I read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in high school and remember thinking it was very funny, but I actually think I enjoyed it more on audio. Stephen Fry, who apparently is Jeeves in the BBC series Jeeves and Wooster
, is hilarious reading this book - this has become one of the million reasons I must watch Jeeves and Wooster
. I had always thought Hugh Laurie, who I also love, was Jeeves, but I guess he's Wooster. Anyway, I thought Fry's voice for Marvin, the depressed robot, was particularly funny. Fry is clearly a frood who really knows where his towel is.
Wikipedia is also telling me that Fry is the voice of the Guide in the movie adaptation. While Wikipedia may not be a reliable source for some information, I would think it was created as a tribute to the Hitchhiker's Guide. So unless I am mistaken, and they actually consider each other competitive sources for questionable information, I'm trusting Wikipedia as the definitive resource for information about this book, including all adaptations. It does, however, bring up the important point that Wikipedia could benefit from a good "DON'T PANIC" banner over its pages.
The audio version also made me realize how Monty Python Douglas Adams' humor is. I have never been able to make it through this entire series, as the humor gets stale to me after a while. It is similar to The Holy Grail
in that it was funny at first, but after it had been retold and over-quoted to me enough times, it was hard to remember why I liked it in the first place. As my friend, McKenzie, would say, it's like when people do impressions of Jim Carrey. I needed the 10-year break I took from it to be able to re-visit it and laugh again.
The concept, aside from obviously being silly and weird, actually struck me as rather smart this time. If you take away the funny names and reverence for afternoon tea, the creation myth that the story develops seems to have just as much validity as any other explanation of how our planet got here (because when it comes down to it, I think Adams would say, you weren't
there and you don't
know), and how irrelevant that actually is to a genuine search for meaning (or "Life, the Universe, and Everything", if you would). Adams does an excellent job showing how ridiculous, petty, and small people really are, and I think he's only part joking - maybe not joking at all.