Monday, 10 July 2017

#14 A trilogy or series

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Series by Douglas Adams

Now this book – it is a trilogy of five:D

So, from the start we can assume that it will be something that defies categorization and indeed is something that carries an infectious air of mystery around it.

‘The Hitchiker’s Series’ is a highly popular sci-fi comic/adventure/satiric tale written by Douglas Adams, as a radio play initially, in 1978. It was later adapted into a novel and then into a movie as well (a pretty good one too!).

 It is either bound all together in one complete volume or if it comes in individual books, these are the titles you need to look out for:
1.The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy 
      2.The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
      3.Life, the Universe and Everything
      4.So long, and thanks for all the fish
      5.Mostly Harmless

It is a great, crazy, funny story which begins very humbly. Arthur Dent, is about to have his home demolished for the building of an express highway. His long-time friend Ford Prefect arrives at that moment to fetch him away for a drink to a nearby pub and lets him know a couple of unbelievable, absolutely unheard of things:

First of all, Ford Prefect was not from Earth at all- instead he came from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse (that’s somewhere really far away in space – which is infinitely, mind-bogglingly huge!) He was a hitchhiker (in fact a ‘researcher’ for an amazing book titled The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) and was stuck on planet Earth for the past 15 years.

Second, and probably the most important information was that Earth was scheduled to be demolished by the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council to create a hyperspatial expressway route…that too, in less than ten minutes. And this is where their adventures begin.

So, the Earth does get destroyed (kind of vanishes) but, Ford Prefect is able to hitch a ride on the Vogon Spaceship as it passes through after completing its demolition duties. Along with Arthur, he embarks on a space journey of a kind you have never heard before.

The logo and motto of The Hitchhiker's Guide. The towel (any towel will do) is also important. 
They have as a guide the highly useful and compact guide to the Galaxy, which Ford carries with him. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy  is probably the most popular and the most remarkable of all books ever to come out of the publishing corporations of the Ursa Minor . Yes, that’s right. The Ursa Minor. We are not talking about Earthly limits anymore. It is about space, and this is what the Guide has to say about space:

“Space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean you may think it’s a long down the road to the chemist, but that’s just peanuts to space…..”

 The dry witty tone used throughout the book was endearing in its lightness of tone and absurd truisms. If you like the style there is probably no looking back till you complete the series, but on the other hand if it isn’t your cuppa, then you may not even progress with the first book.

In their breath-taking , mind-boggling, inter-stellar adventure we meet several interesting characters, planets, beasts, people, aliens and what not.

We meet alien destroyer ships piloted by the dreaded and unpleasant Vogons (whose poetry is reputed to the third worst poetry in the Universe, on no account should you allow a Vogon to read poetry to you)….

And the Babel fish (a yellow, leech-like thing that once put into your ears will enable you to understand any language spoken…brilliant! Isn’t it?) ….

And Zaphod Beeblebrox (the two-headed, three handed, egomaniacal President of the Galaxy)….

And Trillian, the only other human who survive the demolition of the Earth (since she was in Zaphod’s spaceship at the time)....

And Marvin (the paranoid android) , who is infinitely brilliant a, but equally infinitely depressed. Nothing can cheer him up…but oddly enough he is a delight to read. Incidentally he is voiced by Alan Rickman in the movie and I adored it!

And Deep Thought – the mastermind computer which was given the task of calculating the meaning of life, universe and everything. It comes up with an answer in seven and a half million years! The answer is ……………(I am sorry, I can't tell you this!) 

And the factory where they make planets (which incidentally happens to have a back-up Earth, just in case). Absolutely brilliant!

And many, many, many, more such ‘weird-astic’ creations of the infinite possibilities of space.

It’s a series that you can read just for fun, and indulge in the hilarity of the prose and at the same time begin to understand that we really are very very tiny specks in this huge Universe. That’s a perspective worth having. 

If you wish, take a look at this famous video of Carl Sagan's excerpt from Pale Blue Dot  and you will be able to take a quick trip into outer space and give yourself an out-of-this world perception - quite literally!

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