I know, I know. Where have I been and how did I not get around to this earlier! To answer that easy question: I have been here, on earth, and I did read this approximately one million years ago. My memory of this volume was corrupted greatly by the 2005 movie adaptation (another issue, I know), and I figured that a new decade was as good a time as any to try out this classic again. Also, I wanted to listen to more audio books this year, as I tend to keep podcasts playing in the background while I go about my daily life.
Good news: most of the troublesome things that I remembered were from the ill-fated film. Hooray!
Great news: Stephen Fry was an absolute delight. He is, unsurprisingly, a fine narrator. He possesses a fairly deep bench of character voices, and his Marvin was spot-on. It was almost alarming how close his performance was to that of the late Alan Rickman. More so than just Marvin, there are also echo’s of Rickman’s Sheriff of Nottingham (had to stop myself from typing “Rottingham” there- more movie memories) sprinkled throughout the galactic cast of miscreants, fools, bureaucrats, and adventurers. Were I to rate this book just on the audio performance alone it would be a solid five-star adventure.
Less than good news: Arthur is a terrifically dull hero. There are plenty of glib comments about all of his “what?”-ing, but I have lost patience for heroes who refuse to learn. Everything baffles him, but not because of the true wildness of being thrust out into the galaxy. He is constantly baffled because he is unwilling to listen to anyone- even those that he counts as friends. It’s exhausting.
I had toyed with the idea of finally getting through the entire series via audio book, but now I’m waffling with my decision. I want to know more, but I do not want to have to “learn” along with Arthur.
Well, the year is still young. I don’t have to panic just yet.