The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

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The HGTTG series is renowned for being full of deeper insight that its comedic exterior seems to let on, and this was definitely how I found the first book. While not considered a classic sci-fi novel, it definitely still has a sci-fi undertone, though the British humour plays the starring role.

In regards to the depth of the plot, or character development, there is little point me elaborating too much on that. Earth gets blown up, aliens, travelling the universe by making the jump to hyperspace etc. It is a simple enough read, though this should not be considered a criticism, I wholeheartedly enjoyed it. Anyone looking for an easy pre-bed read that will keep the mind ticking over during the isolated and winter months would be unlikely to regret picking up a copy.

I always find sci-fi novels about humans interacting with life forms from other planets an interesting opportunity for analysis. In order to write about human-alien interactions, you must have some kind of model of stereotypical human behaviour (as well as how any alien life-form is different on average). I certainly think reading books of this kind are a useful exercise and allows for an “outside view” of how we conduct ourselves as a species. The vast majority of books are written in the context of humans being at the “top of the food-chain”. Not necessarily in a purely literal sense, but just in regards to the importance and evolutionary development. Books that place humans as playing a lesser role than we tend to think we do is always a nice bias-deconstructing exercise.

Notable Quotes:

“Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.”

“For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.”

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