I dug my first copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy out of my Christmas stocking when I was probably twelve years old. My dad had been telling me the story (mostly his favorite part, Restaurant at the End of the Universe’s “Meet Your Meat”) for years but finally gifted me a copy. I was sold on the cover copy alone: “The first in the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker’s trilogy”. I loved it then, I love it now, and I loved it when my high school put it on our required summer reading list (BOOM!)
It’s so good. It’s so clever. It’s giggles punctuated by the occasional gut punch that hits that much harder for coming out of thin air. My love for Douglas Adams was an easy predictor of my love for Terry Pratchett (I still call Good Omens “the biblical apocalypse as written by Douglas Adams” or just “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Book of Revelations”, you get the picture) but it still felt so good to go back to the origin of it all. I mean, this exchange:
It’s unpleasantly like being drunk.
What’s so unpleasant about being drunk?
Ask a glass of water.
Even a speed reader like me does a double take. The rapid-fire nature of the jokes is like Kimmy Schmidt as a book. It’s the pot of petunias plummeting towards an alien planet and thinking only, “Oh no, not again.” It’s a robot of such vast intelligence that it can only be dissatisfied with any task and sinks quickly into a deep depression. It’s Slartibartfast winning awards for Norway, and bemoaning that he’s now tasked with Africa instead of something with fjords.
It is 100% pure joy. I’m so glad I went back to it.
Bingo Square: Back to School