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Foogs  (Level: 264.1 - Posts: 848)
Wed, 2nd Jun '10 11:24 AM


For years I've been hearing how great Douglas Adams'
Hitchhiker books are. So I bought the five collected in
one volume and saved it for summer vacation.

Well, after plowing through the first two books I can only
say, What the hell? I couldn't believe when I turned the
last page of the first book. What? That's it? What was
the point? Is the point to be pointless?

I have never been a fan of "humorous" science fiction.
I didn't like the one Myth book (Asprin) I read and didn't
think much of the Callahan's Saloon books. But they
infinitely better than what I have read of Adams so far.

Can someone explain the allure, please?

Mickeym  (Level: 87.5 - Posts: 1803)
Wed, 2nd Jun '10 11:31 AM

Don't panic! Perhaps the problem is the media. THGTTG started (says WIKI) as a radio show, and I loved the TV series and the movie. You might start with the movie. Maybe you would have enjoyed a visual medium more.

M48ortal  (Level: 248.2 - Posts: 3734)
Wed, 2nd Jun '10 11:39 AM

I felt the same disappointment after reading "Catcher in the Rye." Maybe I was too far past my teenage angst years for it to be relevant for me. I just wanted to yell at the kid, "Suck it up, Bozo!"

Lowiq  (Level: 201.2 - Posts: 1938)
Wed, 2nd Jun '10 11:47 AM

Michael, I think you read the wrong version. Try "Catcher in the Wry" by Bob Uecker...much more fun!

Dasfunk  (Level: 178.1 - Posts: 2307)
Wed, 2nd Jun '10 3:03 PM

Well, then, if you don't care for "humorous" sci-fi, that would well explain why you didn't care for Douglas Adams. No one would ever confuse Hitchhiker's for The Foundation Trilogy, for Stranger in a Strange Land, or even, necessarily for Kilgore Trout. If the people who recommended Hitchhiker's neglected to mention that it's one long comedy arc, they were doing you an extreme disservice.

Honestly, disappointment in the canonical purity of Hitchhiker's isn't that different than disappointment in the canonical purity of Monty Python and the Holy Grail as a historical treatise on the reign of King Arthur. Hitchhiker's is not meant to be anything other than pastiche at best, and outright parody at worst.

I thought it was clever and funny, but it's not literature. It's a shame you weren't aware, going in. No laughs at all?

Foogs  (Level: 264.1 - Posts: 848)
Wed, 2nd Jun '10 3:47 PM


I appreciate the way some of the sentences are constructed.
About midway through Hitchhiker's guide I got the feeling
Adams was channeling Groucho Marx by way of Monty Python.
They didn't make me laugh or chuckle; more like, "That's an
interesting way to say that."

I can see the parody, but some sort of conclusion would
be nice. Or do I have to wait until the end of the fifth book?

Dasfunk  (Level: 178.1 - Posts: 2307)
Wed, 2nd Jun '10 5:36 PM

Unfortunately, you won't find the answer in the 5th book, or in the 6th book to the series - an "approved" installment written by the Artemis Fowl author, with the "assistance" of Adams' wife.

Amongst those who take this sort of thing way too seriously, there has been a great deal of debate and discussion about the author's ultimate message/intention/motivation - you can read a little about that here:

Given the difference of opinion about the message/intention/motivation of Lewis Carroll in his own fantastical series, I don't suspect we'll agree what it is that Douglas Adams was trying to say in Hitchhiker's. I'm going to be very honest and acknowledge that - though I read prolifically - I almost never ponder the deeper meaning of any works of fiction. My allegory radar is permanently stuck in the off position. I guess that would qualify me as an anti-intellectual in some circles, but that's the way I prefer to read - immerse myself in the 'moment' of the story and enjoy the vacation from the suckitude of reality.

Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Wed, 2nd Jun '10 6:25 PM

Before I even knew what it was, my sister tried to get me to watch the movie. I didn't enjoy it much, in fact I didn't even get halfway through. However, thanks for the warning about the books, lol, I won't even go there now.

Calamari  (Level: 12.4 - Posts: 249)
Thu, 3rd Jun '10 8:08 PM

I have to say that I laughed my butt off through the entire series of Douglas Adams books.

To this day, if I need a good belly laugh, I just open any of the books to some random place and I'm laughing in minutes.

Jerrys  (Level: 188.4 - Posts: 334)
Thu, 3rd Jun '10 9:11 PM

I'm with Calamari. While I'm a serious science fiction fan, I still loved the Hitchhiker series. But then I also have a weird sense of humor, according to my wife.

Maybe the fact it's really a political satire in an sf setting makes it less interesting.

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