Quite possibly the best literature I’ve had the pleasure of reading in my short lifetime is that created by Douglas Adams. Most specifically I’ve enjoyed his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series:
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
- The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
- Life, the Universe and Everything
- So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
- Mostly Harmless
Each and every one is very enjoyable and just as good as the previous. I, your loquacious host, shall tell you how I came to love these stories. The story begins quite simply. It begins with an iPod.
I first enjoyed the books by way of Douglas reading them at me (read: audiobooks). You see, I had recently purchased a little white brick of joy and death. It was wonderful! Pure ecstasy! But it wasn’t enough. Then I discovered an audiobook service and purchased The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and took the iPod to the forty-second level of greatness. iTunes: import. iPod: sync. I touched the play button. I waited with excitement, trepidation. Then, following the ‘This is Audible’ prompt, Douglas’ voice came down those little white pipes.
Within moments I belonged to Douglas. I listened as the man told me his story the way that he meant for it to be told. At each turn of the story breathing life, much as a god would do, into every character. This is easily explained: Douglas Adams is a god1. I continued to listen through almost all of the five books with the feeling that this man, nay, this more than a man was reading to me bedside. He explained how I can learn to fly and together we, alongside Ford and Arthur, discovered the Ultimate Question to the Ultimate Answer.
I delighted in Douglas’ wit and raw, laugh-out-loud humour that was pervasive throughout the ‘trilogy in five parts’. Sprinkled throughout the books were the hilarious and informative Guide entries which for a moment would pull you out of the story to explain a bit about our Universe. It is because of these I understand and accept that the population of the Universe is zero and I have a rudimentary understanding of the ‘Future Semi-Conditionally Modified Subinverted Plagal Past Subjunctive Intentional’ tense. (C.f. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe)
The experience was wonderful and I unequivocally recommend it to almost everyone. Start with the first book and once you find yourself enraptured, you can purchase The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy which includes all of the stories and a short story, ‘Young Zaphod Plays it Safe’ to boot!
I waited to post this today because it has now been four years (11 May 2001) that we’ve been without one of the greatest men in the Universe. We all miss you here, Douglas. So long, and thanks for all the fish!
1 This claim may not sound reasonable since this god/man/angel/fish did not reside in the sky. Nor was he invisible. Still, I assure you, he was a god.