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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Mass Market Paperback – September 27, 1995
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Join Douglas Adams's hapless hero Arthur Dent as he travels the galaxy with his intrepid pal Ford Prefect, getting into horrible messes and generally wreaking hilarious havoc. Dent is grabbed from Earth moments before a cosmic construction team obliterates the planet to build a freeway. You'll never read funnier science fiction; Adams is a master of intelligent satire, barbed wit, and comedic dialogue. The Hitchhiker's Guide is rich in comedic detail and thought-provoking situations and stands up to multiple reads. Required reading for science fiction fans, this book (and its follow-ups) is also sure to please fans of Monty Python, Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, and British sitcoms.
Don't panic! Here are words of praise for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!
"It's science fiction and it's extremely funny...inspired lunacy that leaves hardly a science fiction cliche alive."
"The feckless protagonist, Arthur Dent, is reminiscent of Vonnegut heroes, and his travels afford a wild satire of present institutions."
"Very simply, the book is one of the funniest SF spoofs ever written, with hyperbolic ideas folding in on themselves."
School Library Journal
"As parody, it's marvelous: It contains just about every science fiction cliche you can think of. As humor, it's, well, hysterical."
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The story, at first, seems normal as a narrator tells us about a man getting his house knocked down. The reality slowly fades, as random names and phrases that the narrator uses are seeming very un-Earth like. It is present day, or around this time, and first set in London, England. Soon after, the setting turns into a fantasy, yet not impossible, world of aliens around our galaxy that we never knew. It jumps into this turn fairly quickly, and persuades you to keep reading with the constant action and suspense. Then, there are the characters. “The thing that used to worry him most was the fact that people always used to ask him what he was looking so worried about.” Our main character; Arthur Dent. Arthur is the one real character in the story that can be related to or understood by us, the human people of Earth. A stubborn, normal, fed up human that is always confused or questioning things in all the madness of the plot. Ford Prefect, Zaphod Beeblebrox, Marvin-all know what is going on in this crazy world since they are a part of it. A women named Trilian brings a mother character to the book, being human aswell but always caring and responsible during the adventure. These main characters are the protagonists, and the entirety of their journey is the antagonist. They all seem to be in search for something, but each character doesn’t really understand what it is or how to find it.
In the beginning, all Arthur cares about is his house. Shortly after, his house and everything around it aren’t his biggest problem. His home planet of Earth went through a dramatic change, from full of life to non-existent. His best pal Ford, who was secretly not from Earth himself, decided to rescue Arthur from his death. This spirals to extreme coincidences and near death-experiences as they hitchhike their way through space. They later get picked up by the president of the Universe, Zaphod Beeblebrox, and his two helpers Trillian and Marvin. They are now searching for the legendary planet of Magrathea, which was told to have been creating planets as luxury items. The ship searches, and discovers, the hidden planet, but finding the true treasures are harder than they appear. The randomness of their adventures and the narrations throughout the novel show a genius way of connecting these facts and instances into one story that captivates the reader. The erratic events somehow create a normality. It brings the reader into the story, teaches and explains all the events and ideas, and gives flashbacks so all the facts come together into one plot.
While reading this, every chapter has something that would make me laugh or force me to press forward in the book. Adams achieved his goal, finally bringing us a children’s book for adults. When explaining this to someone, it sounds like you are reading a kindergarten’s story. But when actually reading it, the elements of description and hidden pieces of the story somehow make the overall book feel more mature and more deep. I loved the sudden and random way he would explain, almost over explain, all the details in the story. Though you could say he was droning on and on, the way he does this helps the story seem more clear through the insanity. I enjoyed the comical way that Adams used to describe who people are without even the character itself knowing about it. Mr. Prosser, the man trying to knock down Arthur’s house, was shown to us as this; “Curiously enough, though he didn’t know it, he was also a direct male-line descendant of Genghis Khan..” The story later tells that the stubby male called Mr. Prosser gets very vivid, but violent, war scenes in his memory every now and then. Adams later uses this to explain Mr. Prosser’s thoughts and feeling about what he does or how he lives. Interesting ways that Adams shows his characters are far from normal, but far from normal is perfect for me and I appreciated it immensely. My favorite thing about the characters was having Arthur as the main focus. Arthur is the rock, the glue, the sanity of the entire story. I related to him myself, and he keeps you in focus during the book. Though I was thrilled with these parts of the book, sadly not every story is perfect. Compared to the roaring events of the rest of the story, the ending just didn’t meet my expectations. There just wasn’t enough action in it like the rest of the story, but I could see how a tranquil ending would wrap up all the crazy events in the book.
Adams has a very unique style, and it would seem to work with young adults who find themselves not usually enjoying reading books. It has that childish setting and overall feel, but with mature ways of writing. A younger child may enjoy the fun setting but have trouble sticking to the plot, so a more young adult would suit it better. The Hitchhiker Guide to the Galaxy is a comical, interesting book that would be great for anyone who likes science fiction or fantasies.
This travel guide takes you through a galaxy where even people who look like humans aren't Earthlings. (Well, there are two.) Many species are physically unrecognizable, but you'll discover immediately that many have personalities similar to annoying relatives. Ditto for the planets, the politics, and the galaxy's president. (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was written in 1979. You might want to know that.)
Douglas Adams was an amazing writer. In this version, he explains where he got the idea (a wet field), how much he hated writing, the number and mediums of the many versions of The Hitchhiker's Guides (it began on British radio, Adams being British and all), why most versions differ. Douglas Adams sets the story's canon. If you're not satisfied ... [shrug]. He did what he could.
I'm not a Sci-Fi fan, I'm a story fan who often doesn't know what genre I'm reading until it comes up in conversation.