Friday, December 14, 2012

Teen Review: Science Fiction

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
by Douglas Adams
193 pages
Science Fiction / Comedy
Book 1 of 5
13 and up
Reviewed by M.K., grade 12


Arthur Dent is a fairly average man whose house is facing imminent destruction via bulldozer to make way for a freeway bypass. In retaliation, Arthur lies down in front of the bulldozers to stop them, but is interrupted by his friend Ford, who tells him the world is about to end. This gets Arthur back on his feet, but little did he know the earth was being destroyed by aliens to make way for a hyperspace bypass. As our little blue planet is being sacrificed for the sake of quick travel, Arthur and Ford (who in the middle of all this chaos reveals he's an alien) manage to escape, thus beginning Arthur Dent's unbelievable adventure in outer space. Armed only with his confusion and utter disbelief at the wacky truth behind the galaxy's “hyper-intelligent” beings, Arthur comes into contact with the likes of depressed robots, galactic presidents, and the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything, while trying his best to get his home back.


Never will a time come when someone reads Hitchhiker's Guide without a big grin on their face. This book is the epitome of good British humor, but is written in a way for other cultures to appreciate as well. Douglas Adams has done a terrific job of creating conflicts for the main characters. The situations he finds for his protagonists are oftentimes incredibly crazy and unbelievable, yet at the same time we find ourselves totally relating to them. It's almost as if Adams has found a way to take funny situations in our day-to-day lives and increase them on a hilarity scale to fit perfectly into a science fiction universe. The constant use of irony in this book, such as the humanizing of aliens to make them out to be just as dumb and ordinary as human beings, was way ahead of its time. Which is why I think Hitchhiker's Guide can still be appreciated today as a modern comedy. It is, in my personal opinion, one of the best light-hearted books out there and should be considered a classic treasure in the world of comedy and science fiction.

My Rating: 5/5

Editor's note: This series was originally a radio comedy that was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1978. It has also been a stage show, a TV series, a computer game, and a comic book series! There are spin-off books by such notable Young Adult authors as Eoin Colfer and Neil Gaiman, in addition to a "science of" book. The sequels are: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe; Life, the Universe and Everything; So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish; Mostly Harmless; and And Another Thing.... Burbank Public Library has the published original radio scripts and all the books, also in audio. We are reading Hitchhiker's Guide this month in the 8+9 Book Club.

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