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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1)
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BotM Discussion - SCI-FI > Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy / Overall Discussion / ** SPOILERS **

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Greg | 1135 comments This thread is for overall discussion of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy with spoilers.


message 2: by Greg (last edited Oct 08, 2016 01:06AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Greg | 1135 comments The last 1/3 of the book moved it up from a pretty good 3 stars to a very enjoyable 4 stars for me. I loved the wild energy of chapter 17 with the incoming nuclear missiles, evasive manuvers, and the inappropriate song. And straight from that point, the crazy energy the book had built up never stopped. I was hooked to see what the answer was going to be, flipping pages fast as I read, and then the answer itself ... weird, just weird enough to work. Lots of fun!

The only thing I didn't like was the poor whale. I found that sad rather than funny as I suspect I was meant to. Just too much of a softie I guess.

The rest was great, very entertaining! I'm glad the length was what it was though. For the content, it was just right.


message 3: by Margo (last edited Oct 09, 2016 06:23AM) (new)

Margo Glad you enjoyed it Greg. I,ve listened to the first disc of the 3 disc set that is a recording of the original radio show. I first listened to the series when I was a student in dublin circa 1986. At the time it was amazing, different, fresh etc. Probably the funniest thing I'd ever heard.

I read, watched and relistened to it many times since. Though I still find it very funny. I find the very BBC accents of the actors are a bit grating on my ears, nowadays they tend to use more regional dialects. I am also noticing the innocence of the plot and the characters. It is obvious that this was written prior to the advent of alternative commedians such as Ben Elton.

A lot of the humour would have been influanced by the Monty Python crew whose sense of humour was frankly bizaar! The floating whale would have been right up their alley.

I think the introduction of the improbability drive as a plot device was a stroke of pure genious - it made anything and everything possible.


Greg | 1135 comments Margo wrote: "Glad you enjoyed it Greg. I,ve listened to the first disc of the 3 disc set that is a recording of the original radio show. I first listened to the series when I was a student in dublin circa 1986...."

Completely agree Margo about the innocence of the writing and also the brillance of the improbability drive. Glad I finally read it ... lots of fun!


message 5: by Paul, A wanderer in unknown realms (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul | 3540 comments Mod
I really enjoyed the book and tv show. Film was only ok but they got Marvin right.
From listening to Margo and other I would live to have been around for the impact of the original radio version. It seems like its a story that evolved in the telling so I assume it is very interesting to experience the forms in the order they happened.
I think the story and humour have aged quite well. It does feel very British but thats never a bad thing with humour.


message 6: by Margo (new)

Margo Yes, the brits do humour v well. The style of speech is very proper which I suppose provides a good contrast to the humour.
And yes it has bee amasing to see it evolve from a little word of mouth radio show to phenomenon it is today. I also hated the film ;-)


message 7: by Paul, A wanderer in unknown realms (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul | 3540 comments Mod
Alan Rickman was so good but everything else sucked. Except the opening song. I quite enjoyed that.


message 8: by Margo (new)

Margo Oh yes, I'd forgotten that song :-D


message 9: by Margo (new)

Margo Hope did you a print version or audio?


Sarah (sarahcd89) | 39 comments I forgot how short this was. I sat down and read it in its entirety yesterday. I generally appreciate the British humour and that when published, was relatively unique in the space. While I think it's aged well, I might have become desensitized to this kind of humor. High School me loved this book though and I do remember why.

As an aside, Facebook served me an ad of a t shirt with the whale and pot of petunias today and I'm not sure how they knew...


message 11: by Margo (new)

Margo The improbability drive at work again??


message 12: by Nic, Wormhole Technician (new) - rated it 2 stars

Nic Margett (enn_eye_cee) | 353 comments Mod
In contrast to popular opinion, I really liked the film, and I'm not really much of a fan of the books. Some undoubtably clever and funny ideas but it's just something that never really clicked with me. I think I struggle with written comedy in general tbh.


message 13: by Greg (new) - rated it 4 stars

Greg | 1135 comments Sarah wrote: "I forgot how short this was. I sat down and read it in its entirety yesterday. I generally appreciate the British humour and that when published, was relatively unique in the space. While I think i..."

I thought it was longer too Sarah. I did enjoy it (gave it 4 stars), but I'm glad it was on the shortish side. When it comes to writing that's mostly humorous, I find I enjoy it more in medium to small doses. I'll probably continue with the series, but I'll give myself some time between installments.


message 14: by Kirsty, Jedi Master (new) - added it

Kirsty Cabot (kirstycabot) | 1886 comments Mod
I just finished it. I'm so depressed and angry, because i didn't really enjoy it that much, and I wanted to so much! I think I just missed a lot of the humour - which is odd as I love Monty Python, so it's not like i don't get that type of humour completely. It's not that I hated it, there were bits I found funny, and clever and that I enjoyed. But I dunno, I think I just expected so much more from it, given the hype. But that's not the books fault. I dunno. wahhhhhh.
I remember seeing the film and enjoying it, maybe i'll give it a rewatch!


message 15: by Matías (new)

Matías | 41 comments I have to say I really enjoyed the film, though I haven't watched it again after reading the book. And I really liked the book. All the bits about the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation crack me up! I particularly love this one:

"The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy defines the marketing division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation as “a bunch of mindless jerks who’ll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes,” with a footnote to the effect that the editors would welcome applications from anyone interested in taking over the post of robotics correspondent.

"Curiously enough, an edition of the Encyclopedia Galactica that had the good fortune to fall through a time warp from a thousand years in the future defined the marketing division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation as “a bunch of mindless jerks who were the first against the wall when the revolution came.”


message 16: by Ed (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ed Erwin | 112 comments Paul wrote: "I would live to have been around for the impact of the original radio version. It seems like its a story that evolved in the telling ..."

I feel that the first book in this series is the strongest, and probably precisely for this reason. It was, I believe, a radio play, then a TV adaptation, then a book. It evolved in the retelling, with weak bits cut and strong bits reinforced. The later books were written directly as books without any trial run. And, according to Don't Panic: The Official Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Companion they were rushed to meet (or almost meet) deadlines. So, while I loved the whole series as a teenager, I felt then, and still feel, that the quality went down.

I do recommend "Don't Panic" to people who love "Hitchhiker's Guide", but not to those who merely like it. Does anyone here think that there is enough new information in The Frood: The Authorised and Very Official History of Douglas Adams & The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy to justify reading that as well?


message 17: by Ryan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ryan I agree this was the best in the series.


message 18: by Margo (new)

Margo Has anyone read the Eoin Colfer addition to the series And Another Thing...? I bought it ages ago but I'm too cowardly to listen to it =-)


message 19: by Ryan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ryan I read it just last year and only gave it two stars. It wasn't bad but it read like fanfic written by someone very young. It lacked the 'sophistication' (for want of a better word) of the originals.


message 20: by Paul, A wanderer in unknown realms (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul | 3540 comments Mod
I'm always wary of additional books written like that. Colfer wouldn't have struck me as being in the same league as Douglas Adams, or even close enough to manage it.


message 21: by Margo (new)

Margo Ya, that's what I figured. It was an impulse buy. My son used to read his childrens books and I've enjoyed a lot of books aimed at a young audience e.g. Darren Shan, Phillip Pullman etc. Never that keen on Colfer anyway.


message 22: by Roger, Knight Radiant (new) - rated it 4 stars

Roger | 2015 comments Mod
I haven't read this in years so I can't remember what happens in it at all, I'm waiting on my copy from the library and I'll chime in.


message 23: by Lel (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lel (lelspear) | 1887 comments Im in the minority on this one I feel. I didn't enjoy the book at all really. I felt like it was very unrealistic (I know that is isn't meant to be), it all felt to convenient. From someone rescuing Ford and Arthur seconds before asphyxiation to the improbability drive which would fix everything just cause there is a small chance that it might happen.
I found Zaphod completely irritating and really hard to care about and want to read more of. Arthur also was too meek for me, I feel like I would have liked the book more if he had either embraced the changes with joy/anger/upset, pretty much anything other than then mild meek acceptance that he did.
The whale also upset me :(

The humor in the book just wasn't for me. I feel at peace that I have watched the film, the made for TV version and the read the book and all round its got a thumbs down for me I'm afraid.


message 24: by Paul, A wanderer in unknown realms (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul | 3540 comments Mod
Not everything works for everyone. :-)


Narilka | 390 comments This was a reread for me. I last read it in 2010 and definitely had forgotten a lot. As others have said, the story has aged well and I found it enjoyable. It's also one of those books that has a ton of great quotes in it:

"Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans."

"Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so."

"The History of every major Galactic Civilization tends to pass through three distinct and recognizable phases, those of Survival, Inquiry and Sophistication, otherwise known as the How, Why and Where phases. For instance, the first phase is characterized by the question How can we eat? the second by the question Why do we eat? and the third by the question Where shall we have lunch?"

Plus some great concepts: The improbability drive, Babel fish and 42.

I have never heard the original radio broadcast. I need to see if it is on Audible and download it.


Veronica  (readingonthefly) | 803 comments I finished this last night. I'm not sure I would've liked it as much if I'd read it on my own though probably not. As it is, though, I listened to the audiobook narrated by Stephen Fry and that greatly helped to get the humor and utter ridonkulousness of it all across. A fun read.

Greg, I too found the part with the whale sad. :-(


message 27: by Rinn, Captain of the SSV Normandy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rinn (rinnsohma) | 3456 comments Mod
I can't believe I've only just read this SF classic for the first time! A solid 4 stars from me. Loved the first 2/3, but the last 1/3 wasn't quite as strong. And Marvin the Paranoid Android... haha! :D

Definitely very British humour that reminded me of the late, great Terry Pratchett.


message 28: by Paul, A wanderer in unknown realms (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul | 3540 comments Mod
Definitely agree with the Pratchett lonk. I'm a huge Pratchett fan and think him and Adams managed to write humour in a wonderful , very English way up there with PG Wodehouse and Jerome k Jerome.


message 29: by Margo (new)

Margo The Pratchett similarities occured to me also when I was listening. They were both original and innovative writers, both hilariously funny and their works shared a kind of innocence. Also, as Paul says, uniquely british :-)


message 30: by Paul, A wanderer in unknown realms (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul | 3540 comments Mod
Suppose the English had to get some things right ;-)


Veronica  (readingonthefly) | 803 comments Having listened to the audiobook, I missed out on how to spell all the names. I'm especially curious about the Slutty Butt-something old guy. That's how I heard it anyway. :-)


message 32: by Rinn, Captain of the SSV Normandy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rinn (rinnsohma) | 3456 comments Mod
Paul wrote: "Suppose the English had to get some things right ;-)"

We try ;D


message 33: by Margo (new)

Margo Paul, my hubby is english so he got 1 thing right :-p

Veronica, I always listen to audio so I never know how to spell anything ;-)


message 34: by Paul, A wanderer in unknown realms (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul | 3540 comments Mod
I knew that Margo ;-)


Narilka | 390 comments Veronica wrote: "Having listened to the audiobook, I missed out on how to spell all the names. I'm especially curious about the Slutty Butt-something old guy. That's how I heard it anyway. :-)"

Oh my. Yes, lots of odd names in this book that would be impossible to spell otherwise lol I think the one you're having trouble with is Slartibartfast.


message 36: by Rinn, Captain of the SSV Normandy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rinn (rinnsohma) | 3456 comments Mod
Narilka wrote: "Veronica wrote: "Having listened to the audiobook, I missed out on how to spell all the names. I'm especially curious about the Slutty Butt-something old guy. That's how I heard it anyway. :-)"

Oh..."


As soon as I read Slartibartfast, I felt the need to make a dwarf named that on Lord of the Rings Online. It feels right :P


message 37: by Margo (new)

Margo You knew that he was english but I don't often accuse him of getting things right LOL


Narilka | 390 comments Rinn wrote: "As soon as I read Slartibartfast, I felt the need to make a dwarf named that on Lord of the Rings Online."

Love it!!!


message 39: by Paul, A wanderer in unknown realms (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul | 3540 comments Mod
Lol Margo . Cheeky. That poor man


message 40: by Ed (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ed Erwin | 112 comments As soon as I read Slartibartfast, I felt the need to make a dwarf named that on Lord of the Rings Online.

That name might be taken. Perhaps try "Slutty Butt Something". ;)

Just kidding, but it is funny that someone heard it that way!


Sarah | 641 comments Kind of late to the discussion party, but i love this book.
So much of it is just so bizarre and odd. I just find it all very amusing,

I have the series and listened to the audiobooks for books 2 and 3. Martin Freeman does a great job with them.


message 42: by Rinn, Captain of the SSV Normandy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rinn (rinnsohma) | 3456 comments Mod
Even though I've never seen the film version with Martin Freeman in, I totally imagined him as Arthur when reading. I feel like Arthur's character fits in well with the way he portrayed Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit (slightly out of his league, baffled), so I hope he did well in the Hitchhiker's film!


message 43: by Nic, Wormhole Technician (new) - rated it 2 stars

Nic Margett (enn_eye_cee) | 353 comments Mod
That's probably a really good description of his portrayal actually, Rinn. I thought Mos Def was a really good choice for Ford Prefect too.


message 44: by Nic, Wormhole Technician (last edited Oct 22, 2016 06:53AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Nic Margett (enn_eye_cee) | 353 comments Mod
I hasten to add that I'm not usually a fan of Martin Freeman, but I did enjoy him in THGTTG


message 45: by Rinn, Captain of the SSV Normandy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rinn (rinnsohma) | 3456 comments Mod
Feeling the urge to watch the film now, although I remember the fans weren't too happy?


message 46: by Margo (new)

Margo I also like that analogy Rinn. Both characters very much dragged kicking and screaming from their safe little worlds to face the unknown.

Sarah, I've never heard Freeman read the book. For me it will always be Steven Fry narrating!


message 47: by Ryan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ryan Dent will always be Simon Jones, for mine.


Melanie | 1271 comments I originally read this book 20 years ago while in high school. It's a very vivid memory because I was on a road trip with friends who HAD read it before, and they suggested I read it out loud to help pass the time. I kept having to stop and laugh out loud several times just to make it through the prologue.

I've done a lot of re-reads this year, but this book (unlike some others) was just as good and perhaps even better this time around. Delightful!


Andrew I liked the book and the movie, but didn't LOVE either so maybe that made it easier to disregard differences as simply alternate versions.


Sarah | 641 comments Rinn wrote: "Even though I've never seen the film version with Martin Freeman in, I totally imagined him as Arthur when reading. I feel like Arthur's character fits in well with the way he portrayed Bilbo Baggi..."

I think that's what makes him so perfect for both. He's good at playing the "ordinary" person who finds himself off on crazy adventures. And yet finds everything and everyone exasperating in the process.

Margo wrote: "I also like that analogy Rinn. Both characters very much dragged kicking and screaming from their safe little worlds to face the unknown.

Sarah, I've never heard Freeman read the book. For me it w..."


I don't think he's done Hitchhiker's Guide, but he's done the later ones in the series. I'd really recommend them!


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