Now, in an attempt to cash in on their obsession, a new book published this week, 42: Douglas Adams' Amazingly Accurate Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything, looks at real-life occurrences of the number 42. The book is timed to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Adams's death this spring.
Scores of adolescents have posited theories about significance of the number. The actor Stephen Fry claimed to know the true answer, but won't tell, saying he'll take it to his grave. The author himself rather undermined the myriad analyses when he dismissed them all with the simple answer that the choice of the number was a joke.