Thursday, September 25, 2008

Time for a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster

Last week, while perusing a used bookstore with Pastor X, I picked up the book I should have read back in middle school. I watched the movie (on opening weekend, I believe, with, among others, the FG and The Scot) and loved it. But decades ago, I was still overly skeptical of science fiction.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was brilliant! It was sarcastic and tongue-in-cheek and irreverent and insightful. Just as his house is about to be bulldozed to make room for a freeway, human protagonist Arthur Dent's planet is destroyed by otherworldly beings to make room for an intergalactic highway. Dent is thrown together with a motley crew, including the only other human left in existence, a woman who ditched him at a party back on Earth to hang out with, as it turns out, the President of the Galaxy. Wackyness ensues, sandwiching fleeting but perceptive commentaries on various beings' social behaviors and beliefs. Spoiler alert: the answer to the question about life, the universe, and everything is 42, and Earth was a giant computer built to figure out what the question itself is.

So then I ran back to the bookstore and bought the second book, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. It picked up where Hitchhiker left off, with the crew on an odyssey through space and time to discover the ultimate question about life, the universe, and everything.Suffice to say, I thought this second book toned down the wacky factor a tad (but just a tad!) and waxed a little more existential (in a satirical sort of way). Restaurant did also have longish stretches where some of the protagonists wander around trying to solve their own identity crises (particularly Zaphod, the President of the Universe, who is unaware that those in powerful positions are supposed to distract attention away from those who actually have power). But it was all fine by me. It ended rather abruptly, though.

So now, of course, I'm hooked....

Xtina has kindly lent me her big thick volume of the books, so I now have reading material for the next few weeks!

1 comment:

The Common Man said...

I loved Hitchhiker's Guide. And (almost all) of the sequels. Reminds me that I should reread them before the final book is written/released (I forget who's writing it).