Here is the next review in #100bookproject. The book I’m looking at is one I’ve wanted to read for a very long time and thanks to this project I’ve been able to get around to finally reading it! The book is The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. I actually read the entire series (The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is just the first book within a chapter) which includes Restaurant at The End of the Universe, Life, The Universe and Everything, So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, Young Zaphod Plays it Safe and Mostly Harmless.
Before these were books they were a radio series which accounts for all different mini books within one overall collection. I will be judging this as a collection overall since I read the entire series.
Level of Recommendation: Mid
Favourite Line: “Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.”
Quick Review: A sarcastic, witty and entertaining look at all the shenanigans that could ensue if the Universe was infinite and time was adaptable. The real treasure of the series though is the continuous parallels to modern society that somehow make perfect sense in this ridiculous universe.
Longer Review: Douglas Adams wrote The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy as a radio series and that origin has created a series that does not have the traditional narrative arc and development of characters that a novel would have.
Yet despite this Hitchhikers manages to make you fall in love with the characters, such as Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect, and be continually amused by the absurdity of the universe Adams created. The book begins with the destruction of earth and then proceeds to document Arthur Dent’s journey through the universe as he comes to grips with the fact the earth is destroyed, his friend is an alien, time is not as it appears and the girl he sort of liked happens to be with Zaphod, the two headed president of the universe.
As the story unravels the main point, so to speak since Hitchhikers doesn’t really have a main point, is that earth was built as a giant computer to answer the question what is the ultimate question?
The mice had previously built a computer to answer the question what is the meaning of life, the answer to which is of course 42 and the computer then told them to think of a better question, thus why they built earth, the new computer to make a new question. Makes total sense right?
That’s the thing about Hitchchikers a lot of it makes absolutely no sense but the characters keep the story interesting. Den’ts blandness becomes enduring. Perfect’s witty remarks are perhaps the best moments throughout the series. Marving, the depressed robot, is both pathetic and hilarious. Trillian’s matter of fact, get things done attitude becomes slightly grating but also slightly inspiring and finally Zaphod’s absolute idiocy is in a way brilliant.
I gave Hitchhikers a mid level recommendation because if you’re looking for a traditional novel this is going to disappoint you and a lot of the humor of the book is the British sarcastic kind, the kind that many non Brits find difficult to find enjoyable.
However if you go into this series with an open mind and not expecting an semblance of a traditional story line and arc then you might just be pleasantly surprised. After all there is a reason this series has become a cult classic and in my mind that reason is because its absurdly hilarious. It’s most certainly a love or hate type read but if you give it a chance you will find yourself delighted by the plethora of interesting characters, the silliness of the whole time is an illusion/the universe is infinite thing and the smart parallels to the everyday silliness of an existence on the real earth.
Next Book on the List for #the100bookproject: The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
Until Next Time,
Be Blessed, Stay Strong and Never Give Up,