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Don't panic, it's just Douglas Adams' birthday Google doodle

The hoopy froods at Google have created an interactive tribute to the great man, who would have been 61 today.

To mark the birthday of author and noted technophile Douglas Adams, the hoopy froods at Google have created an interactive tribute depicting elements of Adams' best-known work, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series.

As well as the Hitchhiker's Guide itself (which, if you ask me, looks suspiciously like a third-generation Amazon Kindle), the doodle also shows protagonist Arthur Dent's favourite beverage and Ford Prefect's trusty towel -- the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.

The doodle also reveals Marvin the Paranoid Android, as he looked in the 1981 TV adaptation, and the Babelfish that inspired the name of the online translator.

All the fun parts of the doodle are activated by clicking the Guide, including advice not to panic, a brief explanation of the Infinite Improbability Drive and the Universe being sneezed into being by the Great Green Arkleseizure.

All of these are played out through animated stickfigures on the Guide's screen, similar to how it was depicted in the film, albeit without Stephen Fry's dulcet commentary to soothe your interstellar anxieties.

Adams was born 61 years ago today. As well as the Hitchhiker's Guide, he is also well-known for the Dirk Gently parody detective novels and writing several Doctor Who serials in the late 70s for the incumbent Time Lord, Tom Baker.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy began life as a radio series in 1978 and gained a massive cult following. The next year, Adams adapted the first four episodes into the debut novel, named for the series, and continued to adapt the radio series for over a decade until its fifth novel Mostly Harmless was published in 1992. Adams often referred to the series as a "trilogy in five parts".

There have been numerous adaptations of the franchise since then, including a television series in 1981 and a feature film in 2005, starring future-Hobbit Martin Freeman as reluctant hitchhiker Arthur Dent. There's also been a comic book series published under DC Comics, a video game in 1984, a continuation of the radio series and a stage show. The novel series was given one final outing in 2009 under author Eoin Colfer.

Adams died of a heart attack in 2001 at the age of 49, leaving the third entry to his Dirk Gently series unfinished. A year after his death, this unfinished draft was collected along with some of his other unpublished writings into a book, The Salmon of Doubt. It's a cracking read so definitely take a look if you enjoyed Hitchhiker's Guide or Adams' other work.