“Don’t panic,” “Life, the Universe and Everything” and “So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish” are ingrained in people’s minds because of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Of course, many people only know the book from the movie (isn’t that always the case?) I’m one of those people, but I haven’t pick up any of the books until recently. I have had people say “why haven’t you read them yet?” I’m one of those people with a large pile of books that I want to read and this one was on the bottom.
With that I can say I was thoroughly surprised.
The story is about Arthur Dent, a normal earthling living a normal life and he likes it that way. That, until one day his house is getting bulldozed. His buddy, Ford Prefect, takes him away from his house to have a few drinks at the pub. That’s when an intergalactic wrecking crew comes to Earth and destroys it in one fell swoop. Now Arthur and Ford go on a little misadventure with the two headed President of the Universe, an old flame and a super paranoid android.
I have no idea why I have never bothered to read this series years ago. This book is awesome! People have told that if I liked Terry Pratchett I’d like this. They were right.
First, the plot of this book is something else. It’s about as out there as yo can get. And I like out there. Thing is, out there has be done right. Here,it is done right. Everything about it from the universe, to the characters, to the plot has that right amount to keep you entertained. I in fact, this is the first book in along while that I couldn’t put down.
The characters are well written too. Terry Pratchett said there’s a difference between funny characters and well written characters that are funny. These guys are the later. They have unique personalities that define who they are with the added bonus of them saying funny things. It’s these types of characters that you want instead of one note, one joke characters that so many people have come up with. The best character has to be Zaphod Beeblebrox. This guy is the typical dick who gets thing done by screwing people over. And he’s the President of the Universe. That right there is funny.
Speaking of funny, the humor is this dry English Monty Python type humor. Some people will not get most of it, but if you think about what was said you’ll be laughing for a while. My favorite joke is the answer to life, universe and everything is 42. It doesn’t seem funny on its own, but the line that says they didn’t ask the right question makes it funnier.
This book’s historical significance cannot be ignored. You see, a lot of scifi/fantasy before this was pretty straightforward. There was very little comic scifi/fantasy. Adams and Pratchett created a genre that though not many people have tried their hand at, it still has people reading these stories.
In all, I’m glad I read this book. So much so that I bought The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This book has great characters, plot, world building and humor. Highly recommended to everyone.