Title: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (#1)
Author: Douglas Adams
On the Shelves: Fiction> Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.
Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide (“A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have”) and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox–the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod’s girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years (Goodreads 2014)
You say you like “British Humour”? (whatever that is), I’ll give you British Humour! Amongst the ranks of the great Sir Terry Pratchett, I present to you, Douglas Adams and the absolutely insane world of “Hitchhiker’s Giude to the Galaxy”.
The humour of this book is very much exactly what I was raised on, being an English girl. Therefore I spent most of this book in fits of laughter. Adam’s writing style is a little bit strange and it does take some getting used to. You are not introduced to the world or the stories within it, you are instead pushed full force with the subtlety of the train wreck. But you know, once Earth has been blown to pieces and Arthur and Ford are being read literally mind-numbing poetry by an alien race whilst hitchhiking on their spaceship, you can’t stop laughing and can’t put this book down!
Arthur dent is a homebody who would like nothing better than to stay in his little house, quietly drinking tea in his dressing gown and being left alone by annoying people (see: anybody else). No way in hell is that going to happen, since not only is the council out to destroy his house so they can build a new motorway right through it, but aliens have also decided today is a good day to wipe out the earth…so they can build a road through where it is as well. The world and the universe is against Arthur Dent today. Where is a cup of tea when you need it? Arthur is the quintessentially English man, who hates change and thrives on things like queueing. I must say the only character I really liked, personally, was Marvin the depressed robot. Absolutely brilliant.
One scene I absolutely loved was the Whale contemplating what good friends it would become with the ground once it “met” it. Also the entire opening passage is fantastic. One of the first things you read is:
“Curiously enough, the dolphins had long known of the impending destruction of the planet Earth and had made attempts to alert mankind to the danger; but most of their communications were misinterpreted as amusing attempts to punch footballs or whistle for titbits, so they eventually gave up and left the Earth by their own means shortly before the Vogons arrived.”
Definitely recommend this to any lovers of fantasy/Sci-fi and British humour all around.