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#1763
This was my introduction to Douglas Adams. Before seeing and reading the book, I was unaware of it having been originally a radio play, and as I wasn't a big fan of Doctor Who then (I did watch the show, but wasn't aware of a lot around it beyond what I saw on screen) didn't know about Adams work for the show.

I'd heard about the book somehow, and I saw it at a second hand shop near home. It only cost me about 50 cents, so I picked it up.

For me, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was a real eye opener. I'd never seen anything quite like it. It broke all the rules I knew about writing at the time. It had an extremely loose structure, it regularly broke the fourth wall, it occasionally wondered onto random entries from the Guide, before going back to it's actual story line, and it was so damn funny.

From my early reads, I think the characters of Ford Prefect (the hoopy food who knew where his towel was) and his cousin the former President of the Galaxy, con artist and thief Zaphod Beeblebrox were my favourites, although I also liked Trillian and Arthur, although with Arthur it was more like pity for the poor guy.

When a friend introduced me to the radio play via cassette tapes (why do I suddenly feel old?) I think my favourite became Marvin, the depressed robot. Marvin isn't meant to be funny, but he just is. I could never understand how the actor who voiced him could get through his opening line 'I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed' without bursting into laughter, because that was my reaction every single time I encountered it, and believe me I read this book a lot (not as much as I've read The Lies of Locke Lamora), but quite often.

I also read the sequel The Restaurant at the End of the Universe when I could get my hands on it. I think I may have bought that one new. My personal feeling is that Adams should have stopped there. It's rather like the Lethal Weapon franchise, that should have ended with Lethal Weapon II. For me the 3rd, 4th and even 5th books in the 'trilogy' had lost the magic of the first two. They had some good bits, but overall they were disappointments.

Having said all that I loved The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It was rather like Adams just took a whole bunch of science fictional elements, tossed them at a wall, saw what stuck and wrote a book about them. It did have influence, too. For quite some time after the first couple of books came out any science fictional comedy you saw had comparisons to Douglas Adams. The original radio play spawned the books, and from that we got a fairly primitive TV show (the show wasn't bad as such, it was just in the early 80's TV had neither the technology or the budget to really do the concept justice, I also thought Trillian was badly miscast), a movie (the concepts for me just didn't translate to the visual medium, because the film's redeeming quality was the voice of Alan Rickman as Marvin).

It's a great reread, too, because it's not all that long and doesn't take long to get through. I often found when I reread it I had to also read The Restaurant at the End of the Uinverse, which wasn't so much a sequel as a direct continuation.

It's a book to go to whenever you need a laugh and are feeling a bit nostalgic for the science fiction of the late 70's and early 80's.
ScarletBea, lejays17, Peat and 1 others liked this
#1769
DrNefario wrote: July 4th, 2024, 15:37 This is one I had on my provisional list.

I think I encountered the TV series first. My memory is that I read the book(s?) while it was showing, and overtook the TV version. I could be imagining that, though.
It's worth having a read of Dr N. It's short and moves quickly, so you'd get through it easily. I read it in the early 80's, not that long after it came out, so I can't vouch for how well it's aged.
#1773
Elfy wrote: July 5th, 2024, 05:24
DrNefario wrote: July 4th, 2024, 15:37 This is one I had on my provisional list.

I think I encountered the TV series first. My memory is that I read the book(s?) while it was showing, and overtook the TV version. I could be imagining that, though.
It's worth having a read of Dr N. It's short and moves quickly, so you'd get through it easily. I read it in the early 80's, not that long after it came out, so I can't vouch for how well it's aged.
I have definitely read them, multiple times. It's whether I read them concurrently with the TV broadcast that I'm not sure about. I don't think I currently own any of them, although I have the Dirk Gentlys. I guess my brother must have claimed them, or they were lent out and never recovered.

There was a lot of good stuff in book 3, although it did feel unnecessary. I don't really care for 4 and 5.

I have never heard the original radio version.
#1774
I’ve just remembered something about Hitch-hikers Guide that may actually have contributed to my lack on interest in it.

My aunt gave me So Lomg and Thanks for All the Fish for a birthday / Christmas gift - and I’m pretty sure I hadn’t read HHG at that point, so I had no idea what it was all about. So that has probably coloured my opinions to the negative.

I preferred the Dirk Gently books, and knowing now what I didn’t when I watched them originally, you can see the influences in the episodes of Doctor Who he either wrote or produced.
#1782
DrNefario wrote: July 5th, 2024, 13:48
Elfy wrote: July 5th, 2024, 05:24
DrNefario wrote: July 4th, 2024, 15:37 This is one I had on my provisional list.

I think I encountered the TV series first. My memory is that I read the book(s?) while it was showing, and overtook the TV version. I could be imagining that, though.
It's worth having a read of Dr N. It's short and moves quickly, so you'd get through it easily. I read it in the early 80's, not that long after it came out, so I can't vouch for how well it's aged.
I have definitely read them, multiple times. It's whether I read them concurrently with the TV broadcast that I'm not sure about. I don't think I currently own any of them, although I have the Dirk Gentlys. I guess my brother must have claimed them, or they were lent out and never recovered.

There was a lot of good stuff in book 3, although it did feel unnecessary. I don't really care for 4 and 5.

I have never heard the original radio version.
I haven't listened to the radio version for years. I suspect that if I did so again, it may not have aged that well.