A Conversation for Douglas Adams - His Life and Worlds

Douglas Adams and Michael Moorcock: a shared character

Post 1

AgProv2

I was tidying up my (well, our) Guide entry on the very English fantasy and science-fiction writer Michael Moorcock (A16676517) when a strange correspondence between Moorcock and Adams registered on me.

Simply put, nine years before the genesis of the h2g2 concept, Michael Moorcock introduces a minor character who later appears at the launching ceremony of the "Heart of Gold"

This is how I tried to make sense of it in the Moorcock discussion:-

I'm also really surprised that nobody's yet picked up on the temporal paradox I highlighted in footnote 7...

In "The Singing Citadel", Michael Moorcock, sometime about 1970, creates a Queen of Chaos called Eequoor, who dwells in a realm where no other colours are permissible apart from subtle shades and variations of the colour blue.

It is clear from the context that Eequoor is what Douglas Adams, nearly ten years later, chose to call a Hoolovoo: a super-intelligent shade of the colour blue, who acheive physical stability only by being refracted into a free-standing prism. One such Hoolovoo was in fact a member of the creative team responsible for the starship Heart of Gold (we learn this in the opening chapters of the book "The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy", when Zaphod chooses to renounce his duties as President of the galaxy by stealing the ship he is meant to be launching)

Now I don't for one moment think Douglas Adams consciously stole the idea from Moorcock. The Hoolovoo is such a minor throwaway character in h2g2, for one thing: he, she, or it appears once in the trilogy and that's it, never to be seen again. Adams was far too good and far too original a writer for that - witness the debate about the digestive biscuits story (DNA and another world-famous author both wrote much the same story, independently of each other, concerning a railway waiting room and an inadvertently shared pack of biscuits). It does become clear that if any plagiarising was going on, it wasn't being done by Douglas Adams.

Adams was script editor on Dr Who for a long time; to hold down a job like this presupposes that he was very literate and well-read accross the whole spectrum of science fiction. You can also pick up occassional little "blips" in the h2g2 books that read as if they are very sideways tributes to other SF authors - or in the case of Isaac Asimov, remarks which are so pointed as to have a razor edge!

I don't think it would be outrageous or disrespectful to wonder about Adams having at some time in his youth read the whole shelf-ful of Michael Moorcock novels. The idea of a "super-intelligent shade of the colour blue" might well have arisen spontaneously and unconsciously from a seed planted many years before...

or perhaps Hoolovoos genuinely exist and are paving the way, through fiction designed to be read by intelligent people, for First Contact...


Douglas Adams and Michael Moorcock: a shared character

Post 2

Groinhammer

I couldn't find a reply to this nonsense, so please forgive me if this has been pointed out to AgProv before -

These are the two relevant sentances

"In "The Singing Citadel", Michael Moorcock, sometime about 1970, creates a Queen of Chaos called Eequoor, who dwells in a realm where no other colours are permissible apart from subtle shades and variations of the colour blue."

"It is clear from the context that Eequoor is what Douglas Adams, nearly ten years later, chose to call a Hoolovoo: a super-intelligent shade of the colour blue, who acheive physical stability only by being refracted into a free-standing prism."

So the only connection is "...of the colour blue" as the rest of your supposition is, for wont of a better word, Belgium.
As far as I can tell Eequoor just has a rather dull colour fixation.


Douglas Adams and Michael Moorcock: a shared character

Post 3

AgProv2

Well, that's me told, then...


...although I can't perceive any way a being dwelling, for preference, in an all-blue chaos continuum, could be anything else but blue.

Not that it's so important, of course - just a strange correspondance that was worth floating to see what reaction it got!


Douglas Adams and Michael Moorcock: a shared character

Post 4

Hey, careful man, there's a Gosho here

It's not impossible that the Hooloovoo could have spontaneously arisen from DNA's incredibly fertile imagination and the similarity to Moorcock's character is simply a coincidence, but we'll never be able to get it from the horse's mouth, unfortunately. The imagination of a mind as fertile and creative as DNA's knows few bounds.

Douglas also had a 'razor's edge' way of seeing things and explaining them in a very simple (some might say simplistic) way. Some of his comments about religion are far more insightful and just downright smiley - eureka than any of those made by his friend Richard Dawkins.


Douglas Adams and Michael Moorcock: a shared character

Post 5

Groinhammer

Eequoor may well have been blue from arse to elbow, but the chasm of difference between the two entities is the point I’m obviously unable to communicate.
Whereas Eequoor is a deity and anthropomorphic personification who resides in a monochromatic realm, the Hoovaloo are a super intelligent shade of the colour blue, not a physical being coloured blue, and no godly powers are attributed to this exceptionally unusual race in DNA’s writing. As the introduction of the Hoovaloo was an aside to demonstrate the possibilities and complexity of existence in an infinite universe and not to drive the plot forward, details of their everyday life were never expanded upon. Perhaps the Hoovaloo live in a multicoloured realm of refracted light, where orange is considered to be a bit stupid, and green doesn’t get invited to parties. They are all at war with the smells.
Re-examine your hypothesis if the venerable Mr Adams had written:
‘....a super intelligent shade of the colour yellow..’
This would eliminate even the remotest connection between the two.
I am in no way knocking the work of Moorcock, and I greatly enjoy his writing - The Eternal Champion is both a brilliantly simplistic and deeply complex concept, and The Dancers at the End of Time is a truly phenomenal read, often recommended to friends. You obviously enjoy both of the authors work, but to try to link the two together via this baffling and tenuous link may only be achievable by a holistic detective.


Douglas Adams and Michael Moorcock: a shared character

Post 6

Groinhammer

With regards to footnote 1

Dik Mik (Michael Davies) was the keyboard player / sonic generator operator with Hawkwind from 1969 until finally quitting the band in 1973. Might of been Nik Turner or Dave Brock on that November evening......


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