The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams (11 August)

I read this series of books for the first time in my senior year of high school (about five and a half years ago), after meeting a person who carried a towel around with him and asking him just why that was. He explained it was a Hitchhiker’s Guide thing, to which I said, approximately, “A who in the what now?” Well. I promptly purchased the full five-book trilogy (um, yes) and devoured it within a couple weeks. Maybe just one. Maybe it was a few days. I don’t remember, but it was rather quickly.

When I mentioned to my friend Nick (not the towel-carrier, in case that’s not clear) a few weeks ago that I was going to re-read them, he warned me that they wouldn’t hold up well to a second reading. I doubted him, but he was mostly right, at least with this first one. We’ll see how the rest go, I suppose.

For those still going, “A who in the what now?”, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a British humor novel about travelling the galaxy. Sort of. The story starts off with our main protagonist, Arthur Dent, finding out that his house is going to be demolished by the local planning commission to make room for a bypass. He is understandably displeased, and has a lie-down in front the bulldozers to protect his house, at least until his friend Ford Prefect shows up to lead him off to the pub and inform him that the world is going to end in about twenty minutes. Then the Earth is vaporized. Meanwhile, we meet Zaphod Beeblebrox, President of the Imperial Galactic Government, who, at the unveiling of a fancy new spaceship that he then steals. Then Ford and Arthur have a series of improbable adventures, having managed to hitch a ride on the spaceship that eliminated the Earth, and eventually meet up with Zaphod and have more improbable adventures.

There’s not much of a plot, and the humor really depends on its unexpectedness, which is where the book falls apart on a second read. It’s still funny, but not nearly as much so as it was five years ago. Alas.

Rating: 8/10
(Summer Lovin’ Challenge)

See also:
Book Nut

Pass me yours, if you’ve got ’em.

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