Monday, June 18, 2018

*Review* The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Genre: Science Fiction
Published: October 12, 1979
Pages: 208

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.

"The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't."

I first read this book back in 1999 when my uncle gave me a copy after I rolled a minivan to give me something to do while I was stuck in the hospital unable to see the TV (because I'd broken my nose and couldn't wear my glasses). I remembered being thoroughly amused by much of the absurdity included in the book, so when I saw it as one of the free audiobooks from Audiofile Sync's summer reading program for teens, I was quite excited. And I finally got around to listening to it back in December while I was busy cleaning house in preparation of moving back to the states. I'm pretty sure it gave me just as many laughs the second time around. 

If you're not familiar with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy at this point, I have to assume that you just absolutely don't like science fiction, and possibly comedy as well. If you're hesitant to grab your towel and stick out your thumb to go on this journey because you don't like hard science fiction, I assure you, it's not that, at least not by today's standards. And if you've been avoiding the book because the absurd just doesn't appeal to you, well, you definitely keep doing you, boo. Not reading this book is almost certainly for the best in your case. If neither of those things applies to you, and you still haven't read the book (or at least seen the movie), I kind of have to wonder why.

So since I'm assuming you're already familiar with the book (or movie) if you're reading this review, I'm just going to talk about the narration. The book is narrated by Stephen Fry, who also plays the narrator and the guide in the 2005 movie. I think the only thing that would have made the narration for the audiobook better is if it were done by Alan Rickman (who plays the voice of Marvin the depressed robot in the film), and that's just because I love his dry sarcasm (which is what made him the perfect voice to Marvin). I was able to listen to the book at 1.5 speed easily without it seeming too fast for the narration.

So if you're like me and have been wanting to read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy again but just don't have the time because new books, I would definitely recommend the audio which you can listen to while commuting or doing housework like I did. I give the book 4.978 gargle blasting stars. - Katie

Douglas Noël Adams was an English author, comic radio dramatist, and musician. He is best known as the author of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. Hitchhiker's began on radio, and developed into a "trilogy" of five books (which sold more than fifteen million copies during his lifetime) as well as a television series, a comic book series, a computer game, and a feature film that was completed after Adams' death. The series has also been adapted for live theatre using various scripts; the earliest such productions used material newly written by Adams. He was known to some fans as Bop Ad (after his illegible signature), or by his initials "DNA".

In addition to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams wrote or co-wrote three stories of the science fiction television series Doctor Who and served as Script Editor during the seventeenth season. His other written works include the Dirk Gently novels, and he co-wrote two Liff books and Last Chance to See, itself based on a radio series. Adams also originated the idea for the computer game Starship Titanic, which was produced by a company that Adams co-founded, and adapted into a novel by Terry Jones. A posthumous collection of essays and other material, including an incomplete novel, was published as The Salmon of Doubt in 2002.

His fans and friends also knew Adams as an environmental activist and a lover of fast cars, cameras, the Macintosh computer, and other "techno gizmos". 

Toward the end of his life he was a sought-after lecturer on topics including technology and the environment.

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