let me say two words… BUY IT! Okay, hopefully you’re still with me so I’ll continue. The Hitchhiker’s Guide consists of five stories plus a very short story which isn’t really worth the paper it’s written on (no loss however, there’s another 800 pages in the book to be entertained by).
The theme throughout the stories is the life of Arthur Dent, a relatively normal earthling, quite reserved and in many ways quintessentially english, a bit of a ditherer and someone who’s life will never really come to much. The books tell the story of how he met Ford Prefect (a non-earthling as it turned out) and embarked on a journey throughout the known (and often unknown) universes just before Earth got destroyed due to a council mix up about intergalactic roadworks. His guide along this journey is strangely enough the hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy, a book so detailed that it summarises earth in two words. Along the way he meets wonderful characters such as Zaphod Beeblebrox, Trillian, Slartibartfast and Marvin the miserable robot.
The stories that make up this book are quite distinct although they need to be read in the order they’re written to make that much sense (and even then a few bits seem odd). At times reading the book I felt the idea got a little bit tired and then I turned the page and found something I couldn’t help but laugh to myself about.
In terms of who this book appeals to, well certainly it helps if you’re a sci-fi fan, although one of the appeals of this book is that it seems to have such general appeal, so long as you have an appreciationo the english sense of humour and perhaps a vague understanding of cricket.
I cannot recommend this book enough to you, particularly if you’ve never read Douglas Adams before as it combines all his major books into one. The imagination of Adams is quite incredible both in terms of storylines as the names of some of the characters and technologies he invents, my favourite being the Infinite Improbability Drive. As for the significance of the towel in the heading of this review, well you’ll just have to read the book to find out what that’s all about.