I first watched The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy ages ago, long enough that I only had a vague memory of it but was able to joke about the number 42 with more knowledge. I re-watched it much more recently and am frankly astonished I didn’t enjoy it more the first time. It’s such a whimsical, hilarious story (plus its got Martin Freeman and the voice of Alan Rickman, two personal favorites). I knew I had to read the book to see if it also held up. Even though I’ve always had a more difficult time getting into the SciFi genre, I had a feeling The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was a good jumping point, especially once I saw how small it is (a mere 216 pages in small paperback). Overall, it was great and I am definitely contemplating reading the next in the series.
In all honestly, I actually started reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (is there an abbreviation?? It’s quite long to type out) a bit after New Years when I got it as a gift from my fabulous boyfriend. From the get go, it was quite similar to the movie and I was feeling a little bit of dejavu having more recently watched it. At the same time however I was also reading The Magician King which I had started back before the holidays. Add in life craziness and deciding to start this here blog and I had to rearrange my book reading a little bit and THGttG (does that work as an abbreviation?) got pushed back a wee bit. So, I didn’t get back to it until this past week when I was stuck in a large, metal cylinder hurtling thousands of miles an hour through the sky towards a much needed skiing vacation.
THGttG was a delight to read. As I found in the very beginning, the movie does follow the book pretty closely for the most part. There are a few different scenes that are different but if you have seen the movie, the books plot is not going to come as too much of a surprise. However, don’t let this deter you! The writing is easy to follow and adds an extra element you don’t get in the movie. Oddly enough, one of the best elements was also the most frustrating for me. THGttG sets up a massive world, quite literally endless galaxies really. As such, there is a ton of background info that Douglas Adams pulls in. From browsing around the interwebs I found out that THGttG actually started out as a radio show and has morphed into books, a movie, and many other formats. So, it makes sense that the first book can be at times a wee bit confusing. The narrator does do a great job of blending all the tidbits together and manages to throw in seemingly unrelated aspects that help pull the universe together. However, there were definitely times I found myself having to reread a paragraph or page to try and get a better grasp of what was going on. This was further exasperated by endless amounts of new alien species, cultures, planets, term, etc etc. thrown in. Once again though, don’t let this stop you. As somebody fairly new to SciFi it more came as just a surprise since most books I read are contained in smaller spaces and more earth like places. I do truly believe this is a great book to start off into the SciFi genre. Adams manages to write a relatively short book that is packed with a good mix of adventure and humor. While the universe is, as I mentioned, quite large, the reader doesn’t have to get too deep of an understanding of it to enjoy the story unlike some other fantasy novels out there. Since I plan to continue the series, I will let you know if this stays the case for all the books. So far though, I like what Adams created.
I can’t finish this off without adding some of my absolute favorite elements of the book. Mostly, it is so whimsical and has such fabulous small moments that add so immensely to my enjoyment of the story. For those who have seen the movie, you will be familiar with the main space craft in the book, The Heart of Gold, which makes use of the Infinite Improbability Drive. Basically it powers the ship somehow by passing through every conceivable universe simultaneously and events that seem ridiculously improbable happen. This, as can be imagined, creates some pretty spectacular events such as random whales flying through the sky.
Then you’ve got on the spaceship a
robot, Marvin, programmed to imitate a human personality which invariable means it is deeply depressed and leads to some surprisingly spectacular lines and plot twists. Plus, did you know humans aren’t the most intelligent creatures on earth according to the Guide? Dolphins are above us apparently. Really, I could go on and on and the more I reflect on it, the more I love how the entire story is woven together. Basically, don’t let the large, semi confusing universe stop you. As the Guide would tell you,
If you have time (even just a small amount, remember this book is fairly small) take a stab at The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I can definitely see how it has become such a beloved SciFi classic.
Now, the natural choice is to continue with SciFi and read the next in the series, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, but I’m not going to do that. I swear, normally I would follow a more natural book reading pattern. This time though, a book I’ve been waiting for has just come out. And, get this, its the final book in a FINISHED series. Hallelujah! Too many times I’ve started a series only to find it is not finished and has not set end date for the final books to be published (*cough* George R.R. Martin *cough*). So, I am now currently reading A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. I’m doubly excited because it is written by a female author which I never get enough of and its apparently Women’s History Month so woohoo! Apologies for once again reading the final of a series but I am thinking I will add an extra post to give a mini synopsis/review/thoughts on the first to books.
Off to read!