Tuesday, November 10, 2015

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy #1)" by Douglas Adams

The beginning of this book didn't impress me near as much as the second half- and I have my childhood experience of watching the movie to blame for it. Sometimes watching the movie does ruin the book, and for me, it did greatly affect my perception of the first half of the book, so naturally I didn't have the best first impressions. The movie version made little to no sense to me, having watched it when I was roughly 13 years old with little grasp of satire- you have to have a slightly peculiar sense of humor to realize some of the more subtle moments in this book.

Beyond that, I have become less tolerant over the years of the basic absence of female characters in some (usually older) sci-fi/fantasy books. So when the book has basically one 'main' female character, and you're used to reading books teeming with female characters, as it is your preference... let's say you miss all those badass ladies. If you don't mind books with mostly male characters, you likely won't even notice, so consider this my pet peeve.

The Plot (As Seen on Goodreads):
'Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.
'Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker's Guide ("A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have") and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox--the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod's girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.'

That said, I wish I'd read this book back in my irreverent teen years (15-18), as I would've loved this one likely more than I do now. The humor (and/or sarcasm) is right on target, as seen in this snippet from Chapter 15:

In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri.

         ~The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, Chapter 15

If that's not your sort of humor, you may want to consider skipping this one. Naturally there are funnier bits, but those have longer set-ups as well as the eminent possibility of spoilers. The characters, although mostly male *sighs*, are the key to making this book what it is. Specifically, I found Marvin the Paranoid Android my favorite of the bunch, but maybe that's because I like dark humor.

If you don't own The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy yet, don't panic. You should be able to pick up a copy before you begin your universal travels begin, or, to play it safe, right after you read this review, just in case Earth is set for demolition or something absurdly strange like that. I recommend this to those who enjoy light science fiction laced with quirky humor, as long as the absence of female characters doesn't deter you.

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars for an excellent classic sci-fi that has more than a few laugh out loud moments!

Content: Ages 14+ for brief panicking, crimes against sperm whales, and general violence/mayhem.

Page Count: 216 pages of galactic adventures

Fair Warning: If you own a Kindle or other ereader, this book will make you zealously covet a "Don't Panic" ereader cover.


  1. I want to read this one just because I feel like it's one I want to be able to discuss, does that make sense?

    1. Yes- I saw a lot of people reading this, and then I saw the whole series was super cheap on Kindle (I think it was a buck or less a book). I bought it out of curiosity and kept reading until I started laughing. It's a nice, quick read.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Becca!
      ~Litha Nelle

  2. I read this and the other books in the series years ago and loved them. I wasn't a fan of the movie, I'm afraid. My husband loves everything Adams has written, so he's quite popular in our house. :-)

    1. I wasn't a fan of the movie, either, from what I remember of it. The books always seem to be better, even though this one started as a radio program turned book. I'm now curious about that radio program: could it actually be better than the book?
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Literary Feline!
      ~Litha Nelle


Feel Free to Express Yourself:
Agree? Disagree? Have something to add?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...