One Thursday lunchtime the Earth gets unexpectedly demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass. For Arthur Dent, who has only just had his house demolished that morning, this seems already to be more than he can cope with. Sadly, however, the weekend has only just begun, and the Galaxy is a very strange and startling place.
Author: Douglas Adams
Narrator: Stephen Fry
Audio Release Date:
Publisher: Macmillan Digital Audio
Running Time: 5hrs 51mins
Genre: Science Fiction/Comedy
My Rating of ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’: 5 out of 5
It’s hard to believe that, at the ripe old age of thirty-two, this is the first time I have read the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (I haven’t seen the film either). But, that has been rectified and I’m glad I let a friend talk/nag me into it.
It really is one of those books that’s far too wacky, zany, ludicrous and all over the place for it to make any sense or be any good. Strangely enough, it’s those qualities that make it a joy to read (or in my case listen to) and near-impossible to put down.
I could be absolutely roasted by Hitchhiker’s fans the world over for saying that the humour greatly reminds me of the Jeeves and Wooster books, just far more sci-fi, obviously. So, if you enjoy Wodehouse’s humour, Adams’ should tickle you just as much.
Arthur Dent makes for a loveable main character and the cast that accompany him, particularly Marvin, the constantly depressed robot, are equally enjoyable, if not more so. Every single character brings something to the table that, were they not there, would make the book far less enjoyable.
Adams’ novel is a fun-filled comedic romp through the galaxy, and beyond, that really has to be experienced at least once in your reading life. In any other book, some of the things that happen and the last-minute aversions of disaster would feel too shoe-horned in and just plain unbelievable. But, as you get through the story you see that such painfully unbelievable coincidences have an impossibly believable reason for occurring and it all makes sense in a way that I never thought possible.
In short, Adams has managed to force so many things that, when lumped together, should not work or make a novel fun to read. And, in doing so, he has shattered what should and shouldn’t work and just made it work in an unexpectedly enjoyable way.
The audio book was a no-brainer for me. It is read by the incredibly talented Stephen Fry and I can’t fathom another human being reading this book to me after hearing him do it. So much so that, upon seeing the sequel is read by Martin Freeman (and sampling the audio on Audible and finding it somewhat meh) I think I’ll just go ahead and buy the book version.