August 30, 2015

The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Ultimate Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy has all five stories in one (plus an extra short).  Starting with the classic "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", then moving on to "The Restaurant At The End of the Universe", then to "Life, the Universe and Everything", "So Long and Thanks for all the Fish", the short "Young Zaphod Plays It Safe", and finally "Mostly Harmless."  I enjoyed all of these books to varying degrees, but there is definitely enough humour in here to entertain anyone.

My favorite is the original, ,"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".  Fast moving, it follows Arthur Dent, a human who is trying to get his house to not be knocked down, only to discover that the Earth is going to be destroyed so the house really doesn't matter.  With his friend, they escape narrowly in time and start traveling the Galaxy, leaping from one wild adventure to another.  From Zaphod, the President who is more renegade than public leader, Ford Prefect, a writer for the Hitchhiker's Guide, and Trillian, another human caught up in the space adventure, there are plenty of beings to keep the book moving.

For the rest of the books within this gigantic compilation, Arthur goes on many more adventures, as does his companions.  I can't say I cared for the adventures quite as much, although they certainly had gems of humor in them and weren't terrible to read by any stretch of the imagination. You just tend to lose connection with some of the characters at times (except for Marvin, he is always consistent).  I will say that I enjoyed So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish quite a bit as well.  I liked Arthur's girlfriend and their discoveries while on Earth and with each other.  I was sad that that particular part of the story was so short.

Overall the books followed a great theme.  Traversing space with a book and a trusty towel and trying to survive.  There were antagonists, sure, but they weren't the main focus of the book(s).  The book was more about the journey.  The style of writing is pretty clear, although very detailed.  It definitely has some satire and there are other types of humor hidden all over.  I can't say that I understood every joke, but that may be because a lot were in reference to politics in other countries.  I did understand enough to be amused though.

A very interesting series of books.  You don't have to be a science fiction lover to appreciate these works by Douglas Adams.

The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Copyright 1992
815 pages