Saturday, 15 December 2007

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (H2G2) is considered one of the best sci-fi novel ever written. Also, one of the most hilarious.

Douglas Adams picked the right character to carry the story. Arthur Dent is the quintessential everyman hero, with an fairly boring life and no prospects in the romance department. One day he wakes up to learn that his house is about to be bulldozed by a road construction company.

In the same day, he learns that his friend Ford Prefect is actually an alien in disguise and witness planet Earth blown to dust by the alien Vogons, part of their plan for a galactic highway.

Now clueless, homeless and planet-less, Arthur find himself in a bizarre journey with a runaway president, a human woman who once turned him down at party, a depressed robot named Marvin, mice, bad alien poetry and dolphins in tow and a book called The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in possession.

H2G2 spawned several sequels and a rather dark ending in the last book. Many still thinks that H2G2 overshadowed the rest (a lot like the original Matrix movie and its two predecessors).

In this genre science and religion usually don't play well. Adams himself is a self-professed atheist. Taken with a pinch of critical salt, H2G2 is enjoyable mostly thanks to its off-beat humour. I'll read it again just for the fun of listening to Marvin whining about what's the point to anything. As Arthur points out, Marvin is not very much a robot but "more a sort of electronic sulking machine."


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