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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1)
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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Don't panic. This is our August Classic Novel discussion topic:


The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide, #1) by Douglas Adams The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams


message 2: by Ben (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ben Rowe (benwickens) | 429 comments read it, lots of fun. It is a work that has existed in lots of versions (radio play, novel, tv series, film) - think the radio play which may have come first is the best version.


E.D. Lynnellen (EDLynnellen) | 126 comments If Adams had been born-again a Texan, this would have been titled " An Illegal Aliens Guide To Taking Jobs Other Aliens Won't Do".

Sorry. Scotch. :}


Deeptanshu | 120 comments This is one of favorite books of all time. Completely hilarious and an interesting plot at the same time.


message 5: by Ben (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ben Rowe (benwickens) | 429 comments In terms of using humor in SF I prefer Robert Sheckley (much under-read) and also Adam Roberts at his funniest but there is still much to love in this book and its sequels.


message 6: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 01, 2014 06:17AM) (new)

Ben wrote: "read it, lots of fun. It is a work that has existed in lots of versions (radio play, novel, tv series, film) - think the radio play which may have come first is the best version."

The radio play was indeed first. A US NPR station rebroadcast it in 1980, and the cassette tapes I made of that became the go to entertainment on long drives (laughter being a great way to stay alert when driving home from a skiing or hiking trip.) As a result, I've listened to it way too many times, and its quips have become part of standard conversation among many of my friends.

Just as seeing a movie before reading the book fixes your visualization, I really can't read any of the book without touching it in the voice of the radio actors. Which in the case of humor, is probably a good thing. (And it probably means my rating of the book is more a rating of the radio play.)


Andy (manicsloth) | 4 comments Read this for the first time last month. Loved certain parts/characters, but overall a bit too zany for me.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

I enjoyed the radio play more than the book...all the lol sillyness hit me just right in sound, but in words it just fell flat for me...I had the books years before I heard the radioplay, but could only make it about 50 pages in...


message 9: by Jim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2170 comments I'll have to try the audio book or possibly the radio play. I tried reading this when it first came out & several times since then, but it fell flat for me & I gave up. The kids loved it, so we have the BBC series & the movie, but I never cared for either of them. English humor is generally a miss for me. I never liked Monty Python, but did like Bennie Hill & ... what was the name of the 30 minute SF show with the funny robot... Drat. Senior moment.
:(


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

I know it wasn't The Young Ones

:D


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Jim wrote: "I'll have to try the audio book or possibly the radio play. ..."

For some strange reason the original BBC radio program is out of print (or whatever the audio term is for "no longer being produced.") It was re-mastered as a 4-part (Primary/Secondary/Tertiary/Quandry phase) "dramatization", with a mix of old & some new material and many of the same voices; audible has that, as well as the straight audiobook readings.)


message 12: by Jim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2170 comments Red Dwarf is the show I was thinking of.
http://www.popularmechanics.com/techn...

The above link is to the 50 greatest SF TV shows. Kind of fun to scroll through.


message 13: by Drew (new)

Drew | 11 comments It didn’t quite match my sense of humor, but I enjoyed it. It would definitely be a good gateway book to get people (including younger readers) interested in sci-fi.

Was this one of the first major books to blend sci-fi and comedy to this extent? I was born eleven years after HHGTTG was published, so my context for this one is a little hazy. :)


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

funny SF goes way back...try Bill the Galactic Hero, the MYTH Adventures series, Stainless Steel Rat series, (all to be had from the Amazon kindle store).


ChrisP Poyner Loved the book. I have a new outlook on the meaning of life. It reminded me of Pushing Daisies which could have been the best TV series cancelled before its time that is not named Firefly.


Matty Millard | 5 comments My favourite book ever! Funny, really clever and full of brilliant characters and plotlines. Its rare I re-read books, but this one I have, many times.


message 17: by Mark (new)

Mark Lein (marklein) | 6 comments I really enjoyed this book the first time I read it, and so much more the second years later. The absurdity of it all combined with the great writing and relatable "hero" made it one of the most enjoyable books I have read and had me reading phrases and portions to my wife constantly to let her in on it.

Mark Lein
borderleinpublishing.squarespace.com


message 18: by Rose (new)

Rose | 201 comments Best book ever! I've never heard the radio show but I love the movie. British humour is my favorite and Douglas Adams is seriously funny.


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

Rose wrote: "Best book ever! I've never heard the radio show but I love the movie. "

This was one of those cases where I found my imagination concerning what a guy with two heads looked like, or a Vogon or Magrathean, or Marvin, or a frogstar fighter, or any number of things, was far superior to what got rendered on film.


message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

this book raises a question for me...I normally like to experience a work in it's orginal form...in this case a BBC radio play...in the case of say, Star Wars, I saw the movie, skipped the book...in the case of Dune, read the book, hated the movie...does it matter to anyone else in the case of HGttG, or am I just weird?


message 21: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 06, 2014 07:41PM) (new)

Spooky1947 wrote: "I normally like to experience a work in it's orginal form...in this case a BBC radio play...in the case of say, Star Wars, I saw the movie, skipped the book...in the case of Dune, read the book, hated the movie...does it matter to anyone else in the case of HGttG, or am I just weird?."

I think when translating from a hot medium to a cooler medium, such as from a radio play to a novel, there's less dissonance than when going the other way (such as going to a hotter medium such as a movie from cooler media such as books or radio plays.) Moving to a cooler medium might drag some of the information from the hotter medium (such as, as I said, the fact that I hear in my mind all the dialogue in the book in the tone of voice of the original radio actors; or in the case of Star Wars, seeing the characters and settings as previously viewed on screen.) I.e., In the radio play you complete more of the image, and if you are already predisposed to a completion from previous exposure, you can simply insert it. Whereas if you have already completed the image for yourself in a book, moving to a radio play or movie is likely to contradict your personal visualization.


Maria | 2 comments This was actually my least favorite book in the series. It might just be that it took me a while to get used to Adams's sense of humor.


message 23: by Ben (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ben Rowe (benwickens) | 429 comments Reading Sheckley who wrote from the 50s onwards there are quite a lot of ideas that Adams seems to have lifted from Sheckley. Adams claims not to have read any Sheckley till after he wrote his novels but it is not that common that writers actually DO admit to taking large chunks of plot/ ideas from another writer.

Whether or not he did or didnt I do feel he does more than enough with them for the hitchhiker books to be judged and loved on their own merits but I would suggest people who enjoy Adams might want to check out Sheckley. Not all of Sheckley has dated well but enough of it has that it is really worth checking out. There tends to be more action in Sheckley than Adams in my view.

I do find it hard discussing Hitchhikers not to go on to discuss parts of the next book as to me I listened to the second straight after the first and various dramatisations have taken parts from the second book into them.


message 24: by Drew (last edited Aug 08, 2014 01:00PM) (new)

Drew | 11 comments Rose wrote: "Best book ever! I've never heard the radio show but I love the movie."

I saw the movie long before I read the book, and I thought it was pretty good at the time. I remember especially enjoying Alan Rickman as Marvin. :)


Fernando Bravo | 1 comments I just read it a few months ago. I absolutely loved this book. (I just wish it had a stronger ending.) It was a wonderful little satire, and I love satire.


Nerva Maximus (nerva_maximus) I love these books, I read them all many times over and I still find the funny. I do admit that the humor might not be everyone's cuppa tea but I do think it is a book that you at least need to try to read at least once! :)


message 27: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 21, 2014 06:18AM) (new)

I keep thinking of all the lines I have appropriated from HHGttG into everyday speech.


Most of them are from Marvin:
"Here I am, brain the size of a planet,..."

"Call that job satisfaction, do you?"

"Life? Don't talk to me about life?"

"What a depressingly stupid machine."
(I think that's from The Restaurant at the End of the Universe)


Adams also has a strange way with phrasing comparisons:
"It hung in the air the same way bricks don't." (narrator.)

"produces a beverage which is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike coffee" (narrator)

Those phrase are open to almost infinite re-use with slight modification.

Others:
"Now tell me how good you thought my poem was." (Vogon Jeltz)

"Interesting rhythmic devices which seem to counterpoint the surrealism of the underlying metaphor and leave one with deep and vivid insights into whatever it was the poem was about." (Arthur & Ford)

"You're so un-hip it's a wonder your buns don't fall off." (Zaphod)

"Mostly harmless." (The Book)

"Is it safe?" "Oh, it's perfectly safe. We're the ones who are in danger." (Zaphod)

"appreciate all their best points. This appreciation is usually military in nature" (The Book.)

"I wonder if it will be friends with me." (The whale)

"We must hurry or you will be late. As in the late __insert_name__" (Slartibartfast)

"like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick"

And of course, "42."


Michael | 28 comments I reread this a few days ago. I pretty much grew up with this series so it's like slipping back into a comfortable pair of shoes. Some of the humour is a little bit and miss, but there's so much of it thrown up there most of it works.


Nerva Maximus (nerva_maximus) I still think that one of my favorite lines from the books is,

"So long and thanks for all the fish."

I mean how unhelpful is that? On the other hand the best scene is in the first book hen Arthur is laying in the mud and the builder is having visions of mongol hoards, axes and fur hats...I still laugh when I read that.


Nerva Maximus (nerva_maximus) I aso really love the Dirk Gently Novels... in some ways they are even better than HHG.


Deeptanshu | 120 comments G33z3r wrote: "I keep thinking of all the lines I have appropriated from HHGttG into everyday speech.


Most of them are from Marvin:"Here I am, brain the size of a planet,..."

"Call that job satisfaction, do yo..."


Reading that made me really nostalgic. I grew up reading these books and enjoyed every single page. Actually i am a bit afraid to reread it now in case it doesnt hold up to my childhood memories.


message 32: by [deleted user] (new)

Deeptanshu wrote: "Actually i am a bit afraid to reread it now in case it doesnt hold up to my childhood memories...."

Suck Fairy phobia?


Deeptanshu | 120 comments G33z3r wrote: "Deeptanshu wrote: "Actually i am a bit afraid to reread it now in case it doesnt hold up to my childhood memories...."

Suck Fairy phobia?"

Lol. yes indeed sometimes its better to leave your rose tinted childhood memories in the past where they belong.
I had to learn this lesson through bitter experience and its not just books but movies , games and basically any other form of media.


Nerva Maximus (nerva_maximus) Deeptanshu wrote: "G33z3r wrote: "Deeptanshu wrote: "Actually i am a bit afraid to reread it now in case it doesnt hold up to my childhood memories...."

Suck Fairy phobia?"
Lol. yes indeed sometimes its better to le..."



I have to admit that this has not happened to me yet....


message 35: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary | 26 comments I loved the book and it's cynical view of life on Earth. Most of all, I loved Marvin, the Paranoid Android, with his 'Brain the size of a planet' comment. The film was OK, but I preferred the book.


message 36: by Nerva (last edited Aug 23, 2014 10:11AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nerva Maximus (nerva_maximus) Mary wrote: "I loved the book and it's cynical view of life on Earth. Most of all, I loved Marvin, the Paranoid Android, with his 'Brain the size of a planet' comment. The film was OK, but I preferred the book."


*gasp* The movie was horrid! They almost ruined the books, what did they do to Ford and what about Zaphod? I saw it once and was tempted to stop watching 5min in but regrettably stuck with it...only to remember that the brain wiping devices from men in black don't exist :'(


James Parsons | 18 comments Are there any of you who think that Hitchhiker's... started great and got worse, or think that it actually became better in some ways as it went along?


James Parsons | 18 comments I think that at least the first two books in the series are total classic comedy sci-fi- I was actually laughing out loud while reading them (I very, very rarely ever do that). The other books are great too but possible not really needed or could have been another series.


Nerva Maximus (nerva_maximus) I read them all at once so in my mind they all go together as one book so one is not really better than the other.


Bristol Bookworm (BristolBookworm) | 11 comments I first read it aged about 7 and it was wasted in me. But I tried it again aged 16 and fell in live. I've read all of it, plus dirk gently many times over and it never gets old.

I've also listened to parts of the radio play (mostly BBC radio 4 extra repeats) but I don't have the patience for them.


Nerva Maximus (nerva_maximus) oh my word I have to admit to thinking that the Dirk Gently books were in fact almost better than the HHGTTG. I just love the couch scene in the one book.


Lynda (okalrelsrv) G33z3r wrote: "Don't panic. This is our August Classic Novel discussion topic:


The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide, #1) by Douglas Adams The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams"


Where did you first encounter Hitchhiker's Guide? For me it was driving, and hearing it on the radio. Surreal.


Lynda (okalrelsrv) It got zanier as it went along. Which is saying something for a story that begins with the demolition of Earth. But I found it good to the last drop, myself.


message 44: by Phil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Phil Jensen | 329 comments Maybe my favorite fiction book of all time.

I think this is the most misunderstood, or at least misrepresented book in publishing. Every time a book is touted as the next Hitchhiker's, it just turns out to be Bad Puns in Space.

The humor in this book, for me, comes from the human condition. This is a book about life, the universe, and everything. It's about our place in the universe and the idea that we might be completely unimportant. It's about asking for answers when we don't even know the questions, and how to deal with the disappointment of existence. It's hilarious and absurd because butting up a tiny human consciousness against the vastness of reality is hilarious and absurd.

Naming your book "Starship Banana" and having characters fall down a lot does not make it the next Hitchhiker's.


message 45: by Alan (new)

Alan Denham (alandenham) | 146 comments Phil wrote: "Maybe my favorite fiction book of all time...."

At risk of getting involved in a serious war . . . the book was 'OK'.
But the book was an adaptation from the original form, which was a radio play (in about a dozen half-hour episodes) and in that form it is FANTASTIC! The original radio play leaves the book lying in the dust.


message 46: by Jim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2170 comments I tried reading this for years & never could get into it. I finally listened to the book read by Adams & got through the first 3.


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

Phil Jensen | 329 comments Alan wrote: "Phil wrote: "Maybe my favorite fiction book of all time...."

At risk of getting involved in a serious war . . . the book was 'OK'.
But the book was an adaptation from the original form, which was ..."


I've listened to the radio play a couple times. It was pretty good, but the novels have a lot more detail. I really wish some of the bits from the radio plays, like the Shoe Event Horizon had been built into the books so that Adams could have filled them in a little more.


David Kelly (davidmkelly) | 7 comments I loved the first two books, but felt it got weaker as the series progressed. It would be hard to maintain the level of the first two though.

One of the things that I loved about them is that in among all the zaniness, Adam's would throw in something that sounded crazy, but in fact was very profound such as the observations about the Ruler Of The Universe.


Alesandra (buyanearthquake) | 16 comments It's been some years since I read the books, but I love them so much!
I remember that I was pretty disappointed by the last book, especially by the ending. But it kinda grew on me? I don't know how to say it differently. It took a while but then I found my peace with it. In some weird way it is perfect. Like Phil said: "It's about our place in the universe and the idea that we might be completely unimportant."


message 50: by Phil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Phil Jensen | 329 comments Alesandra wrote: "It's been some years since I read the books, but I love them so much!
I remember that I was pretty disappointed by the last book, especially by the ending. But it kinda grew on me? I don't know ho..."


By "the last one," do you mean So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, which was a bit of a departure but very good in its own way, or do you mean Mostly Harmless, which was very pessimistic and depressing? I read somewhere that Adams regretted the last one and wanted to try adding a more positive book onto the end of the series as soon as he got himself in a better mood.

Sadly, that never happened.


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