Author: Douglas Adams
# pages: 224
Date published: 1979
5-star rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Would you recommend it: Yes
In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, homebody Arthur Dent is rescued from the planet Earth seconds before it is demolished by a race of vicious, bureaucratic aliens, in order to make space for an inter-galactic freeway. And so the novel begins, with Earth and almost all of humanity destroyed. The two main characters, Arthur and his alien savior Ford Prefect, are sent into outer space where they end up on a spaceship with an eccentric President of the Galaxy, a human girl Arthur once met at a party and a very depressed robot.
It would be a shaky, even depressing plot if not for Douglas Adams’s writing style. The surrealist humor Adams employs, with its creativity and witticism, reminded me of Monte Python; although everything is turned upside-down, the humor still works. In these pages you can find everything from an infinitely useful translating fish to the answer to the meaning of life; each is treated in the same, ingenious way. While this work is science fiction, the style of writing and the light content sets it apart from most other literature in the genre. You need not necessarily like science fiction to enjoy this book. It’s also a fairly quick read, though at times the author’s habit of going off on mini-tangents about certain topics in his “universe,” to further the humor, can be a little distracting.
Overall, though, I definitely recommend The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s a light, humorous, extremely creative read, and definitely a nice change of pace. It’s also the first book in a series, so if you enjoy the first, definitely check out the later books.
Review by Julia Walker, A&S '16