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Showing 1-2 of 2 reviews(2 star).Show all reviews
on April 9, 2001
Douglas Adams wrote, with assorted help, an extremely funny radio show called "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". Part of it was made into a funny tv show (the cheapness of which added to the joy of it: one got the sensation that the galaxy outside of earth is all done on the cheap); and translated into two books, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe". The books, which I read before finally getting the radio series on tape, are not as funny as the original. Like Shakespeare, Adams comes off better when he's heard than when he's read. Therefore, the funniest book of the lot (and maintaining that position in a recent re-reading of all the books except the last) is "Life, the Universe and Everything". The first two, in light of subsequent hearings of the radio series, are not as funny as I recalled (I even wrote in lines I liked from radio into the books where they were missing); "Life, the Universe and Everything" is still very funny, though it drags near the end, when I think Adams got very tired of writing it and just wanted to get through with it. "Life" is recommended, and the first two books also, since "Life" is totally dependant on them. "So Long and Thanks for all the Fish" is a marked decline. While still proving Adams can be a good "ideas" man (such as the "Take me to your lizard" episode) he fails in execution. By the time you reach this book one reaches this book one realizes that Adams not only doesn't like writing, he doesn't do it very well, and one wearies of the unremitting imitation-Wodehouse (actually faux-Wodehouse) style, which made Wodehouse the funniest writer ever but palls with Adams' constant use of it. One also realizes that Adams does not just use things he doesn't like as comedic fodder, he rants about them bitterly and some of his ranting comes off very distastefully. "So Long" would be an acceptible end to the series, tying up many, though hardly all, loose ends, and getting Arthur a decent love interest. "Mostly Harmless" (which made me laugh out loud once, and which I eliminated from my recent re-reading of the series) is a lame attempt to tie up remaining loose ends. One shouldn't second guess a writer's use of his own characters, but the loss of Fenchurch is staggeringly disappointing, and the book never seems to rise from its unpleasantness. The child angle doesn't work at all. It's clear Adams is sick to death of the Hitchhiker series; already in "Life" he makes a few snide comments directed at his readers. "Mostly Harmless" is an insult to his fans. It's too bad we can't find eddies in the time continuum, go back, and restrain him from embarrassing himself and us with "MH".
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on March 18, 2001
The first book in this series is quite good and definitely should be read. I had to force myself to finish the quite lame second book. The third book was just as good as the first. By the fourth book, things get VERY boring, VERY quickly. In fact, I could only read a few chapters of it before I couldn't stand it any longer and stopped reading. "Oh, you just have no sense of humor!" you might say. No. I've read, seen, heard, and written things funnier and more entertaining than this. "Oh, you just don't understand British comedy!" you might now say. No. I love Red Dwarf (My favorite TV show) and Monty Python and the Holy Grail (My favorite movie). "Oh, you just don't appreciate wacky random humor!" you might say. No. I love Sam & Max, the funniest book I've ever read and funniest game I've ever played. "Then", you might ask, "why don't you like The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?" The answer is: I don't know. I just don't think it's funny. And I think I'm alone.
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