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May - August 2006 Contents

Cover / In This Issue

Society News

Waismann’s Philosophy

On Russell’s Naturalism

More on Russell and Quine

Orwell on Russell’s Power

Review, On Russell and Education

Review, The Salmon of Doubt

Traveler’s Diary


douglas adams’ last book

Peter Stone

Review of Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time (Ballantine Books, 2003):

Douglas Adams, a radical atheist who passed away in 2001, is best known for creating the humorous science fiction masterpiece The Hitchhikerís Guide to the Galaxy, which has been incarnated in books, radio and television series, and recently film. Though Salmon of Doubt shamelessly capitalizes on publicity generated by Adamís death to publicize a film well worth avoiding, the book contains much of value. Besides a collection of Adamís published fiction and nonfiction, Salmon contains chapters of his last unfinished novel from which the collection gets its name. Much additional unpublished material was fished from Adamsí fleet of Macintosh computers in which lie some 2,579 pieces of writing. Monty Pythonís Terry Jones thoughtfully provides an introduction to the new edition as well as an introduction to his introduction (to the new edition). Naturalist Richard Dawkins gives a tribute in which he describes finishing an Adamsí novel only to flip to page one and read it all over again.

The Salmon is a fitting tribute to Adamsís views. Worth noting is an interview conducted by American Atheists in which Adams discusses his views in no uncertain terms. Some memorable lines in the book are these:

The agenda of lifeís important issues has moved from novelists to science writers, because they know more. (p. 160)

The whole business of religion is profoundly interesting. But it does mystify me that otherwise intelligent people take it seriously. (p. xxvii)

America is like a belligerent boy; Canada is like an intelligent woman. Australia is Jack Nicholson. (p. 45)

In England it is considered socially incorrect to know stuff or think about things. Itís worth bearing this in mind when visiting. (p. 69)