The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Synopsis
One Thursday lunchtime the Earth gets unexpectedly demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass. For Arthur Dent, who has only just had his house demolished that morning, this seems already to be more than he can cope with. Sadly, however, the weekend has only just begun, and the Galaxy is a very strange and startling place. (Audible)
When I began to effuse over this audio book at work some weeks ago, my colleagues could not believe an avid reader such as I had not read Douglas Adam’s classic The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I had not even seen the movie of the same name.
They had every right to be shocked and appalled – in hindsight it is one of those classic titles I really should have read much sooner. So for those poor souls out there that are living without this hilarity in their life (and not understanding all those geeky references in pop culture to the content of this novel) like I was, do something about it.
So, what is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy about?
It is about so many things – a book, the perils of bureaucratic red tape, the secret behind political success, the art of misdirection and the risks one takes by acting on assumptions… but most of all, it is a highly entertaining reminder of the futility of worrying and the stupidity of the inaction that sometimes goes along with that human behaviour.
Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet who’s ape descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea. This planet has, or rather had, a problem which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy, and so the problem remained.
Even if you have already read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, I highly recommend listening to the audio version narrated by Stephen Fry.
It is a relatively quick listen, at just under 6 hours, and it is sure to brighten your day. A more perfect match of narrator and written prose could not be found. Stephen Fry’s delivery of the dry, satirical humour is an absolute treat – listen to an audio sample.
In many of the more relaxed civilisations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, The Hitchhiker’s Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopaedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects. First, it is slightly cheaper; and secondly it has the words DON’T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.
If you are ever feeling dragged down by your everyday worries, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams is the strongest non-prescription medicine I can recommend. Que sera sera!
BOOK RATING: The Story 5 / 5 ; The Writing 5 / 5
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BOOK DETAILS: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Amazon); The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Kobobooks); The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (TheNile – Aus); The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Folio Society)
Author Information: Douglas Noel Adams (11 March 1952 – 11 May 2001) was an English writer, humorist and dramatist. He is best known as the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which started life in 1978 as a BBC radio comedy before developing into a “trilogy” of five books that sold over 15 million copies in his lifetime, a television series, several stage plays, comics, a computer game, and in 2005 a feature film. Adams’s contribution to UK radio is commemorated in The Radio Academy’s Hall of Fame. Adams also wrote Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (1987) and The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (1988), and co-wrote The Meaning of Liff (1983), Last Chance to See (1990), and three stories for the television series Doctor Who. A posthumous collection of his work, including an unfinished novel, was published as The Salmon of Doubt in 2002.