Yesterday, to mark the 35th anniversary of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy novel first being published, Gerald asked you all to convince him as to why he should read the classic classic sci-fi comedy. And you replied in your droves!
But it wasn't just about the book -- with multiple adaptations and sequels, it seems there are many ways to enjoy Adams's creation, and you succinctly argued for your favoured versions. From it's "peculiarly British humour" to some serious hate for the movie adaptation, many of you are clearly very passionate about Douglas Adams's seminal book. A selection of your best responses can be found below.
Thanks again for taking part!
Why Adams's Creation is So Good
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy isn't sci-fi, it's comedy wearing a sci-fi dressing gown and drama slippers.
Sci-fi with English humour at it's best.
35 years!! Listened to this when it was originally broadcast on radio when I was still at school (and still have the cassette tapes of that first series).
Was a bit of an addict back then... got the books, got the LPs, got the BBC recordings on CD, went and saw it when it was shown on stage in London. Loved it!
Here's a fact for you... when they land on Magrathea and Marvin is humming and Arthur says it sounds like Pink Floyd... in the original BBC broadcast it is Floyd playing but when they did the official recording the BBC decided to put in some random synth.... even though Floyd said later they'd have happily agreed to it if they'd been asked.
"Time is an illusion... lunchtime doubly so" ... very true in our busy lives!
On the Book
Don't watch the film before you read all the books. Cliched as it may seem, the books are much much better. The film just serves as a fun visualisation.
‘There’s no point acting all surprised about it. All the planning
charts and demolition orders have been on display in your local planning
department in Alpha Centauri for fifty of your Earth years, so you’ve
had plenty of time to lodge any formal complaint and it’s far too late
to start making a fuss about it now.’
Read it, NOW, or we will start posting Vogon poetry!
Gerald, stop wasting your time and JUST BLOODY READ THE BOOK.
Definitely worth a read; it's slightly stupid, very funny and well written. Marvin is an awesome character and was not well represented in the film.
While you're at it read Enders Game by Orson Scott Card. Again, ignore the film which was also meh.
On the Film
The film is a travesty - Do not watch it. The books and the Radio show follow different stories. It is book that I will return to time and time again... They are both great in their own right and the final scene of the Quintessential Phase was a fantastic way to end it.
The film. Oh, the film. The film should never EVER have been made. It's an offense to Douglas Adams memory. Not even Bill Nighy could rescue that abomination.
The movie, wasn't great but neither was it bad. It did have some great touches (loved Stephen Fry as the voice of The Guide). It was a pale shadow of the book but worth a viewing a few years after you've read the book.
I was disappointed by the movie, but Douglas Adams had a lot to do with it and even wrote new material for it, so it's hard for me to hate the master's vision.
You're going to like the one you're exposed to first better than the others. That's why everyone who watched the original Star Wars trilogy likes them so much better than the newer trilogy. I personally grew up watching the newer ones and I think they're better, if only for the better visuals.
As for Hitchikers Guide, I haven't read the book, I'm sure it's fantastic and better than the film, but I did watch the film first without being exposed to anything else and I think it's brilliant.
On second thought, maybe I just like rubbish things...
On the Radio Show
The BBC radio series is by far the best version; funny, clever and irreverent. I always loved the theme tune 'Journey of the Sorcerer', recorded by The Eagles. Even the way the beginning it is played in 4/4, then at the end in 6/8, and of course it has a banjo in it - the classic musical solution to sci-fi - don't make it sound sci-fi!
Hitchhiker's always indulged an intelligent and bonkers nerdiness, that's what I love it for.
Get A Grip, Man! Radio Series first, and then follow them up with the (mostly) original cast continuation audio dramas for Series 3-5, then skim through the books. The TV series is so clunky (and the guy playing Ford Prefect on the telly was awful), that one can happily miss out. The records are quite fun as an alternative riff on the source material, also.
Dear gods. Listen to the radio series, then read the books. If you have time, watch the 80s TV show. Ignore the recent film. DO THIS IN THIS ORDER.
Listen to the radio series, then get the book of the scripts with footnotes, some of the stories behind the scripts are hilarious, especially the bits the BBC edited out, especially what Douglas Adams wanted Slartibartfast's name to be.
On the Sequels
I wasn't overly impressed with book 5, 'mostly harmless', nearly spoiled it with a spoiler there. But it was the ending that annoyed me, and Eoin Colfer did an OK job with 'and another thing'. When things are revisited in that way, they are rarely as good as they were. Lets just hope and pray Emma Thompson does ok with Peter Rabbit.
I agree with others that the quality level falls off after the first two books (which cover much but not all of the material from the radio series), as Douglas Adams got increasingly bored writing them and would rather spend his time playing with Apple Computers. The TV show is also well worth a watch and even the movie contains a few good bits.
The Best Bits
The bit about the polylingual Babel fish is one of many highlights...
Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mind-bogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as the final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.
The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist,'" says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."
"But," says Man, "The Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED."
"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
"Oh, that was easy," says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.
Wise old bird (Radio version only)
The Whale and the bowl of petunias
The footwarriors (Radio only)
Shooty and Bang Bang
The total perspective vortex
Any bit with Marvin, Eddie or the doors.
Definitely the cricket references and peculiarly British humour!
God's final message to his creation. That and all the cricket references.
Image Credit: Digital Cover Files