Thursday, 19 May 2011

The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams
First published by Pan Books in 1979 (this edition by Pan Books in 2009)

Book #1 in The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy series

Description: (from Goodreads)
It's an ordinary Thursday lunchtime for Arthur Dent until his house gets demolished. The Earth follows shortly afterwards to make way for a new hyperspace bypass and his best friend has just announced that he's an alien. At this moment, they're hurtling through space with nothing but their towels and an innocuous-looking book inscribed with the big, friendly words:
The weekend has only just begun. 
This title is Volume One in the Trilogy of Five.

My thoughts:
The first time I ever heard of this book was when the film was made. I remember my friend Penny saying that she had watched the film and that she hadn't really liked it. (Then again, she grew up in America and doesn't particularly like British films, probably because of the accent. Fortunately, she likes me, despite my British accent!) Anyway, I stumbled upon this book in the bookshop a couple of years ago and decided to buy it as a present for my brother. It had been sitting on the bookshelf since the day after he opened his present. I only recently found the DVD for the film at my local video club and decided I wanted to try watching the film myself.

Well, I did and I ended up really enjoying the film! I thought the cast was great! Martin Freeman was really good in the role of Arthur Dent and I loved the voice of Alan Rickman as Marvin the Paranoid Android! But I'm not here to review the film. 

After watching the film, I decided to try reading the book. It's not a very long one after all. As is obvious from the blurb, this is the story of Arthur Dent, the only man to survive the demolition of the planet Earth, due to his friend Ford Prefect. In the book, we follow Arthur on his journey across the universe, a place he never expected he would be in. (Well, who would?)

This book really is a weird read. The story is great and it obviously required a great deal of imagination to come up with. The book is very funny in places. And that is not only because of the things that happen in the course of the story, but also because of the way the author chose to describe them. A few of my favourite parts in the book were the ones where we could read excerpts from The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy and the dialogues between Marvin the Paranoid Android and the rest of the characters! You could tell, from the words the author chose and from the way he formed the sentences that Marvin really was depressed (and with a very bad case of depression at that!). All the characters in this book were rather well developed (for a book that is not really that long) and I enjoyed that. 

The book does tend to lag in certain parts, with not much really happening, or just because of a certain dialogue or description going on for a little too long, but I didn't find it so bad that I couldn't carry on reading the book. I would like to add here that I think I enjoyed the book more having already seen the film. I feel that the director of the film did a fantastic job of recreating the world in the book. The images from the film kept coming to mind all the time while I was reading the book actually, making me laugh out at certain moments (which I might not have done had I not seen the film beforehand). All in all, I think I prefered the film to the book, which is not something that happens often.

Rating: 7/10

Douglas Noël Adams was an English author, comic radio dramatist, and musician. He is best known as the author of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. This series began on radio, and developed into a "trilogy" of five books (which sold more than fifteen million copies during his lifetime) as well as a television series, a comic book series, a computer game, and a feature film that was completed after Adams' death in 2001. His Trilogy of Five contains - other than The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy - the following books:
He also wrote two books in the Dirk Gently series. A posthumous collection of essays and other material, including an incomplete novel, was published as The Salmon of Doubt in 2002.

You can find out more about Douglas Adams and his books here:

Read for the: 100 Books In A Year Challenge 2011, British Books Challenge 2011, 1st In A Series Challenge


  1. Great review (:

    I need to read this book one day because I completely loved the movie, too. Do you ever find that if you watch the movie first you actually prefer it to the book? I mean, like, not just in this case

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