I first heard of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy several years ago and it is such a well-known book I’m surprised I didn’t read it earlier! It had been on my Goodreads To-read list forever and after seeing a few amusing quotes here and there on the Internet, I bit the bullet last month. Here’s what I thought!
There is a galaxy full of space creatures out there, us humans just aren’t aware of it! The planet Earth is destroyed to make room for an galactic freeway and Arthur Dent is saved by his galactic researcher friend Ford Prefect who he previously believed to be just as human as him. Together they embark on a journey through space that has Arthur questioning everything he had thought to be true when he woke up for breakfast that morning.
I have been thinking about how to write this article for some time now and I am still not sure how to go about talking about it. I am quite sure that those who have read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy will understand why! (I am also hoping you will understand why there are three beers on this article’s main photo!) As for those who haven’t read it yet… Well, this book is very weird.
The novel is full of wonderful ideas: Douglas Adams clearly has a fantastic imagination. I wish my own was only half as colourful! I can scarcely begin to imagine how much thought and planning must have gone into the writing that plays around a lot with the English language, especially everyday, mundane words such as “yellow”.
About halfway through, I finally realized that The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy reminded me of the Theatre of the Absurd, where actions and dialogues have no apparent logic to them but actually have a very clever second degree meaning. To be honest, while I could see why this book is a best-seller, it was kind of frustrating not “understanding” everything despite really trying to. As a reader, I just had to accept the craziness and go along with it all. At times I felt like I should be analyzing this book with an experienced literature professor but that would have been entirely beside the point!
Still, the story was fun and very well-written. I thoroughly enjoyed finding quotes that I had read here and there before and understanding their meaning in the context of the book. Also, the sarcastic tone is very amusing, especially given the fact that one of the main characters’ genetic programming prevents him from understanding sarcasm in the first place. The various revelations towards the end of the book were thought-provoking and funny at the same time, all the while making perfect sense in the overall storyline. I definitely did not expect this book to tackle theology and the meaning of life! Sci-fi is not really my genre of choice – despite a few exceptions – and although The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy hasn’t changed my mind about the genre, I’m really glad I gave the book a try.
I also intend to watch the film soon, especially after having seen this (crazy) trailer:
Have you read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? What did you think?