Published: 12th Oct. 1979
Publisher: Pan Books
Series: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (#1)
Genres: Science fiction
Challenge: Classics Challenge – #4
“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 Hitchhiker’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 a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers.”
When I said I was going to read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I received a lot of surprised looks. It’s probably safe to say that it’s not something I’d ever usually consider reading. So why did I? Firstly because two of my favourite book vloggers, The Readables & Books and Quills, had either read it or were reading it, and I trust their judgement. Secondly, it was only 99p (less than $1) on Amazon. And lastly, because it worked perfectly for my 2012 Classics Challenge.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is probably more of a contentious ‘classic’ than the others I’ve read this year, but I decided to include it because I consider it to be a ‘cult classic’. It’s a huge international bestseller and highly influential within its genre. In the forward, Russell T. Davies says, “…in my whole life, I can’t remember a book being so shared. We owned it with pride, so many of us – not just the elite, but the whole range…”. The love for this novel spans generations and it’ll continue to be loved by children/teenagers and adults like.
I enjoyed The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy a lot more than I thought I would. I’d seen it described as ‘silly’ (though not necessarily as a critique) but I actually didn’t think it was silly at all. It struck me as being very, very British. I was mostly worried about the comedic aspect, rather than about it being set in outer space, but I adored its blunt, concise, and slightly satiric humour. I loved recognising certain phrases and references – so it occasionally felt strangely familiar – and the little nuggets of genius and imagination. It also felt strange to think that the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy device is really just an early version of Wikipedia.
I felt that the novel had a personality of its own. I liked the way it was told and its extremely fast-paced narrative, although this meant I often had to go back a few pages to remind myself what was going on (and there was a lot going on). It also made me think about idea of being able to create luxury planets. Considering it is quite a short book, there is so much to take from it, such as stand-out characters like Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect and Marvin, or the hilarious quotes and scenarios. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is an imaginative intergalactic adventure, well worth reading again and again.