The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams, is a fantastically wonderful adventure filled with both the familiar and the exotic. If you like great writing and well crafted sentences, you’ll like this book. If you like humorous antics and wild tales, you’ll like this book. If you like sci-fi or stories about a normal guy being put into extraordinary circumstances, you’ll like this book. If you have a pulse, you’ll like this book.
Arthur Dent has a problem. His house is being bulldozed to make way for a highway, which he doesn’t like at all. He is in the midst of protesting this very fact by lying on the ground in the mood before the bulldozer when his friend, Ford Prefect, comes with even more disturbing news – an alien race called the Vogons are set to bulldoze Earth to make way for an intergalactic superhighway in about 12 minutes. Arthur has difficulties grasping the magnitude of this sudden information and is quite disgruntled and confused.
Upon waking up on the Vogon ship, Arthur learns that Ford is an alien that has been stuck on Earth for several long years and that they were saved only because Ford hitchhiked a ride on the ship. They are put on the ship by the servants, so when the Vogons in charge find out that they have visitors, Ford and Arthur are read poetry then subsequently thrown out an air lock.
Through a series of highly improbable events dealing with phone numbers and Christmas parties of the past, Arthur and Ford are saved by a passing starship carrying the galactic president, Zaphod Beeblebrox. They venture together to find the legendary planet that made planets for sale, Magrathea. Along the way, Arthur learns more about the galaxy from the compendium of knowledge known as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which has a cover with “Don’t Panic” written on it in large, friendly letters.
There are also issues with a depressed android and two nuclear devices turning into a pot of petunias and a sperm whale, but you’ll have to read to find out more.
I’m obviously biased; I love Douglas Adams and every little letter he ever put on a page. I will try to be thoroughly objective and honest in this review, however.
This book is random, wacky, and hilarious. Nothing is easy to guess, mainly because most of what happens is supposed to be the most improbably action that could possibly occur. The characters, though some are not extremely well introduced, are defined wonderfully by their dialogue and you feel you know what they are like after only a few conversations. Adam’s writing style is witty and well-formed; no sentence seems like it doesn’t fit quite right. If you’re a person that likes little details within a book to be brought up again later, this is a great series and book for you. Very small, minute things that you’ve read in passing will have monumental importance later, leaving you laughing with the sheer ludicrousness of it all.
I could say a lot more, but I’m sure that I can’t even come close to the wonderful literature that is this book. If you are a person that likes books, likes to read, or has any sense of humor or adventure, please read this cleverly written masterpiece of science fiction comedy.
Speculative Fiction Challenge 2012 – book # 6