Friday, May 02, 2008

Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy (Book)

Once upon a time there was a book called Douglas Adams written by a guy called Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy. Lots of SCI-FI fanatics loved this book. It was later turned into a movie that was kind of random, nonsensical, not very funny, and pointless.

But this is a review of the book, not the movie.

HHGTtG (hooray acronyms) is meant to be read as a comedy book. And as such, it lacks any real form of plot such as the kind you would find in any Star Trek or Star Wars movie. For that matter anyway, the book also lacks any real conflict, tension, or suspense, and the plot is basically pointless until the last quarter when there is a small revelation that puts the whole sequence of events into perspective but then the book just quickly ends. If the book didn't have that revelation, the whole story would basically be, 'earth man gets world destroyed --> hops on a ship of random alien men --> they frolic around the galaxy for no apparent reason --> the end.' Actually, that's pretty much the entire story, in both the book and the movie, minus the plot revelation.

Since there's no real conflict in the story, the movie tried to fix that by adding in a whole subplot where the crew go save one of their fellow kidnapped crew members from ugly aliens on an enemy world. This didn't really save the movie, but just turned out to be a pointless attempt to add a plot to a comedy story that didn't have one.

Speaking of which, the comedy in the book falls under two categories: narrator comedy, where the author goes off into whimsical facts about this odd universe where everything is so ironic, or, situation comedy, where strange things happen to the characters or they make jokes and have quirky mannerisms.
Narrator comedy works fairly well, but to me, it easily seems to fall under the pretentious category and as such, I can't enjoy it as much while the author blabbles off about space ships and galactic wars about a misunderstood transmission from a planet never yet discovered.
The situation comedy works better for me, but most often times the characters seem to fail to be characters just to create these oddly comical scenes for the narrator.

In the end however, I would recommend the book, as it does have its truly funny laugh-out-loud moments, but as a coherent story, there's not much substance here.
Final Score: 8.1/10

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