Wednesday, November 11, 2009
CBII: It Was Something Yellow: Book 4 - The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Hitchhicker's Guide revolves around Arthur Dent who is a wholly unremarkable individual and a friend of his that goes by the name of Ford Prefect. Arthur's house is about to be demolished this morning to make way for a new expressway but it takes Arthur a good while to remember why he should pay attention to the yellow "things" outside his house. Of course, once he remembers what is supposed occur today, he promptly rushes outside, plops himself in the mud in front of a bulldozer and commences arguing with the local bereaucrat. Meanwhile his supposed cousin Ford Prefect (who is actually a not so cleverly disguised writer for The Guide) has recieved a signal that warns him that he should vacate Earth post-haste. In a moment of uncharacteristic generousity, he decides to take Arthur for one last drink. He proceeds to convince Arthur to stop his muddy protest and also, somehow, coerces the bereaucrat to take Arthur's place. Arthur and Ford adjourn to the local pub where Ford lets it be known that the Earth is going to be destroyed in about fifteen minutes. Also, he wishes to know if Arthur has brought his towel as The Guide is insistant that all a hitchhiker needs is a towel as ,if one has a towel, he must have all the other items needed for travelling the galaxy. It's at this point that the Bulldozers level Arthur's house and the spaceships show up. You see, the Earth is slated for demolition in order to build a new intergalactic expressway. The Earth is destroyed and our travellers wake up in a darkend room somewhere else.
All in all The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy is decently entertaining. Adams focuses on the interactions of the characters and the witty dialogue between them to carry the story. In many instances he'll back-fill the story with flashbacks or Guide entries in order to flesh-out characters or give context to their situation. There is a lot of wit and humor in this book but the level of whimsy is off the charts. In spots it seemed to me that the humour was a bit out of place and served nothing more that an oppourtunity to be funny. Indeed, the funniest parts of the book are the Guide entries. While I would chuckle at times within the rest of the story, The Guide entries are hilarious because they are totally deadpanned and serious which is more to my taste. Also, I felt like nothing happend for the first 150 pages or so except the characters blathering at each other. I actually had to force myself to keep going and that is quite rare for me. That being said I'm sure that The Hitchhiker's Guide is perfectly servicable for many people and I'm not going to give up on it either. I just hope something happens in the next book. The Restaraunt At The End Of The Universe.