H2G2 Review: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (Pan)


30 years is a long time in publishing. It’s a long time by anyone standards especially mine as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is only a few months younger than me. And unlike me The Hitchhiker’s Guide can be considered to be maturing well.

It’s an ordinary Thursday lunchtime and Arthur Dent is about to get his house knocked down and find out that the Earth is also going to be Demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass. Luckily his best friend is an alien and they manage to hitch a lift on a spaceship before the Earth gets destroyed. And that’s only the beginning.

We get introduced to so many things here. The idea that you shouldn’t travel anywhere without a towel, what a babel fish is, the importance of number 42 and most all the words Don’t Panic, preferably in big bold letters.

Maybe there is a touch of reminiscing but I really enjoyed reading it in full for probably the first time. I have an omnibus somewhere so I might have to check where I go to but the books, TV series and radio play or so aligned with each other in my head they all mix in.

Does it stand the test of time for new readers? Now that’s a question?  I’d love to say yes, but I’m not so sure. If you’re a certain age, at least as old as the book, I think you might get it slightly more than someone that hasn’t experienced the obsession with digital watches plus the language of the time dates it slightly. But all the word play makes it funny.

The banter and the absurdity of it all had me chuckling constantly and even at 180 pages it leaves you wanting more. And you need find out what an Earth man eats at The Restaurant at The End of the Universe.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a classic.

It’s not a phrase that you can bandy about or at least shouldn’t use without good reason. And I have a few good reasons. Some have to do with the cult that surrounds H2G2 and some that surrounds the book.

The book itself was inspired  from a radio play, which was also television series, and there four other books in this inaccurately described trilogy written by Douglas Adams. Now I’ve always been a big fan of the television series mainly for the narrator and the animations of the book. But without that you’re left with the words of Douglas Adams. And it’s that strong foundation upon which everything else is built.

The 30th anniversary edition contains stickers so you can design your own cover. As you can see from the pic I choose to put a few essentials on mine including Marvin and the mice.

It also has a rather nostalgic introduction by Russell T. Davies, which does a great job of setting the scene and showing how exciting and maybe how deviant it was.

Highly recommended and still a comedy sci-fi classic.

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