The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Series Review

Happy Monday and Labor Day for my American readers.

hitchhikers (test)

This info-graph is a general overview of the series.

The Hitchhiker’s guide has an interesting history beginning as a pitch for a 6 part series called “The Ends of the Earth” where the earth ends at the end of each episode surly many of them end on a stupid Thursday(1).  This idea eventually evolved into what we have here today and then some(2) including the movie adaptation of the first book.

This series has a pretty close place to my heart and I have a pretty long history with it, probably the longest/first bookmance(3) I’ve ever had.  I remember when I was a kid, somewhere around 13-15 years old, my dad gave me the first Hitchhiker’s guide book.

hitchhikers guide to the galaxy book cover

This is the cover art my dad’s copy had. Still my favourite of the versions.  Look at that meaty hand.

It might have been my first literary brush with literary si-fi, I was brought up on Red Dwarf(4) so I was well prepared, and it was good. Really good.

hitchhikers guide to the galaxy book cover3

This is the cover art my best friend in middle school (ages 11-14ish) in school had. Clearly inferior to the original.

My dad had all the rest of the original books up to So Long and Thanks For All the Fish and I ate them all up. I have specific memories of reading these books in school and literally laughing out loud involuntarily in class.  I’m pretty easy to laugh(5) but usually I’m pretty good at restraining my self in public but this book got me several times.  Even on revisits.

hitchhikers guide to the galaxy collection book cover

My first copy of the omni-bus.

Fast forward a few years and I’m at a book store, constantly building my library (sometimes I like to think about the day when I have enough books, that I’ve actually read AND enjoy no cheating with “the entire Steven King collection”, to make a book fort(6)), and I see this almost biblical looking version of the collection which was really nice because it came with a tassel bookmark.  This copy got donated after the first or second library purge(7) and in the last year since getting back into school I’ve begun replacing or obtaining copies of books I remember reading and enjoying but had borrowed from a friend or the library and this series was recommended to me on amazon.

This is my third and most recent re-reading of the series and I’ve had mixed reactions.  At first I was totally pumped to read this thinking I would blow through it in a few weeks but it ended up taking me about two months to read 815 pages +/- 20 pages because they count the title and dedication pages in between each book and most of that was spent trudging through Life, The Universe, and Everything.  However we will get to that in time.  The good news is that this series starts and ends pretty strongly (see info-graph above).

As in Adams style(8), over the next 7 weeks I will present to you:

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Ultimate Review:

A 7 part review in 8 parts

Tune in next week for part II: The actual review for The Hitchhiker’s to the Galaxy the book.

Footnotes:

  1. The Earth is destroyed on a Thursday afternoon several times in the series.
  2. As I learned in researching this article that there has been yet another novel added to the series called “…and another thing.” which, I personally, do not count as cannon and will not likely read the reasons for which will become clear as this series progresses.
  3. If we can have words like “bromance“, which I reluctantly have adopted in specific situations, I’m championing the word “bookmance”.   I’ve submitted a definition to urban dictionary and I might adopt the word for one year for 25$ on wordnik, my favourite dictionary site.  Depends on if urban diction approves.
  4. I have so many fond memories of late night Sunday, kind of like tonight actually (as I write this that is), as a kid with my parents watching the foreign shows on PBS channel nine like Red Dwarf (British) and The Red Green Show (Canadian).  These came on, if I remember right, after the X-Files on Sunday nights.  Sometimes we would order Cecil’s or Imo’s Pizza, St Louis Style pizza, and it was pretty much the best.  I have a lot of television related memories, more the scheduling aspects rather than the shows them selves.  I don’t know, there’s an essay memoir in there. Something in Infinite Jest rattled it loose.  Stay tuned.
  5. I read a snapple facts once “Snapple fact #831: Adults laugh only about 15 to 100 times a day, while six-year-olds laugh an average of 300 times a day.”  and I keep meaning to start a data crunch project on this, I keep track of other things in my journal.  Another thing for the list.
  6. book fort
  7. As a minimalist I have regular purge events where I strip down to bare essentials however in the last major purge I decided to begin building a library rather than holding on to a few prized pieces, however I do prune it regularly.
  8. His series started as a trilogy and remains to be frequently refereed to as a trilogy because humour.

 

 

 

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Getting Acquainted with the Neighbloggerhood(1)

Happy Friday folks,

First order of business: I realize about four people might have expected a post yesterday based on my announcement last Thursday(2) however after giving it some thought and a change in my work schedule, it seems like a Monday/Friday posting schedule would be more practical.  Now back to the regularly scheduled program.

I’ve been on here for a bit now, found some really cool blogs to add to my reader, and garnered a (very) small following and something I’ve considered is that I don’t really know much about my fellow floggers(3) and I’m really interested in making a personal connection for fun and profit(4).

What’s your favourite book?

House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski I’ll never forget the first time I met this book (yes you can meet books, books are people too #booklivesmatter).  It was the fall of my senior year (high school) and I was in the second most disappointing class of my scholastic career(5), advanced creative writing (it was disappointing because of the teacher I had was…not fit to be teaching sub 18yo individuals).  One of the projects we had was a book-report presentation on our favourite book and this girl I sorta had a thing for but was way too “alternatively cool”(6) for me man.  I was a freak too, still am #freakforlife, but way too fucking shy to be worth more than the last square on a roll of toilet paper.  Anyway she began presenting this book, House of Leaves (HoL) and she was having trouble describing the general story other than “This is a really freaky story, man. Like ‘I couldn’t read it before bed’ scary”.  After class I went to some book store and found the black beauty just sitting there. Last copy.  It took me 3 months to get through the first read. With all the annotations, the extremely dense prose, and the extremely experimental frame-story with in a frame-story with in a frame-story story telling style it was my first real hard read.  Also, looking back, my first post-modernist book.  MZD’s monolith-esque tome was the first book to show me “you can break the rules in writing, it’s a brave new world”.  That was about 10 years ago.  I’ve re-read the book more than 15 times since.

Honourable mentions:

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

All the Pretty Horses by Cormic McCarthy 

What’s your favourite body part?

I really like hands. Being a stick figure I’m envious of the banana looking appendages at the ends of human arms.  I don’t know why I like hands however I can remember precisely when I began noticing them.  I was seeing this girl, years ago, who had a knack for knitting and one time I was just watching her knit and I noticed there was something different about how she held her needles.  It’s really hard to explain but I think she was double jointed in every joint of her fingers because her fingers were bending in ways I’ve never seen before and I found that observation to be extremely profound and was deeply attracted to the length of her long artistic fingers and how they gracefully locked string into string onto needle.  Ever since I’ve found my self looking at hands and marveling at their complex beauty.  Nice hands are nice.

Honourable mentions:

Hair (on the head)

Back/torso (like the back of the torso, the front doesn’t do much for me unless you have like really nice obliques…then me might have to be friends)

Legs (specifically calves)

If you were reincarnated into an animal/drink/ice cream flavour, what would you be?*

  • I have to give credit for the ice cream flavour bit. Source

Animal: Dog.  I’ve never fathered a dog(7) but I’ve lived with several dogs and I love them all even the poopy little ones who peed everywhere all the time.  Also, as strange as this may sound, I always kind of identified as a dog but not in the furry way. When I was a kid and I got excited, I would wag my tail and as an adult I enjoy going for walks in the park and rides in the car(8).  I’m also colourblind, smell sensitive, and enjoy getting my head scratched

Which celebrity do you get mistaken for?

This has been like the running joke of my life.  It changes depending on my hair and I change my hair a lot. Also I’m pretty sure I have one of those “generically good looking” faces that is easily forgettable but also easy for people to see who/what they want However, they’ve always been obnoxiously flattering (and not even most of them have been come-ons either) so here’s a list:

Johnny Depp

Orlando Bloom (when LOTR came out and I had long blonde hair)

Matt Damon

Daniel Radcliffe

Jack Kerouac

And more but I really can’t remember.  It’s almost like every single time I meet a new person or group of people, someone says “Hey, did you know you kinda look like (insert celeb)?” or “Hey, come check out this kids face.  Doesn’t he look exactly like (insert friend I’ve never met)?”

At what age did you become an adult?

Never. Fifth grader for life.  Seriously though, I’ve struggled with the question “what does it mean to be an adult to me?” quite a bit in the last few years especially with 30 right around the corner.  I matured early, but entered some form of social arrested development when I started drinking and drugging and have decided in sobriety that it’s time to begin catching up on the parts of my life that I let fall by the wayside for the last 10 year because I was too fixated on being a work-holic/drink-aholic.  So I guess, I began the process of becoming something resembling an adult this year in the eve of my 27th year.

Where’s Waldo?

Some say he’s still out there somewhere…

So here’s the rules of the game:

  1. I’m tagging all 4 of my wordpress followers (you are my favourite people on wordpress).
  2. Answer the questions, post on your blog.
  3. Tag some friends(9)

Brittany and Arpil @herestwenty

Don Maciver @donmacieverpoetry

The folks at Royal James Publishing @royaljamespublishing

annette @outsideofacat

Footnotes:

  1. Surprisingly, this word actually works with the prefix “neigh-” meaning “near” and the suffix “-hood” meaning “state or condition being” ergo the new word could be defined as “nearby bloggers” aka “the regulars I see and follow and want to know more about”.  Though the word doesn’t have quite the mouth feel of a viral-prone word like “meh”.
  2. SQUEE! My first self-referential citation!
  3. I tried to combine “blogger” and “follower” into a new word however I think I missed the mark.
  4. Still working on the “profit” part.
  5. The first being Anthropology of Native American Spirituality.  Subject matter and reading material: spot on; the teacher: not so spot on.
  6. She was a hardcore punk with a devil may care attitude and on the verge of burn out because she wasn’t being challenged enough.  She was also really hot.
  7. I’m really against the slavery language we use towards our furry children/friends.  I believe animals are much more intelligent than we give them credit for. Example: Prairie Dogs have such a complex language, they can communicate to their fellow dogs what sort of animal is passing by and if it’s a human whether it’s a human they know or a different human based on the colour of their clothing.  I talk to animals, plants, insects, anything living as if it were an adult human being worthy of my respect.  The only people I talk to like a child are adult humans who demonstrate a necessity for simplistic language.  Show respect to your fellow non-human companions, and see what happens. You’ll be surprised.
  8. Also, like a dog, I don’t drive. So rides in the car are like something I really enjoy, even if it’s just accompanying a friend on an errands run.
  9. Not sure if I’m doing these tags right.

Stream of Consciousness Theatre presents: Pride

When I’m faced with writer’s block I frequently turn to a classic mode of writing “Stream of Consciousness” to help process what I’m looking to say or to say what I want sans auto-judgment and being Pride Month(1) and with St Louis Pride just passed it felt like a good time to present my first SoCT post.

I discovered this style years ago when reading a wiki page about Finnegans Wake for which I’m pretty sure I was following up a lead in my on-and-off again House of Leaves analysis project(2) and again I ran across it when I met a friend of a friend over facebook (we never met in real life but we spent lots and lots of time talking in the year 2010, he was one of the few writer friends I’ve managed to make a connection with, unfortunately it wasn’t quite over our mutual enjoyment of language rather it was a bonding over a woman(3).  However he used to write these really long (1000+ word) SoCT soliloquies that were a real joy to read. Most of the time.

Then I got into a situation this spring where I was reading both Mrs. Dalloway and Infinite Jest at the same time and I got a real taste for the past and present of the style.  For those of you who haven’t read Mrs. Dalloway: it’s a challenge.  Its a story about a lady, Mrs. Dalloway, planning to throw a party and the general going ons of her day.  The fun part is that Woolf jumps from narration to internal monologue to a new pov character to a different part of town and back and back again without paragraph breaks or other indicators to tell the reader “HEY I’M CHANGING GEARS NOW”.  On the other hand Infinite Jest is much more clear with formatting choices but it has its fun too with its 100 or so pages of footnotes and subsidized time both act as deeply disengaging elements to the story, if I remember right DFW mentioned he liked using these elements to keep the reader just one the outside of the story like a frequent reminder that the reader is engaging in a story that is uneven and sometimes non-linear similarly to how stories form in life rather than a polished beginning to end narrative that can be consumed with a lack of discernment challenging the reader to question what the story is about which I began to interpret less like DFW challenging the reader and more DFW asking the reader for help to discover the actual meaning of the story.  Whether it was a story about the pursuit of happiness in America or an examination of consumer culture or a eco-political statement about how we as a species handle pleasure.

I really don’t have a good conclusion for this one this week folks.  However I do have a few  announcements:

If you liked this remember to subscribe and share.  If you have book recommendations, feelings (strong or weak, your choice) on Stream of Consciousness style, or just want to tell me about the really strange thing your cat did this weekend, please leave a comment.  I really enjoy audience participation and look forward to reading and replying to your comments.  Thanks and remember: Never be afraid to have pride in who and what you are.

-Fin

Footnotes & Errata:

  1. Etymologically speaking, June is an interesting month to be Pride since it comes from the word “lunonis” meaning “of June” in reference to the Roman Goddess Juno who is mother protector of community, youth, vigour, combat, &c.
  2. Of those who know about the project, I am still working on it albeit slowly still no ETA on completion though.  However the major setbacks of that project have been addressed (women, whiskey, and worries).
  3. These sort of “heartbreak bro-mance” relationships seem to be a common thread over the years with me.  At least three guys I’ve made friends with was due to the mutual acquaintance of a woman whom has broken both of our hearts to different degrees.  None of these relationships have lasted longer than a year.  Just like the rest of my relationships.  How do I relationship?

Picture source: Dream Theater – Train of Thought