The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (written by Douglas Adams) presents us with a twisted, satirical image of what life outside of Earth is like and what the future may hold. This week, I listened to the first radio recording of the saga, and read alongside the transcript from the recording. I found it hilarious, to say the least. The story follows two “friends” who are dealing with the end of the planet, destined to start a new life in space, all the while surrounded by alien beings and new frontiers. The story is not completely unheard of in the science-fiction genre, but what sets the Hitchhiker’s Guide apart from others, is how it pokes fun at itself and the genre that created it, breaking the fourth wall. The story is sitcom-like, only with more intelligence.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide is layered, as a story. The writing itself is full of wit without taking itself too seriously, if seriously at all. Adams is highly aware of the tropes and likes to bend them to his liking while simultaneously doing the same thing with his style of writing, creating a unique story. The characters are foolish, the narrative is absurd, and all the while the author manages to discuss some very dark subjects (i.e. the planet getting blown up and ensuing depression). The refreshing thing for me about the story, at least the one I listened to, is that we’re always pitched the same kind of thoughts on the future/space-beings. Adams gives us something new. Why does the future always have to be so serious and glamorous? Can’t it be ridiculously nonsensical? After all, we have no idea what may lie beyond our field of vision.