Having just missed one hundred books in the first year of The Book Challenge, in 2010, I made the full tonne. Still reading, but without the challenge, take a look at the reviews for the books that I have read this year.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Book 18 - Life, The Universe and Everything

Book - Life, The Universe and Everything
Author - Douglas Adams
Year - 1982
Genre - Comedy/Sci-Fi
Pages - 197
Series - Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The problem with most humourous fiction is that it simply isn't very funny.  All too often the laughs are either discarded to make the story make sense, or vice versa, it becomes a string of wittiness which can't hold together a good plot.  So I have been happy in recent times to have been reading two different series that do work in making you laugh whilst still being great stories - from the world of fantasy, the Discworld series, and this, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

The first two books have been brilliantly structured, with particularly strange events happening throughout, but at it's heart, an - admittedly weird - science fiction story about intergalactic travel, hopping through time, alien spaceships and all of the other usual stuff, but with genuine laugh out loud moments.  Unfortunately - and oh how often there seems to be an unfortunately in this blog - in this third one, the plot seems to have been somewhat abandoned in order to get laughs from the oddities that occur.  The tightness of the plot seems to have been left behind, and in the main doesn't really start until halfway through.  In the meantime we are left lurching from happening to happening in such a zigzagged way that it becomes simply frustrating.  It is not a long book, but took me a week or so to get through, and that is disappointing when it took me a similar amount of time to get through the last book I read which was over 800 pages long.

There is a slight bit of unfairness at my moaning, as it is a genuinely funny book with some laugh out loud moments, but this is not enough to save it from the lack of depth it has - especially when compared to the first two books int he series.  The leading character of Arthur Dent - a classic character of literature if I ever heard of one - seems to follow this dumbing down, and his character plays second fiddle to the silliness that we are instead subjected to.  I hope that the last two books in the series can sort this out, as I wouldn't like a great series to become spoilt.


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