… This planet has – or rather had – a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.
And that’s how this book starts. A mad mad book. Absolutely hilarious and with a logic so warped that you give up on it, Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a comedy sci-fi adventure novel (if there is such a genre in the first place that is) that redefines all three – comedy, sci-fi and adventure.
It starts off with our hero, Arthur Dent, being whisked away by his friend Ford Prefect (who is in fact an alien who is desperate to get out) onto a spaceship minutes before his house and all of Earth for that matter is demolished to make way for an Intergalactic Highway. Imagine being so insignificant that the entire planet is nothing more than a boulder to be pushed out of the way in the whole scheme of events in the universe. Puts individual problems into perspective.
Moving on, Arthur Dent finds himself in this spaceship with another human being and a two headed President of the Galaxy who is on the run for stealing the very spaceship they are in. Together with a depressed robot (yes, depressed robots. You’d be depressed too if you are made to do menial tasks like bringing tea when you have the brain with a functioning capability of a planet) they set out on a journey to find, well, with no particular purpose at all.
And this madness is only the beginning. What follows is not just a plot that beats all the obvious predictions you can make as a story unwinds, but also a style of writing that leaves you part laughing part snickering at the turn of every page. Dry wit. At its best. Douglas Adams is my absolute favourite when it comes to humour and creativity. Read him once and you’ll know why he has the cult following that he does.Continue reading “The Story of a Hitchhiker and the Galaxy”