Tosh. Douglas Adams said the word several times, as if it were something technical, easily misunderstood by this big, boisterous audience of cyberbuffs in their sweaty Douglas Adams T-shirts. "The problem is," he said, as he paced back and forth, "that authors almost always, when you ask them how they came to write what they did, talk a load of TOSH.

"Take me, for instance. A legend has grown up - goodness knows whether it's true or not - that years ago I dreamt up the idea for Hitchhiker while lying dead drunk in a field outside Innsbruck, staring up at the stars. The idea suddenly struck: why doesn't someone write a hitchhiker's guide to all this - and why not me?"

He shook his head at life's endless string of fictional implausibilities. "Goodness knows whether it's true or not. The point is, though, that I don't remember... What I do remember, of course, is my last telling of the story, which I must have repeated on dozens of occasions."

Tonight's story was slightly different. Tonight's tosh was about how an author called Adams, long in bondage to the miserably solitary life of the typewriter, too long afflicted by success of an over-familiar, wallet-stuffing kind, suddenly broke out and became part of a much bigger, new-media community dedicated to the common pursuit of ideas and the sharing of those ideas - dedicated to the pursuit not so much of money, but of fun. Does that sound like tosh?

How did he do it? By creating a company called the Digital Village which, amongst other things, develops computer games. And tonight we were to have a preview of his CD-Rom "Starship Titanic", interactive fiction on an intergalactic scale.

Where had this wonderful starship come from, anyway? It had been living a fairly uncomplicated life within a paragraph of one of his early novels, suffering from SMEF (Spontaneous Massive Existence Failure). Now it is poised to crash into your home, together with its cast of Max-Ernst-like dysfunctional robots, for a few hours of fictive interaction.

Life moves ever onward and upward.

Michael Glover