I know, I’m a little late – the first four books completed in 1984, the film (which I saw first… sorry!) is already 10 years old. But I have finally read, finished, and fallen in love with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Douglas
Adams is by far one of the most quirky, unusual, and natural writers I have ever had the pleasure of reading, and I already believe this is going to be a book I return to for second, third, and fourth encounters.
The story is a simple one – the planet Earth is about to be… or has just been… or one day will be… ‘accidentally’ demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass. Arthur Dent is/was an unfortunate resident of this planet, and awoke to find his bricks and mortar house too being demolished by the council. Fortunately, a friend takes him to the pub and saves him from the demolition of not just his home, but his entire world. What proceeds is his journey through space, encountering a number of races, species, and shades of the colour blue. The universe is a big place, but it’s amazing how often you’ll bump into the same people.
What I found most intriguing about Adams’ writing style is the unrelenting detail he puts in, and yet succeeds in not appearing flowery or over-descriptive. With numerous tangents he provides an insight into what might be beyond the stars, but doesn’t patronise the reader or assume ignorance. We’re spoken to as peers, as the Arthur Dents of the world, being taught things that ought to be known and shared just for the joy of sharing. Pages are inserted to take up the babbles of his mind, and rather than feel – as a reader often can – that he has lost the plot entirely, you float along with him and forget what all the worry was about in the first place.
For those with a wistful desire to explore the skies, those with an earth-bound wanderlust, or those who just like to laugh at the misfortune of others, The Hitchhiker’s Guide is a give-all book that leaves no moon rock unturned. Buy the four-part trilogy in one edition (leaving two final books to enjoy another time), and drift with it. Whether you’re a whale, a pot of petunias, or both at once, relish in the fast absurdity of the universe. The galaxy is a complex place, and believe me, you’re the most normal person in it.