Saturday, July 1, 2017

Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy

I finally got around to reading The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy. Apparently, I should have read Douglas Adams much earlier in life, but better late than never. I liked it and will probably read more in the future (what else should I read of his?): whimsical, absurd, and funny; clever, creative and farcical; profound-ish, satirical, and semi-cynical. An easy read and good stuff!


Chapter 1 kicks off with a case of eminent domain against a semi-clueless who "can't take it anymore" and bucks the system. Eventually in chapter 3, all of Earth is condemned and destroyed under "eminent domain" by the Vogons (30-32). Beyond that, much of the book is one big poke at Earth and its inhabitants. (FEE published a nice essay on the book by Tegan Truitt.)

Adams has a handful of references to origins, evolution, and theism: 
-In the intro, he includes an interesting reference to (and a popular perception of) Jesus: "2000 years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change...This time it was right, it would work, and no one would have to get nailed to anything." (p. 1-2)
-He uses a discussion with God about the "babel fish" to prove His own existence (55). 
-He colorfully describes the Big Bang (73).
-He includes a poke at evolution, with a reference to "an infinite number of monkeys outside who want to talk to us about this script for Hamlet they've worked out." (78)

Adams also has a funny little reference to wealth and spiritual poverty-- as well as material poverty and the importance of dignity (105): "Many men of course became extremely rich, but this was perfectly natural and nothing to be ashamed of because no one was really poor-- at least no one worth speaking of. And for all the richest and most successful merchants life inevitably became rather dull and niggly, and they began to imagine that this was therefore the fault of the worlds they'd settled on. None of them was entirely satisfactory: either the climate wasn't quite right in the later part of the afternoon, or the day was half an hour too long, or the sea was exactly the wrong shade of pink."


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