Thursday, December 11, 2014

Throwback Thursday Review: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy(AmazonGoodreads)
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe - (AmazonGoodreads)
Life, The Universe, and Everything - (AmazonGoodreads)
So Long and Thanks for All the Fish - (AmazonGoodreads)
Mostly Harmless - (Amazon / Goodreads)

Plot of the series: The various versions follow the same basic plot but they are in many places mutually contradictory, as Adams rewrote the story substantially for each new adaptation. Throughout all versions, the series follows the adventures of Arthur Dent, a hapless Englishman, although the story also follows the adventure of other major characters: Ford Prefect (who named himself after the Ford Prefect car to blend in with what was assumed to be the dominant life form, automobiles), an alien from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse and a researcher for the eponymous guidebook; Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ford's semi-cousin and the Galactic President; the depressed robot Marvin the Paranoid Android; and Trillian, formerly known as Tricia McMillan, a woman Arthur once met at a party in Islington and the only other human survivor of Earth's destruction. [Source]

It's Science Fiction month here on My Thoughts Literally. It has been a long time since I have done a Before I Blogged I Read post and I thought this would be the perfect time to do that. Plus I had the perfect series to do that. One of my absolute favorites, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

It has been so long since I have read these books but I have seriously always wanted to review them here on the blog. And then as I started to write a review I realized that doing that is nearly impossible. I mean it has been nearly four years since I read them. And one thing I have realized recently is that I seem to compartmentalize my thoughts on books. Like I usually vaguely remember what I thought about a book, like if I loved it or hated it, but I rarely remember exactly why I liked it and I almost never remember any details about the plot of the book.

However I do remember basically every detail of the first book in this series, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It is one of those books that has always stuck with me because of it's creative and engaging Science Fiction plot and world that is full of action and humor. I remember reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and literally laughing out loud at so many moments and to this day I reference things from book in my daily life. It also got me hooked on so many different things that I'm not sure I would be the same type of reader had I not read this book.

First and foremost The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy got me hooked on space operas. For those who are not aware, space operas are a subgenre of Science Fiction where typically a quirky cast of characters travel through space on some sort of galactic adventure. Think Star Wars, Firefly, or The Lunar Chronicles (well mostly just Cress). The Hitchhiker's Guide took us to all kinds of crazy corners of the galaxy including a legendary planet that creates planets. Along the way we get to see and experience all kinds of crazy places and unique technology. You guys know that I hate travel monologues, moving around for the sake of moving around is something that always bothers me. But put it in space and I am more than down for the ride. There's just something amazing and interesting about travelling through the galaxy at lightspeed (or with the use of an Infinite Improbability Drive) and exploring places both mysterious and weird. And that is one of the best things about this book, the weirdness factor. It creates this intricate Science Fiction world with advanced technology like a book that contains all the information about the universe and computers to find the answer to life, the universe and everything (comment with the answer and I will love you forever). But it also seems to poke fun at the genre and almost appears satirical. Either way it was a fun ride and an amazing series.

And one thing that was incredibly amazing about this series is the fascinating cast of characters. Something you should know about me is that I hate aliens. It's a serious irrational fear that I have. I blame my brother for using an ET doll to terrify me as a kid. And for that reason I avoided a lot of Science Fiction novels for a really long time. But then I read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The humor in this series and the quirky characters made me realize it's not all bad. As far as the characters go, my personal favorites are the aliens. Sure, the earthlings are great. There's our everyman main character Arthur Dent is great and the perfect combination of curious and concerned. But the best characters for me are the hilariously dry and sarcastic Ford Prefect who is resourceful but pragmatic and loves a good drink, the lovable rogue Zeephod Beeblebrox, and the whiny "paranoid android" Marvin. The series also has a  hilariously villainous conquering alien race known as Vogons that I enjoy despite the fact that they are far from humanoid (a thing that usually gets me over my fear of aliens). And those are just the main characters. The characters in this series are what makes it so fun and enjoyable. Especially when weird secondary characters come back into the story in later books (the whale? Argrajag?).

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy also got me hooked on audiobooks. I listened to the audio when I was stuck on a train for thirteen hours headed to Rochester, NY (my hometown) from Providence, Rhode Island (where I was living at the time). And that was the best and worst decision I have ever made. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy first began as a radio play so it was the perfect book to have in an audio format. It was full of action and excitement, a thrilling plot, and engaging characters. Plus this book is a hilarious and sarcastic book that is almost satirical. I found myself trying desperately not to laugh out loud and failing miserably. People most have thought I was crazy but I didn't care, it was so fantastic! And after that every time I was traveling, whether it was on a plane, train, or automobile, I had an audiobook for the trip.

I give The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy a 9.5 out of 10

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. Whether you are a Science Fiction fan or not this is a brilliant and funny series that includes a thrilling space adventure, a creative world, and amazing characters. I would definitely suggest this book as a gateway not only into Science Fiction but also into audiobooks. There are amazing versions of the this series including one narrated by who was a great Arthur Dent in a less than stellar movie adaptation. Although be warned, like a lot of series some of the books are better than others. The first one is the best and despite that I didn't hate Mostly Harmless, the series does sort of fizzle towards the end.

Have you read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? What did you think? Do you quote and reference it any chance you can get? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. YES!! One of my favorite books of all time! I read this in high school, many, many eons ago, but it still sticks with me as one of the best books ever (and I did enjoy the whole series, but I agree that the first was the best!)

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  2. I've never read these, but I know several people who think highly of these books, or at least of the first book. I saw the film years ago and thought it was bizarre, funny, and surprisingly touching, which makes me think I definitely should put this book on my TBR list.