THE title of this book is a misnomer - by rights, this is more a biography of Douglas Adams's most famous creation, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy.

For while the birth of what is one of the finest series in the history of radio and its subsequent transformation into books and a TV series is scrupulously detailed and heavily footnoted, there's little inkling of the man behind it.

There is more information about side issues such an argument between Sir Clive Sinclair and the developers of the Hitchhiker computer game than about Adams's relationship with Jane Belson (" was just under ten years later that they got married.").

What does come across is that, despite his charms, Adams could be hellish. Proprietorial, non-conformist, with his own version for almost every event and never one to hit a deadline, he seems to have found the success of the Hitchhiker series as much a burden as a blessing.

In the end, we're left with a picture of a man who was either blessed with genius but an inability to express it. Or one who was lucky enough to have one big idea and spent the rest of his career running to keep up with the train he'd set in motion.

Sadly, this book doesn't help us figure out which one Douglas Adams was.

Updated: 09:30 Wednesday, May 21, 2003