The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979) by Douglas Adams

I wanted to start the New Year with a book that was funny, comforting, nostalgia-inducing and most of all entertaining. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read this book over the years. I’ve also listened to the wonderful radio play, watched both the classic BBC TV series and the less classic movie adaptation. Oh, I almost forgot, I’ve listened to a few different audiobook versions, too. Yes, I adore Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s a definite 5-Star book for me. But I also realize it isn’t for everyone.

Geekify Inc’s HITCHHIKER’S I-Pad / Tablet / Kindle Cover

One of Douglas Adams’ greatest ideas was to write the reassuring words DON’T PANIC on the cover of the fictional book. How many of us could use this comforting reminder on a daily basis today? I could’ve made great use of it around ten to fifteen years ago when I was tumbling down my own self-induced rabbit hole, but that’s a tale best left for a never time. *insert winking emoji here*

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I have the impression that Hitchhiker’s works best for people from the United Kingdom. This is in no way meant to upset or anger anybody, it’s my opinion simply based on the kind of humour that permeates this wonderful book. It’s a very British style of humour filled with satire, sarcasm, the absurd, as well as being very self-deprecating. I’ve heard from friends from different countries that some of them “just don’t get it” when it comes to this book and the rest of the famous “trilogy in five parts“–I don’t recognize the supposed sixth book written by Eoin Colfer, but to be fair I haven’t read it and so it might be good. It just isn’t Douglas Adams.

How about you? Is it one of those cases where you don’t understand what all the fuss is about? Or are you a towel-carrying, tea-drinking seeker of the elusive Babel Fish? A fan of paranoid androids, ridiculously cheerful computers and bizarrely-named planet builders. I’d love to hear what you think of the book if you have read it, or any books from the series.

My review? That was it, I’m afraid. A rather unimpressive yet well-meaning Wakizashi Waffle trying its best to sound a little bit like Douglas Adams’ writing. I’m slightly apprehensively presuming anyone reading this already knows what this book is about. Just in case you don’t, I will close with my bumbling attempt at a Synopsis.

My Bumbling Attempt at a Synopsis

Poor Arthur Dent. He is having a bad day. Not only is his house about to be demolished to make way for a motorway bypass, his friend Ford Prefect has just revealed that he is not from Earth and there won’t be anybody left from Earth in a couple of hours. Ford has just enough time to take Arthur to the pub, get a couple of strong drinks in him, and reveal how they can avoid the world’s impending doom. Aided by the quite preposterously useful book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the two friends set out on a truly incredible adventure.

Original Cover

My Review of Book 2: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Thanks so much for reading!

-Wakizashi, *humming the catchy theme tune from the old BBC TV Series*


24 thoughts on “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979) by Douglas Adams

  1. Love the old tv show too, although there’s plenty of great gags from the books that weren’t used. Didn’t care for the film, but still celebrate Adams and his unique prose style. The words ‘go stick your head in a pig’ float back to me over the years…

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    • When the TV show first aired on BBC2, I was too young to truly apprciate it. But my big brother was watching it and I remember one time he was laughing so hard at something on TV. It was the whale scene. Young innocent me felt so sorry for the whale. I also remember the catchy theme tune with a banjo playing. And, after I’d watched it on a repeat a few years later, the wonderful cast!


  2. I think you nailed it as regards this being aimed directly at UK readers with uniquely British atitudes, at least regards the culture of the 1970s. That being said, the word’s ‘DON’T PANIC’ seem more apt today than at any time previous. Maybe Doug Adams could see what was coming, bless him.

    I love the book too, and have all the BBC radio serials on CD. You’ve put me of a mind to give those CDs a play again sometime soon, so thanks for that.

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    • I’ve been listening to the original audiobooks that some kind soul has uploaded to YouTube. They’ve made my drive to work very enjoyable. But the radio plays are wonderful, aren’t they!


  3. The humor definitely translated well for me and I’m about as American as you can get 🙂
    That being said, I found that I really needed to be extremely tired to laugh at everything, otherwise it was 50/50 whether I laughed or got annoyed.

    I have read Colfer’s book and while Mrs B didn’t like it, I thought it was a good sequel by another author. I laughed and was never like “that’s not what Arthur/Dent, etc, would do”. I will admit I am glad there were no more sequels though. Some things just need to rest in peace.

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    • Glad to hear you enjoy the bonkers British humour, too. It’s not always laugh-out-loud, more of a wry smile or shake of the head kind of thing. But sometimes I found myself properly laughing on my drive to work. I found the original audiobook versions on YouTube. I have the books at home and on kindle.

      Thanks for the info on the sixth book. I may check it out one day.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve never read it but I’m doing it as part of a read-along for a discord group in April. I did buy the complete box set for £2 from a local charity shop! I’m looking forward to it and thanks for sharing your thoughts, great read. I need to start catching up on your Youtube videos but sometimes miss the live streams because of the time difference.

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  5. Read the books, watched the movie and TV show, and thought all of it was pretty hilarious! Though I grew up watching British comedies and sci-fi’s because my parents were huge fans, so that probably has something to do with it.

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    • Nice one! I’m very happy to hear you enjoy the books, too. If you can find the old BBC TV show, it’s definitely worthy a rewatch. Sure it’s dated, but I love the cast and how inventive it was considering the (no doubt) small BBC budget. Your parents sound cool! 😎 (That’s a totally unbiased comment, btw.)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a 5 star book for me as well. I love it. I vibe very well with British comedy. But I must say, the more I read by Robert Sheckley, the more obvious it becomes that Adams stole whole parts of Sheckley’s work for his own series. Stole is a harsh word, but I mean it. Still, there is enough brilliance in Adams’ book to still love it and still give it all the stars.

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    • Good to hear you enjoyed it too. I don’t think I’ve read anything by Sheckley, though I know the name. “Influenced by” sounds a lot kinder than “stole”, but I can’t really argue that without reading Sheckley. What book(s) do you recommend?

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      • I liked Sheckley’s Dimension of Miracles. It’s about a guy from Earth winning the galactic lottery. His prize is a briefcase that talks, like the hitchhiker’s guide. He gets lost on the way back to Earth. He argues with a god, and he ends up on a planet that is being custom designed by a company for a client.

        I also liked his short story collections, like Citizen of Space. That one has a story about a lonely supercomputer on a lonely planet that has the answer to life, the universe and everything. But nobody knows how to ask the right question.

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  7. So I’ll start off by saying I have run into a number of instances where I tried watching British humor and just didn’t get it. But when it comes to this book, well, I absolutely loved it! I’ve no clue if I actually got it in the way someone from the UK would but I loved what I read, and I really enjoyed The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, as well. After that I went on to the Dirk Gently series and really enjoyed the first couple books of that one, too. I’d love to go back and reread these and actually continue each series. Did you watch Red Dwarf? That’s another odd-ball series I enjoyed.

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    • I’m glad you also loved the book. I read them all years ago and have re-read the first one many times. I’m also a big fan of Restaurant. I’m listening to Life, the Universe & Everything at the moment. I’d completely forgotten the cricket scenes near the beginning. Another thing that probably makes it a bit less relatable to other countries. Nobody in Japan understands cricket. How about you, Todd? My father was a big fan of watching the game. I have childhood memories of lazy Sunday afternoons with the sound of a cricket match in the background.

      I watched Red Dwarf when it was coming out many moons ago. It aired on BBC2. I Loved it! Especially the earlier series. I believe it has quite a cult fanbase in the States. And a big YES to the Dirk Gently books. They’re also on my re-read list.


      • When I was younger I’m sure I had no idea what cricket even was. I don’t recall ever seeing it on tv. These days I’ve at least heard of it, but I couldn’t tell you anything about it. I think you’re right, it’s those sorts of cultural references that might go over the heads of many of us, and even if we do a little research we still might not get the significance. Thankfully, though, Adams weaved in enough to keep me engaged through all his books I’ve read. And I did enjoy the live action movie, though it was a bit different. I think I also watched the first episode of the Dirk Gently tv series and enjoyed it, though I didn’t have access to any more episodes.

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