Typically I begin my reviews with what lead me to read the book in the first place. Looking back it is hard to nail down my first interactions with Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I will have to rewind and plot this out. When I was in my pre-teen years my parents let my brothers friend move into our home. He had been kicked out of his father’s house and with the rest of his family in Jamaica he had no where else to go. Omar was not like my brothers other friends, who joined my older brother in picking on, or ignoring me. No, Omar was pretty good to me. We would talk comics, cartoons, and other things. It was Omar that introduced me to Hitchhiker’s Guide. He showed me the 80’s television show and he also gave me his printed edition with all five books in one. It’s hard to remember if I watched the show first or dove into the book, but I know it was the first few pages of the book that hooked me and made me a life long fan.
It does not take long when opening this book to realize that Hitchhiker’s is a different galaxy than you’ve seen before. I know I was beginning my journey into these books during the height of Star Wars rereleasing the special editions of the original films. As big of a Star Wars fan I was/am, I couldn’t help but feel that I had discovered something special in these stories. The comedic science fiction takes us on a unique look at the universe around us, that to this date has not been matched in its randomness and humour.
Originally created as a radio play in 1978, Douglas Adams work has seen many inceptions across media. Including the books, computer games, comic books, TV show, and of course the 2005 blockbuster film. With each rendering the story has significant changes, mostly with placement of plot points. Which has lead to a debate on which adaptation should be considered the definitive source. The books being the most widely distributed seem to have taken the lead on the argument. But, it’s hard to argue with the radio plays being the original material. No matter what your preference, it is no contest that Hitchhiker’s Guide is one of the most popular titles in SciFi.
The story follows Arthur Dent as he witnesses the destruction of Earth by the poetic Vogon’s to make way for an hyperspace bypass. Saved by his long time friend Ford Perfect, he is taught of the massive galaxy that awaits him and of course the definitive instruction manual for navigating said galaxy, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Through happenstance misadventures, and pure random hilariousness, Arthur finds love, the meaning to life, the universe and everything, and his ultimate purpose.
Clearly, the main appeal of this story has always been the humour. Which is untouchable in terms of, this book is full of silly, random thoughts from an author with a natural talent. The random actions and characters keep you on your toes and laughing from start to end. What really defines the story is behind the humour lays existential questions about what the meaning of life is, what is the universe capable of, and why are we here? For such a comedic book it is powerful, and interesting, deserving of it’s place as one of the most important science fiction books of all time.
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has been, and will always be one of my favourite stories of all time. It is unmatched in literature for it’s ability to touch on so many genres with such a timeless, light hearted manner. 5/5, if you have not read Hitchhiker’s Guide, I will question your sanity. There is simply no reason not to pick this book up, and by the first few pages I guarantee it will have you hooked. There is something for everyone’s funny bone, and full of big ideas that will make you ponder what is possible.
Thanks booknerds, and thanks for all the fish. 42.