Mini classic review: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

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Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of the The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out of work actor. 

Together this dynamic pair begin their journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitch Hiker’s Guide “A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have” and a galaxy-full of fellow travellers: Zaphod Beeblebrox – the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out to lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod’s girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ball-point pens he has bought over the years.

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Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is one of those books that I believe everyone needs to read. I couldn’t believe it was published in the 70s, because it doesn’t feel dated — it actually comes across as quite modern.

The book follows Arthur Dent after Earth is destroyed, but he’s saved by his friend Ford, an alien who has been posing as a human for decades. Together, Arthur and Ford journey through space and meet interesting travellers along the way, including a paranoid robot, the former President of the Galaxy, and an astrophysicist that Arthur once tried to hook up with.

Hands down, the best element of the novel is the humour, which I think has pulled so many people to this series, again and again, and has become a modern classic. It’s satirical and pokes fun at the everyday monotony of everyday life, even as they’re travelling through space — because that’s the quintessential part of British humour. There were many parts were I genuinely laughed out loud — and now I want to continue reading the other books in this series.

The plot itself is wild and absurd, and so much fun. Arthur and Ford traverse the galaxy, trying to survive and meeting an eclectic group of people along the way. Adams also tries to find answers to the world’s biggest questions like, What’s the meaning of life? And he purposefully answers in really silly ways, because it’s impossible to actually know the answer — but that’s what humans do.

I recommend this book to everyone — whether you love or hate sci-fi, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a unique take on a book about space and aliens. Mix in typical British wit and comedy, and you’ve got a fantastic book on your hands.

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