Ever wondered what the Ultimate Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything is? Read no further and head to your local bookstore or library to pick up a copy of Douglas Adams’s “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”
The first novel of Adams’s “trilogy in five parts” (yes, you read that part right), Hitchhiker’s Guide tells the tale of Arthur Dent, an Earthling who wakes up hung-over one morning only to be informed the world as he knows it is about to be destroyed to make way for a hyperspatial express route through the star system.
News that his close friend Ford Prefect is not an out-of-work actor, but rather a stranded alien from the planet Betelgeuse doesn’t help the situation much either. It turns out Prefect had merely stopped by Earth while hitchhiking through the galaxy collecting data to include in a guide for space travelers, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. As Dent and Prefect narrowly escape the destruction of Earth, a plethora of new comically named characters are introduced, from Zaphod Beeblebrox to Slartibartfast and Marvin the Paranoid Android. Hilarity ensues.
At first glance, Hitchhiker’s Guide seems like a jumble of aimless Monty Python-esque ramblings. The plot is all over the place. But as you progress through the novel, it quickly becomes apparent those seemingly unrelated bits are all interconnected. Douglas expertly commands the winding tale, interjecting the perfect formula of comedy, whacky dialogue and science fiction all at once.
I always loved reading as a child, but my fascination with the written word reached an entirely new level when I first picked up this captivating page-turner. From the moment I finished the first chapter, the book and my fingers were inseparable.
“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” is also a prime example of why you should almost always choose reading a book over the film adaptation. Much to my initial delight, the film version appeared in theatres the summer I first picked up the novel. But I soon realized the movie paled in comparison. It’s nearly impossible to accurately depict the vivid imagery Adams conjures through his detailed character descriptions.
If you haven’t read this uproarious series yet, it’s high time you did. However, I probably owe you an apology in advance, at least to your abdominal muscles — Adams’s dry wit and utterly ridiculous scenarios will leave you in stitches from start to finish.