Sunday, 11 March 2012
The funniest book in the universe
The indoor writer first discovered The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy while revising for her O'Levels (yes she's that old), when it was a hit radio show. The books also got her through many tough times during A'levels and university. And the well-read tatty copies still cheer her up. You can't fail to read this book without laughing out loud.
Hitch-hiker started as a BBC radio comedy in 1978. The resulting published trilogy (Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Life the Universe and Everything) sold over 15 million copies. The series was also released as records/cassettes, a TV series, stage plays, computer games and a film (2005). There were a further two books written in the series: So Long and Thanks for all the Fish, and Mostly Harmless, but in our opinion they never lived up to the surreal, almost perfect comedy of the original.
Douglas Adams also went on to write several books in his Dirk Gently Holisitic Detective Agency (currently dramatised on BBC4, next episode Monday 12 March at 9pm) and co-wrote Last Chance to See with Mark Carwardine, which is funny but also a tragic warning on the conservation of disappearing species. He was a scriptwriter for Doctor Who and this year the novelisation (by Gareth Roberts) of Adams' 'lost' Doctor Who story Shada (written as a six part special when Tom Baker played the Doctor, but filming was never completed) will be published.
If you've never read The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy then I urge you to give it a try. It still makes me laugh, even when I can quote whole passages verbatim. And don't forget to wave your towel on 25 May (official Towel Day).