Friday, September 10, 2004

The Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy

This is minorly for everyone who hasn't read the book, and I must insult you roundedly for not doing so, and majorly for those who have. Its not a review, per se, so much as an appreciation, for such a wonderful, wonderful piece of work.

The Hitchhiker's Guide, by Douglas Adams, is a remarkable book. While it starts slowly, and meanders for a couple of chapters, right after that, it really lays it in, right after the world is destroyed. Imagine a book with the climax right at the beggining. This is followed by more plot twists than Dan Brown's collected writings, more unpredictable plot twists than the chap could possibly imagine. Most of the time, you aren't really aware this is a plot, but about 4 chapters before the end, things start to fall into place. Of course, in the last chapter of each book, things go remarkably wrong again, and you're back to not knowning whats going on. Thats the beauty of the whole thing if you're reading it for the first time.
I, however, haven't read it for the first time since I was 10.
So, what keeps me coming back to it? Well, the writing style, the pure atistry, and the philosophical absurdities disguised in the gags and punchlines. Besides, its a work of the most brilliant imagination of our time. Sample some of these lines, and ask yourself, could you EVER come up with any of these?

"What's so unpleasant about being drunk?", Asked Arthur.
"Go ask a glass of water", replied Ford.
Or the poetry,

Now I lay me down to bed
darkness won't engulf my head
I can see in infrared
Oh how I hate the night

Or even, the sheer brilliance of ideas. Take for example, the infinite improbably drive, or the total perspective vortex, or perhaps the most celebrated of them all, the Babelfish.
The remarkable thing is, instances that I've described above, they happen pretty much continuously during the book.
There are many people who will say he's not as good as wodehouse. Me says he's better. Far, far better. He's created a world of his own, while Wodehouse merely exxagerated a world that the aristrocracy of england lived in.

In short, READ IT! Watch the TV series. Listen to the radio show. Watch the movie coming out next year. And do it all over again, because there's a whelks chance in a a supernova that you won't love it.

What chance does a whelk have in a supernova?
None, that's the point.
But why a whelk?
Why not a whelk?

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