Title: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Genre (Text Type): Humour / Science Fiction

Author: Douglas Adams

Rating: ***

Review / Response

"Hitchhikers" begins with the end of the world. Literally. The book opens with the earth being destroyed by an alien race to make way for an intergalactic bypass.

The main character (Arthur Dent), is rescued by Ford Prefect - an alien travel writer who is researching Earth for the electronic travel guide 'the Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy'. The book goes on to follow Arthur's travels and has become something of a classic amongst Computer Scientists and other 'nerds'.

Whilst the book was written long before the advent of the internet, the 'Guide' looks suspicioulsy like an internet connected computer that runs on solar power. As in, the guide includes a massive amount of immediately availble (but sometimes supsect) information.

The book is not as good as its cult status would lead one to believe. Whilst it has some memorable quotes and a number of cool ideas the overall plot is weak and often the jokes / humour are simply not all that funny. This book may well appeal to a younger audience but for me it was quite a disappointment.


Having said that, I identified with Ford Prefect (the alien in the story). As an immigrant to New Zealand and something of a loner, I have always felt a bit like the outsider looking in. Like Ford, I tend to take people literally and often struggle to relate with them. In addition, both Ford and I are pragmatic and at times brutally honest. The book probably appeals to other 'geeks' and 'nerds' for similar reasons. Not only does it feature the type of 'toys' which we like, it has a cynical outlook which is oddly refreshing.