RIP, DNA: I had no plans to post today. However, this came as a hard punch to the gut: British author Douglas Adams has died at only 49, of a heart attack.

At the risk of admitting how deeply nerdy I am, Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy [pick it up at your local independent bookseller] was the book that influenced me most during my pre-teen years. I remember the first time I attempted to read it, at just 8 years old: I was coming back from a picnic with my dad and a friend of his from work. His son was reading it, and I read it in the car on the way back. It was just outside the comprehension of that innocent young me, but it stuck with me until I found it in paperback in 6th or 7th grade. I have fond memories of listening to the tapes of the radio show with my best friend Will, I think on the way back from camping with his dad.

I hadn’t been keeping up with Adams’ recent work, but it’s a big loss nonetheless.

Apparently, in homage to the book — the Guide — the one with “Don’t Panic!” printed on it in large friendly letters, there is an online Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy….

[I hope the (unintended) dead celebrity theme stops now before it has a chance to snowball.]