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July 5th, 2005, 12:31 PM #1
July '05 BOTM: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
So did you read it (again)? Did you just lounge around this month and think about times past when you've read it? What are some favorite spots? Discuss.
July 5th, 2005, 12:46 PM #2
I didn't read all of it this month, but I did read about half of it in different parts. I've read it enough times in the past when I just need something quick to read that I really can't take reading it all the way through any more.
Some of the stuff really sticks with me as favorites:
1. The hooloovoo, a hyperintelligent shade of the color blue.
2. hoopy froods
3. The whale and the bowl.
4. all things towel, especially the (won't even attempt to remember spellings) beast of such-and-such which is so dumb that it thinks if you can't see it, it can't see you.
Those are just a few of the things that have stuck with me through the years as some of my favorite things about HGttG.
July 6th, 2005, 12:03 AM #3
I read the whole series at one point. I never thought it was funny, and it never did anything for me. I kept reading all the books cause I kept hoping I would get what everyone else saw in it, and would find the funny. Never happened. Some cute ideas, but badly executed/written.
So I didn't re-read, and I have nothing to discuss in terms of cute or favorite or interesting scenes.
I liked the answer: 42 that is about all.
Did I say bah humbug
July 6th, 2005, 03:35 AM #4
Like most people, I expect, I first read THGTTG in my teens. At the time I couldn't believe how funny it was. I especially liked the way Slartibartfast was too embarrassed to reveal his name, covering up with the phrase, "My name is not important".
Anyway, twelve years on, I read it for a second time (a couple of months ago) and found it still very funny in places. The humour has really not diminished with time and the infamy of many of the situations and quotations, surprisingly, has not weakened their effectiveness. The problem I had was the plot: analyzing it stripped of the humour, as one is inclined to do as a reader of SF, it all seemed a bit second-rate, like a watered-down version of a more 'serious' novel. The basic premise of a destroyed Earth and mans' journey to rediscover home (or atleast an idea of it) is a popular SF topic and despite the originality of the reason for the destruction of Earth in THGTTG, the story is only really carried along by the humour.
I suppose that's the point that Douglas Adams was trying to make, that life is concurrently strange and funny and even the most devastating situations are bizarrely humourous. And when you look at the characters, who are all sketched out with carefully considered comedy detail, it only adds weight to this notion, and that important events are often the result of comical misunderstanding between individuals.
I wish I could have enjoyed the book more but my conclusion is that I have been tarnished by the brush of serious SF and am now unable to revel in pure humour in a SF setting. THGTTG is a really funny book with some great ideas (especially the babelfish and the probability drive) but these days I personally find the lower ratio of humour to ideas of Iain M Banks's novels more appealing.
July 25th, 2005, 11:08 AM #5The problem I had was the plot: analyzing it stripped of the humour, as one is inclined to do as a reader of SF, it all seemed a bit second-rate, like a watered-down version of a more 'serious' novel.
A then-friend of mine at college, continuously waved this book in my face as a lacerating lampoon of "all that scifi crap I liked". What a surprise when I finally got around to reading it , that underneath the "wacky" humorous veneer, it wanted to be like "all that scifi crap", reaallll bad, and on that level, it was average.
Still, some scenes he handles with effective scale: the destruction of -er- a certain planet , and the trip through the planet making factory for example.
As for the humor aspect, I think I might have been too old when I finally did read it,to find it, as I've seen it referred to somewhere, as "howlingly funny".
I found it terribly dated, albeit mildly amusing and good natured.
It made me smile, but not smile enough to make me read the followups.
Last edited by ArthurFrayn; April 30th, 2007 at 10:13 PM.
July 25th, 2005, 11:32 AM #6
- Join Date
- Jul 2005
I re-read (probably the 3rd time) this a few months ago, prior to that abortion of a film adaptation, and managed to get as far as midway through book 4 where it really starts to tail.
The first 2 books I still really love. I guess it really suits my sense of humour - dry and surreal (learning how to fly - throw yourself at the ground and miss).
Marvin is my personal hero.
I think that it is correct to say that it is badly structured and not particularly original - but let's not forget, it did start off as a radio show.
It's more about lampooning the absurdity of modern middle class humanity and continuing the good old british dry humour of the likes of Wodehouse. It's got very little to do with sci-fi in the same way that Pratchett has very little to with fantasy. Adams used the toolkit of science fiction to make metaphors (disjointed as they were) about mundanity of 70's British life, British stiocism, the percieved pointlessness of a world without a God, life in an ever more technological age etc. etc.
I also think it's a good soft start for sci-fi phobics - although I'm sure some would disagree.
Adams was a gentleman and a comic and not a sci-fi writer.
It's a floored classic still.
April 30th, 2007, 04:59 PM #7
- Join Date
- Oct 2006
- Vancouver, Canada
Whew! Tough crowd! I loved the t.v. series way-back-when and enjoyed the book immensely when I read it for the first time. Some twenty-five years later, I didn't love it as much as I did the first go-around, but still found it immensely readable. Granted, it doesn't compare favorably to a lot of the "true scifi literature" this book club has read but, on the other hand, I'd take the over-the-top humor of Hitch-Hiker's Guide over exasperating reads like Downbelow Station, Accelerando, and Hammered any day.
April 30th, 2007, 06:51 PM #8
I loved the books in my teens, as did many. However, what put me off the books was: hearing the actual original radio broadcasts. I was in stitches for 6 hours straight. Now the books seem a bit lacking by comparison. So I'd say until you've heard the full BBC-accented voice-only version (no stupid cheesy special effects to get in the way), you haven't *really* experienced THHGTTG.