Book of the Week #5:

Life, the Universe and Everything,

by Douglas Adams

“The point is, you see,” said Ford, “that there is no point in driving yourself mad trying to stop yourself going mad. You might just as well give in and save your sanity for later.”

Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is a perfectly valid point…

The longest and most destructive party ever held is now into its fourth generation and still no one shows any signs of leaving. Somebody did once look at his watch, but that was eleven years ago now, and there has been no follow up.

Yes! Yes! We are finally here!

This is, truly, one of the very few books that made me laugh so hard that I actually rolled onto the floor, laughing!

It is partly this book that really defined my sense of humour… Or, according to several of my friends, the lack thereof…

This is also, in my fairly incomplete knowledge, the shortest book to have taken my sister over a decade to complete. Yeah, an extremely mind-numbing rate of less than 15 pages per year…

Also, you should probably expect a considerably larger number of exclamations in this post than I usually do. I’m just so excited!

To be honest, I am quite proud of myself for having used only two quotes from this book, neither of the two being a page-long, fairly insane conversation between, or an equally insane entry from the Guide. It was not easy…

Okay, anyway, let us talk about the book itself. Douglas Adams described it as the “volume three of the five part trilogy.” Yeah, I didn’t quite get that…

So, what is the book about, one might wonder… The title does sum that up quite well, and revealing anymore would probably count as a spoiler…

Upon a careful reread, you know, when your mind is actually free enough to focus on the narrative style, it is not hard to deduce that the books are based on a radio programme. And a very British radio programme, at that… Yeah, people unfamiliar with British culture would probably just not get the jokes…

Considering that, it is not surprising that the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy movie did not do as well as one would have hoped, despite the very promising cast. Remove Adams’ unique narration , and what you’re left with is a bunch of goofy, lumpy bits of comedy and sci-fi, which, in itself, is not that fun.

In movies, as in milkshakes, having good ingredients isn’t enough; consistency is of great importance…

Oddly enough, I happened to read this book first, years before I finally got my hands on The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and in my opinion, that is a fun way to read this series… This is how you go:

#3: Life, the Universe and Everything
#5: Mostly Harmless
#1: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
#2: The Restaraunt at the End of the Universe
#4: So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

Do try it…

On a slightly serious note, though, it pains me to admit that, while writing, the thing I find completely impossible is to add humour without compromising the material. And, while I often blame it on my choice of narrative style, it is an aspect that I certainly need to work on.

It is certainly not a surprise that this series is a favourite among readers of science-fiction, and even several real and fictional scientists, including Dr. Leonard Hofstadter. If you enjoy the genre, and have lived in India, or England (or some other very particular countries that I cannot name without revealing significant plot points), and haven’t read it yet, I would strongly urge you to complete the entire series this summer.

You can find the e-book, here:

After you do finish it, you probably might want to speculate over the question.

And if someone could explain why I see David Tennant’s face every time I read of Ford Prefect, that would be a big help…

I also happen to see Martin Freeman’s face every time I read of Arthur Dent, but evidently I wasn’t the only one…

Anyway, that is all I will say, tonight…

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.

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Published by

Yashas Mahajan

Author of Arrkaya: Origins, now available online... Increasingly being referred to as The Writer Guy...

8 thoughts on “Book of the Week #5:”

  1. Yes, I still haven’t finished this book. Every time I pick it up, I HAVE TO restart from page one. If you have read it, you probably know why.

    Yes, I would blame the state of my conceptual humour on this one. You can too.

    Yes, this guy is right when he says that without Douglas Adams narrating it the way he does, the story is quite ridiculous. I ended up picking up this writing style and using it repeatedly in my test papers. Those were supposed to be light hearted technical conversations, not sure why I didn’t do very well…

    About that, my Résumé uses the same style. I don’t get many job offers anymore, I wonder why!

    Read this one. We might end up getting along someday!

    So long!

    And thanks for all the fish.

    Like

    1. Actually, such a style of narration works only if the reader is smart, and assumes that the writer is smart…

      Otherwise, what was supposed to be funny ends up sounding just mind-numbingly stupid…

      And that itself explains a lot, does it not?

      Like

      1. Precisely. Smarts versus Smarts.

        But when you do that in a test, it’s like this –
        “This is your test paper.”
        “Yours too.”

        What kind of a person would disapprove?

        Like

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