It’s been a while since I read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy so I picked it as a re-read for the readathon. Unfortunately I’ve now ended up with a film tie-in edition for a pretty bad film. Don’t watch it! I can recommend the cheesy BBC TV series or the Radio 4 recordings if you are after something other than the book.
It’s hard to review a book you’ve grown up with. In my mind everyone knows the significance of 42 and what a Babelfish is. However if you aren’t familiar, it’s the first in a “trilogy of five parts” of sci-fi comedy in which the world is destroyed to make space for an intergalactic highway and the sole survivor, Arthur Dent, is rescued by his alien friend, Ford Prefect, and end up on a journey through space on a ship powered by an improbability drive. And what is the question of life, the universe and everything if the answer is 42?
Let’s face it, the actual book in the book was the forefather of the Kindle. I’m quite tempted to hack mine to give it a Don’t Panic screensaver. The passages out of the guide are the best parts. Actually they were the only thing well done in the recent remake (voiced by the wonderful Stephen Fry).
I don’t think the book works by itself, if you’re reading for the first time, get at least three books to read back-to-back. I don’t think the humour has dated too much considering it was written in the late 70s. I think most of us can at least remember the obsession with digital watches and the philosophy is still as relevant as ever.
P.S. It looks like you can watch the whole BBC series on You Tube. It’s quite old now so I don’t think anyone minds it being on there.
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