally keen on doing a sequel as such. In fact, it says on the box 'Not a sequel to anything'. I feel I've done enough sequel stuff in my life!

Moderator: <rewprt> to <Moderator>: will there be any "big-name" voices used in Starship Titanic?

DouglasAdams: "Will there be?" you mean are there? Terry Jones is the voice of the parrot.

Moderator: <SanibelMan> to <Moderator>: What kind of computer does Mr. Adams use personally, Mac or PC?

Moderator: AND

Moderator: <Will> to <Moderator>: is there anymore info on a Macintosh version for Starship titanic?

DouglasAdams: Mac. Mac. Mac.

DouglasAdams: Actually, Mac, Mac Mac Mac Mac currently. There are five in use around my house. Six if you include my wife's. Actually seven - my little daughter has one.

Moderator: <Sydney> to <Moderator>: What do you think of the coincidence of the movie "Titanic" and your software?

DouglasAdams: There will be a Mac version because I need to have copy of the game I can actually play. We started out doing cross-platofrm development, but we had to retreat to within the boundaries of the feasible and just do one at a time.

Moderator: <Krytn2x4b> to <Moderator>: How do you think Terry Jones did on the book version?

DouglasAdams: I think he did a great job, but I was pretty jealous because I wanted to be able to do it myself. But I couldn't do it till after I'd finished work on the game and the publishers wanted it earlier than that for their marketting logic. I'm so glad I wrote HHGG and got it out there before any marketting logic became involved.

DouglasAdams: The coincidence of the movie... It's funny how many people assume that it must have been deliberate. Believe me, Paramount and Fox had no confidence the movie was going to be a hit a year before it was released which is why there was no Titanic game. A year ealier than that, when we started production on Starship Tit. we'd never evern heard of it. The first we heard was when stories were flying around about the upcoming 'disaster'. Computer games take longer than a month to make...

Moderator: <Eraser16> to <Moderator>: Can we expect anything special in your new game (I ain't bought it yet :( )

DouglasAdams: The thing that especially marks it out is the herculaean job we did on the conversation engine. You can converse with any of the robots. They have, between them, over ten thousand lines of dialog to respond with and a very sophisticated parser engine.

Moderator: <LSky2> to <Moderator>: Do you think that your game will sell better because of the movie "Titanic"?

DouglasAdams: It's hard to see that it will have much effect. There is absolutely no connection intended or perceivable between the two. They had Leonardo do Caprio and Kate Winlset, we had a bad temptered desk lamp and a parrot. I think you'd have to be really very very very stupid to confuse the two. Not that I have anything against selling to very very very stupid people, their money is as good as anybdoy else's, but they might have trouble with the game.

Moderator: <Passion1> to <Moderator>: Are there any guest appearances of any of your earlier characters in Starship Titanic?

DouglasAdams: No.

Moderator: <Chauffeur> to <Moderator>: Shall we get the obvious question out of the way. Dont hate me for asking but... whats the future of the hitchiker series

Moderator: (please send your questions for Douglas Adams as private messages to the Moderator)

Moderator: (/msg Moderator)

DouglasAdams: Hitchhiker... well, there's the movie, of course, which is my next big project. A Caravan/Disney production. I'm writing the SP, Jay Roach (of Austin Powers fame) is directing. Watch for it to arrive in summer 2000. I probably will do a sixth novel one day, but not yet.

Moderator: <fizzbin> to <Moderator>: Where did you come up with the ideas for the uniques names you created HHGG?

DouglasAdams: I just sit there and tell myself that I can't have another cup of coffee till I've thought of a good one. Used to be cigarettes, but I gave that up long ago anfd the quality of characters' name dropped a notch.

Moderator: <redfender> to <Moderator>: How closely did you work with John Carnell and Steve Leiahola for the DC Comics adaption of HHGG and did the Restaurant comic ever get produced?

DouglasAdams: Not at all.

DouglasAdams: I think the Restaurant one got done, I'm not sure.

Moderator: <Joe-Braun> to <Moderator>: I heard there was talks about HHG the movie any details? what about dirk gently the movie?

DouglasAdams: I just spoke about the movie of HHGG. There is also a strong possibility of a DG movie, but no details as yet.

Moderator: <wombat> to <Moderator>: are you planning any other books in the "dirk gently" series?

DouglasAdams: Before I get any questions about 42, I'd like as a special treat, for this to be the one day in my life so far in the last 20 years that I don't get asked about what I meant by 42 or if it has any special significance or if I know that it works in base 13. Stop it or I shall scream.

Moderator: <Rabotnik> to <Moderator>: Have you started casting for the movie yet? If not, what actors would you most of all like to see doing the parts of Ford Prefect, Arthur Dent, Zaphod, and the others?

DouglasAdams: No plans ofr another DG book at present. I kind of lost the feel for the character a bit.

DouglasAdams: Casting is at a very rudimentary stage at the moment, in fact the simplest answer is no. I know a little bit about who I'd like, but we'll get to that once the sp is done.

Moderator: <kwaichang> to <Moderator>: What is his educational background? Some of the topics he writes about are real math subjects.

DouglasAdams: Here's an interesting thing. A few years ago I sat and had tea with James Gleick (who wrote Chaos) in a New York hotel. We had a great long discussion/argument. Went on for about two hours. Then we both sat back exhausted and afdmitted to each other that we were both English Literature majors.

Moderator: <redfender> to <Moderator>: I recently read your wonderful work of non-fiction "Last Chance to See," and I was wondering if you were affiliated with any environmental organizations?

DouglasAdams: I give some support to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and Save the Rhino International. I'm curretnly in discussion with the BBC about doing a TV series of Last Chance. It's my own favourite thing of all the things I've ever done.

Moderator: <HakFlem> to <Moderator>: Any desire/plans to return to radio?

DouglasAdams: I sometimes wake up at 3 in morningand wish I'd never left radio. But the truth is that it's very hard to work in radio *and* eat.

Moderator: <Leon1> to <Moderator>: As a budding science-fiction author I was wondering how you got started, and if you have any tips?

DouglasAdams: I got started completely by accident. I wrote a comedy series for radio, a publisher heard it and suggested I turn it into a book, and there it was, I was suddenly a science fiction author. It was a good route. I recommend it.

Moderator: <pointman> to <Moderator>: What writers inspired you when you in your youth.

DouglasAdams: I've just doscivered something very interesting there. I have a 3 year old daughter, Polly. In the last year I've been reading Winnie the Pooh to her, and I'm astonished to realise how much effect it must have had on my own sense of how words fit together when I was akid. The rhythems are all the same.

DouglasAdams: Sorry, rhythms.

Moderator: <gelf> to <Moderator>: What is the next big project for The Digital Village?

DouglasAdams: A number of different things we might be gearing up to do, like a console game of HHGG to go with the movie. Some of the things we have got planned really depend a great deal on how Starship Titanic does out there. If it's a huge hit (as I trust you will all help it become) that will tell us one thing. If it's not then that will tell us another.

Moderator: <agrajag> to <Moderator>: Will you do a remake of beaurocracy? Great game! :)

DouglasAdams: Life's a bit short, you know.

Moderator: <Garry> to <Moderator>: There is a book listed on Amazon.com called Salmon of Doubt. Is this real, and will it be a Hitchhiker or a Dirk Gentley story?

DouglasAdams: The Salmon of Doubt does not exist, despite the fact that Amazon.com has been doing a roaring trade in it for months, and it'sgot some of the best reviews of my career. It was going to be a DG novel, but I just lost the plot and thought I needed to do a bit of mental crop rotation. Hence the CDROM

Moderator: <Lambie> to <Moderator>: does mr adams feel he is in competition with other authors, such as terry practchett, for the sci fi/surrealism market?

DouglasAdams: No. I just like to plow my own furrow, which is why I never read anything by anybody I ever get compared to.

Moderator: <Leovinus> to <Moderator>: What kinds of guitars do you play?

Moderator: (/msg Moderator with questions for Douglas Adams)

Moderator: (chatters using our java chat client can just click "moderator")

DouglasAdams: Mostly acoustic. I have a Martin D28, HD28, J28, OM28 and an 00. I have a taylor 12 string (A88? I think), a couple of Santa Cruz GC guitars, a Collins, an Ovation, also a Fender Start and a couple of Gib Les Pauls and a Jerry Jones and a Steinberger headless. One or two others.

Moderator: <redfender> to <Moderator>: What was it like playing guitar with Pink Floyd, and whether or not you know any 'insider information' behind the Pubilus legend?

DouglasAdams: What was it like? Well, I can see why they do it. I don'

DouglasAdams: don't know anything about the Publius thing. Whatever the truth it wasn't very interesting. The music was better.

Moderator: <Krytn2x4b> to <Moderator>: What is the favorite character that you've created?

DouglasAdams: Tough one. I really don't know. Slartibartfast I think.

Moderator: <bobshrimp> to <Moderator>: what was sent to earth in "Young Zaphod Plays it Safe"?

DouglasAdams: Margaret Thatcher and Ronal Reagan.

Moderator: <Oscar> to <Moderator>: what's happening with the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy web page...

DouglasAdams: Really.

DouglasAdams: Page? Page! One of TDV's plans is to create the actual thing in real life. But as of now we need a lot, lot, lot more resources than we can curretnly muster.

Moderator: <redfender> to <Moderator>: Speaking of the BBC, how would you describe your relationship with the management? Have you approved of the projects that they've made with you and of your work so far?

DouglasAdams: Well, the BBC isn't a thing, it's a bunch of people. Some I have good relationships with, others less good. Like on the radio I had a very good relationship with Geoffrey Perkins, and on TV I had a, well, less good relationship with Alan Bell.

Moderator: <SelenatheDeadSinger> to <Moderator>: what was your family's reaction to your big success with HHG?

DouglasAdams: The usual. It'll all end in tears.

Moderator: <Eraser16> to <Moderator>: Where do you get inspiration for your stories?

DouglasAdams: A mail order company in Indianapolis.

Moderator: <gelf> to <Moderator>: Who do you watch/read/listen to for entertainment?

DouglasAdams: I read a great deal of science - evolution theory, consciousness theory etc. Very few novels, though I admire Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine a great deal more than most 'literary' novelists. I tend not to get to the movies that much but then go and see 5 or 6 movies in one day.

DouglasAdams: TV I don't watch that much, except just recently when they started a comedy cable channel in the UK which I watch every night I go to bed. Cheers, Frasier, Roseanne, Ellen, and my own personal favourite, Grace under Fire. Brett Butler is the sexiest woman on TV, alongside Helen Hunt.

Moderator: <LSky2> to <Moderator>: What kind of game is Starship Titanic? (platform, RPG, first-person, etc.)

DouglasAdams: First person, gorgeous graphics environment with a very highly advanced conversation engine which is unique in the medium.

Moderator: <Gatewayy> to <Moderator>: What is the plot for the Starship titanic CD_ROM

DouglasAdams: Complicatred.

DouglasAdams: Complicated, I mean. Oh, and funny.

Moderator: <Krytn2x4b> to <Moderator>: Will there be a sequal to Starship Titanic if it does well?

DouglasAdams: I hope not.

Moderator: <arwen> to <Moderator>: How did it feel like writing someone else's autobiography (Graham Chapman's A liar's autobiography)?

DouglasAdams: About as strange ans anything else to do with Graham.

Moderator: <nightshade> to <Moderator>: Have become accustomed to all the fan-dom of your works, or do encounters like these still surprize you?

DouglasAdams: I guess I get accustomed to the slight schizophrenic thing of being a normal person with a normal home and normal friends who just happens to have a gaggle of frenzied fans. Hey ho. It's just normal.

Moderator: <dragon> to <Moderator>: what can you tell us about star ship that might help us with the game

DouglasAdams: Ask the bots. Talk to them.

Moderator: <daddysgirl> to <Moderator>: Which are you more fond of the television programs or the radio programs?

DouglasAdams: Radio by a very long way.

Moderator: <InvisigothGypsy> to <Moderator>: Please answer something once and for all... Did everyone *really* die at the end of Mostly Harmless?

DouglasAdams: What do you mean, "really"? This a novel for Chrissake, and a science fiction novel. In fact a comedy science fiction novel. I don't know where you get your reality from, obviously out of a different can than I do.

Moderator: <pointman> to <Moderator>: Did science fiction inspire you when you were young. And give some examples please.

Moderator: Only time for a few more questions, so please send your final questions now.

DouglasAdams: I guess that when I was at school I read quite a lot of SF. In fact I can remember starting when I was in the school sanitorium for a few days and found a stack of SF novels. The ones I liked were the obvious classics - Asimov, Clark etc. I'd also like to mention Robert Sheckley, whom many people later pointed out to me. He was doing really wonderfully good SF comedy before I was. And better, I'm afraid. He's brilliant.

Moderator: <ikcaj> to <Moderator>: how long did ST take from concept to store shelves?

DouglasAdams: Well, concept is hard to say. I first wrote something about Starship Titanic in Life the Universe and Everything in 1981 1982? But actual development of the game? Two years. Way too long!

Moderator: <TimeLord> to <Moderator>: did you enjoy working on Doctor Who?

DouglasAdams: Yes I did. I had been a fan when I was at school - it started in 1963 when I was 11 and loved it (In the UK it's a kid's program...) It was fun to do for a year, but that was quite enough.

Moderator: <Pooka> to <Moderator>: Any plans for a UK signing tour?

DouglasAdams: Probably not.

Moderator: <Oscar> to <Moderator>: when will you find an excuse to come out to asutralia (and visit far north queensland)?

DouglasAdams: I'll be in Sydney for just three or four days - sadly - from 11th - 14th of May. I'm really disappointed it had to be exactly then because I really love Australia and was hoping for a long visit, but it's a quickie I'm afraid. I love what I know of far north queensland (well, P Douglas is as far nother as I've been). I have a fantasy about living there one day, but my wife's family comes from Queensland so she won't hear of it.

Moderator: Thanks for taking the time out of your busy US tour to chat with us. Any final thoughts for the group?

DouglasAdams: Buy the game. OK?

Moderator: Ok.

Moderator: For more information on Starship Titanic, visit http://www.starshiptitanic.com/

Moderator: Fans of Douglas Adams should also check out http://www.tdv.com, his company website.

Moderator: Douglas will be signing books Monday in San Fransisco at the Virgin Megastore downtown from 7-9pm. And Thursday in Denver at the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Cherry Creek from 4-6pm. And next Saturday at CompUSA in Austin, Texas, from 11am-1pm.

Moderator: We're giving away autographed copies of the ST game at www.scifi.com/starshiptitanic.

Moderator: Transcirpts will be online shortly at www.scifi.com/transcripts/.

DouglasAdams: thanks everybody. Goodbye now.

Moderator: We'll now make the room unmoderated.

NoGood: bye !