THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, Book Review by Matthew M.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams was, as far as I’m concerned, definitely worth picking up for a bit of leisure reading. With the weirdest plot turns I’ve ever seen, coexisting with endless irony, the extraterrestrial novel caused continuous laughter within its rather exotic vocabulary choice. I recommend this to anyone who can read and finds humor funny.
While reading, to tell the truth, I didn’t really find anything extraordinarily wrong or inept. I may have been under Adams’ grip of laughter, but I did do my best in keeping my eyes peeled for things to critique. There were a few little things though. For one, I never really got connected with the characters so much as to feel their pain as well as enjoy their adventure. It may not be something Adams really wanted or planned to work on, or even what was really all that necessary to the novel, but I felt like the separation could’ve at least been dented a little more than it was. If anything, I felt like I didn’t even need to learn about them, for, when taking in the scope of things, the characters were so very much alike; especially in the way they spoke. Other than that though, the idea of it all was excellently handled: a man ending up in a universe he had no clue existed finds his way to the Answer to the Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything…leaving the reader’s mouth agape in all ways imaginable; from being just plain lost (in a good way), to downright astonished.
It seemed as I read through the dialogue the book offered, I wasn’t gaining any information on what kind of person each major character was, but instead I was figuring out what kind of social man Adams was when around his family and/or colleagues. Every character talked the same dry-humored, professional tone the next person did, but with a little fluctuation when it came to Marvin. Here, I’ll give an example:
“‘Well, I mean, yes idealism, yes the dignity of pure research, yes the pursuit of truth in all its forms, but there comes a point I’m afraid where you begin to suspect that if there’s any real truth, it’s that the entire multidimensional infinity of the Universe is almost certainly being run by a bunch of maniacs. And if it comes to a choice between spending yet another ten million years finding that out, and on the other hand just taking the money and running, then I for one could do with the exercise,’ said Frankie.” (Page 132-133)
That was what a regular person was supposed to be able to say right off the top of their heads. Now remember, I’m speaking from just a decade and a half of witnessing, but I’ve never come a across a conversation in my life where someone talked this way in a casual manner. Now imagine conversations like this where every person talked like that (SPOILER QUOTE TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT!):
“‘Earthman,’ he said, ‘it is sometimes hard to follow your mode of speech. Remember I have been asleep on this planet of Magrathea for five million years and know little of these early sixties sitcoms of which you speak. These creatures you call mice, you see, they are not quite as they appear. They are merely the protrusion into our dimension of vastly hyperintelligent pandimensional beings. The whole business with the cheese and the squeaking is just a front.’” (Page 109)
Just another example of the lengthy, monotone sentences everyone in the Universe seems to have become excessively fluent in.
Through all this though, I think I’m being overly critical. It took a second reading to actually find something “wrong” with the book, anyways (plus it was too good not to enjoy a second time). I especially enjoyed the opening to Chapter 31, Page 129, which I’ll leave you to go investigate, because I just know you’ll go pick up a copy and read it for yourself anyway.
All in all, it was a good use of leisure time. It left me with a striving goal to become just as clever and vocabulary-smart as Adams (which was probably why, right after re-reading this review, I’ve noticed that I’ve unintentionally maxed out—what would be considered almost droll—my sentences). If you haven’t already read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, or any of the series for that matter, you guys are really missing out!