(Cover picture courtesy of That’s 2 For The Books.)
On 12 October 1979 the most remarkable book ever to come out of the great publishing corporations of Ursa Minor (and Earth) was made available to humanity – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
It’s an ordinary Thursday lunchtime for Arthur Dent until his house gets demolished. The Earth follows shortly afterwards, to make way for a new hyperspace bypass. And his best friend just announced that he’s an alien. At this moment, they’re hurtling through space with nothing but their towels and an innocuous-looking book inscribed with the big, friendly words: DON’T PANIC.
The weekend has only just begun…
At first, I hated this book. But then about halfway through, I finally caught on to Douglas Adams’ fantastic sense of humour. Yes, I’m ashamed it took me that long to catch on, but now I can honestly say The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is unlike any other book I have read before. It’s ironic, witty and it subtly pokes fun at a lot of science fiction clichés.
Aside from being laugh-out-loud funny in spots, the plot moves along quite nicely. The book is only a little over 100 pages, yet more happens in those 100 pages than in the over 700 pages of Brisingr. Douglas Adams’ easy to read, pared down style is a truly refreshing break from the exhausting descriptions of most sci-fi/fantasy novels. His dialogue is also what sets him apart; I read it aloud and it actually sounded how real people speak.
Of course my favourite part of the novel was the unforgettable characters. Ford Perfect, Zaphod Beeblebrox, Slartibartifast and many others are very memorable and will never truly leave you. They’re quirky, unique and, at times, utterly hilarious, which is what makes them stand out so much. The characters are just one of the many reasons to read this great novel.
I give this book 5/5 stars.