Before hopping on a plane recently, I faced the usual life-altering, existential crisis: What on earth should I take to read? Partly on a whim, and partly because I hadn’t read the darned thing in years, I picked up a copy of Douglas Adams’ sci-fi comedy, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, on my Kindle. After all this time, I have to say, it didn’t disappoint me.
The irreverent premise of the book follows Arthur Dent, a bastion of human mediocrity, through some incredibly bad news and into the silliest, most unwanted adventure imaginable. Don’t misunderstand me here; it’s the adventure of a lifetime—one that this reader enjoyed greatly, but Mr. Dent would rather have just bypassed altogether.
Arthur’s story begins with the horror of contractors arriving to demolish his house and build a bypass. It is a fact he was unaware of, and this dawns on him in steps, with fabulous comedic timing. Next, he meets Ford Prefect, who warns him the same thing is about to happen to the entire planet. Sure enough, the Vogons show up to demolish Earth. Luckily, Arthur and Ford manage to find their way onto the Vogon spaceship right before this takes place.
Onboard the spaceship, Ford attempts to calm Arthur by revealing a book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, which is sometimes (not always) helpful. It is also a source of income for Ford who is one of the book’s contributors. Arthur likes that the book says “Don’t Panic” on the front. From there, the two hitchhikers are subjected to horrendous Vogon poetry, kicked off the ship into space, and rescued by the Heart of Gold and its especially odd crew. The rescue was highly unlikely, but that’s the whole point; the ship houses the Universe’s one and only Infinite Improbability Drive.
Sorry, that’s it. I refuse to reveal anything else because, in this reviewer’s opinion, it would be a crime of galactic proportions. I will, however, recommend that you read this book. In The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Douglas Adams delivers wry humor, excessive giggling, and admirable intelligence penned in a language so plain that it sneaks up on you and yells “boo.”
In other words: This silly earthling—one who also needs to be reminded not to panic sometimes—loves it.