Monday, November 30, 2009

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is one of those modern classics that everyone references, but which I'd never read. And to be honest, until recently I'd never had much desire to do so. But the book came up in a few different contexts, so I decided to give it a shot. I found it to be an enjoyable, light read, but it's plot wasn't completely satisfying. And since I finished it about a week ago, I can say it is not entirely memorable either.

The book follows hapless human Arthur Dent, whose house is about to be destroyed to make way for a new bypass at the exact moment when the planet Earth is also to be destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass. His best friend, Ford Prefect, outs himself as an alien while this is going down. Since Ford is also one of the contributing editors of the encyclopedic reference book (also called The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), he's got enough space-street-sense to flag down a passing UFO and secure passage for Arthur and himself.

Through a couple of crazy random happenstances, Arthur and Ford find themselves on the cutting edge spaceship the Heart of Gold, which has recently been stolen by Galactic President and ex-hippy Zaphod Beeblebrox and his girlfriend Trillian. This motley crew finds itself on the distant planet Magrathea, which the galaxy had thought was completely abandoned. In their adventures on Magrathea, the crew learns the Answer to the Ultimate Question, finds out what the Earth really was, and they meet some interesting characters along the way. It's a fun ride to take, so long as you don't expect anything life-changing.

Next up: Emma by Jane Austen.

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