- Title: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
- Author: Douglas Adams
- Published: 1979
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a science-fiction comedy story. In it, we meet Arthur Dent, an ordinary British citizen who finds out he’s the last surviving man after the demolition of Planet Earth to make room for a hyperspace bypass. He’s rescued by his alien friend Ford Prefect, who is currently re-drafting The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, an electronic travel guide, and the two of them hitchhike onto a passing spacecraft. Arthur and Ford meet a variety of space creatures and Arthur gradually learns more about the universe than he ever has before.
I’m always a bit reserved when it comes to science-fiction; a lot of the fictional scientific jargon always goes straight over my head and I’m always concerned it’s a bit too geeky for me.
However, I really enjoyed reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy!
Firstly, it’s a book about a book – and I love books that include clever concepts like that – the plot is always being interrupted by “extracts” from the Guide, or references to the past or the future that don’t contribute to the story (and by Adams’ own acknowledgement, are not significant whatsoever).
Despite the scientific jargon (trust me, there’s a lot of made-up words in this book), this didn’t put me off. It gave me a sense of nostalgia, and reminded me of classic 80s shows* where robots are made of tin foil and spaceships are made of cardboard boxes and empty tins.
*Doctor Who (1963-1989) and Back to the Future (1985) spring to mind.
I also enjoyed Adams’ narrative style; he writes in a sarcastic and genuinely witty way that made me feel as if I was reading the script for a good sit-com.**
**The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was originally a radio comedy broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1978.
My favourite character has to be Marvin the Paranoid Android, a severely depressed robot that hates life, assumes everyone hates him, but actually ends up saving the day. Marvin’s dialogue was funny, without being offensive, and I felt both amusement and sympathy for the situations he found himself in.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is only one of many books in Adams’ series, and although, I’m not sure I’m ready to invest my time in reading the rest of the books just yet, I can safely say I thoroughly enjoyed the first one and would love to listen to the radio show too!
Have you read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? What did you think?