Author: Douglas Adams
Read by: Stephen Fry
Released: October 12th 1979
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is considered to be a classic; one of novels (erm, series) you hold up as a shining example of science fiction and writing. Believe it or not while I’ve read the first novel many times, and the following few several times, I don’t think I’ve ever actually finished the series. I always seem to start again from the beginning (The Hitchhiker’s Guide being my absolutely favorite, and therefore happily finding any excuse to read it again), and more often than not I’ll make it one novel further in the series than I managed the last time. Not sure why I always get so distracted, as the series is phenomenal. So here I am, going through the series again. Maybe this time I’ll make it through all of them?
As I said above, I’ve read The Hitchhiker’s Guide countless times, but I’ve never actually listened to the audiobooks. So I figured this would be a fun new way of experiencing a universe I love so much. The fact that Stephen Fry did the reading for this novel certainly helped. I loved his impressions and different voices he used for each of the unique characters. Some more than others, of course. All in all it was a very fun and oddly new experience for me, so I’m really happy I gave this a try.
If you want a lesson in absurdity, or would like to join in on an adventure with the goal of finding out what forty-two means, then you’re in for a ride. The Hitchhiker’s Guide has a way of making even the most horrifying events absurd, comical, or really not that relevant. Perhaps that’s because of the calming words ‘Don’t Panic’ that are so oft repeated. More likely it’s Douglas Adam’s wit and writing style that does the trick.
The cast for this novel are incredibly unique. Arthur is probably what one would consider to be the main character; he’s a human who tends to say ‘what’ with a frequency that’s directly proportional to the danger he’s in. Ford is a hitchhiker and writer, and he has a lot to say about a lot of things. Trillion is another earther, and she’s actually pretty easy going, all things considered. Beeblebrox proves that two heads aren’t always better than one, and that the people in positions of power are typically the ones that deserve them the least.
This series is so quotable, it’s easy to forge that it’s the origin of a lot of common jokes and phrases seen all over the place (but practically in other science fiction series, of course). I swear every time I read them through again, I realize yet another series has been referencing them for years, and I totally just spaced on it.
On a side note, now I really find myself wanting to watch the movie again. Hrm, I wonder why that is. Also, if you haven’t heard, there’s a petition trying to get The Hitchhiker’s Guide made into a TV series, so if you’re a fan of that you might want to go see what you can do to help out, or at least to get your voice heard.