Sunday, October 07, 2007

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Douglas Adams

The kids and I recently finished listening to the audio book of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams. I read it so many years ago, and it was so funny to listen to it with the kids. I was anticipating all the funny stuff, probably driving them crazy! But they did find it very funny, as well, even with all the strange names and references to scientific mumbo-jumbo. :)

At the end of the book, the mice are trying to come up with the "ultimate question" to Life, the Universe, and Everything, because the answer that the computer gave them doesn't mean anything, and one of them says something like, "What about 'How many roads must a man walk down?'" I think that must have been a reference to the song "Blowin' in the Wind." So now I've got to find a copy of that song--I can't get it out of my head!

There are two versions of the computer game, made from the book, the first of which I remember playing back on our old Apple IIe. I think my brother still has it, too! I'm going to try playing both versions and see which I like better. The first one reminds me of the early games that were all text, like Zork II: the Wizard of Frobozz, which was one of my favorites. Anyone else out there remember playing that series?

The next book in the series is The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Our library only has book 2 on tapes, so I've requested it on CD through inter-library loan. I'm crossing my fingers!

I read the whole series as it came out, and my brother gave me Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency as a gift one year. I think I read The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, but I'm not positive. We have The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide, which is the 5 volume series, plus a bonus short story, which Eddie and Nick have both read. It's going on my night stand tonight. :)

I also really loved Adams' book Last Chance to See. That's a fantastic book about Adams' trips to see some of the most endangered species of animals on the planet, and not science-fiction/fantasy. I can't imagine what other wonderful and entertaining books Adams would have written had he not died so prematurely.

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Sean Tubbs said...

BBC Radio 4 is currently airing the dramatization of the Dirk Gently series. I've not heard it yet, but the best way to experience Adams' work is through the radio series, I think. They take each episode down after seven days, and the second installment appears on Wednesday.