Redartz: One of the greatest Christmas gifts I received in the 80's was a copy of a book called "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". I'd heard of it, but knew nothing about it. I was working as a delivery driver at the time, and had numerous free stretches of time available during my workday, so I took it along to read. I'd read some funny books, even some quite humorous ones. But this tome, within just the first few pages, was the first book EVER to literally make me laugh out loud while reading. People walking nearby probably figured I was off my gourd. They may have been correct, Douglas Adams put me right into space with his brilliant hilarity.
It didn't take long to tear through the first book, and it was impossible to resist acquiring the follow up volumes. I must say, this is one of the lengthiest trilogies ever (as Adams himself was to observe). My workday companions , for several months, were Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Zaphod Beeblebrox and the whole crazed cast of characters. Each succeeding book was great fun, although admittedly my favorite remains the first one. Years later I introduced my wife to the "Guide", coincidentally reading to her while again residing within a motor vehicle ( at that time, we commuted to work together, so while one of us drove, the other read from the book). Maybe there's something about the Guide that lends itself to travel. And no, we didn't bring out towels (if you haven't read any of these books, you probably won't get the reference; suffice it to say that if you ever travel in space, bring a towel: there's plenty of good reasons why).
The "Hitchhiker's Guide" was adapted originally from a radio series, and was later adapted for television as well as a stage play. Oddly I've never seen any of these alternatives, nor heard the audio books (although the one narrated by Douglas Adams himself would be sorely tempting to try). I did, however, have the great pleasure of meeting Adams in person at a lecture/book signing (in the company of none other than Ray Bradbury, what a night that was). Experiencing his wit in person was a treat. Sadly it wasn't long after that before he passed tragically away. Yet his writing remains, and others have carried on the "Guide" series in his wake. As yet I've not read any of these, but will be doing so in the near future thanks to the collected volume my wondrous wife gave me. Will they effectively continue Adams' imagination? Perhaps some of you can help. Have you read any of the books, or seen the shows (or read the comic, another version which surprisingly I neglected)? What were your impressions? Favorite characters (mine was Marvin, the perennially depressed robot)? This week it's Anything Goes regarding the Hitchhiker's Guide, it's creator, cast, and legacy.
Oh, and if by chance a gigantic spaceship should appear with the purpose of constructing an interplanetary bypass, be sure to grab that towel...