A few words come to mind: Disappointing, Underwhelming, Overrated.
I’m not even sure what the consensus rating is, but I’m confident it’s too high. Especially since it was turned into a movie starring Martin Freeman.
The Martin Freeman. He’s this generation’s Mark Hamil for Christ’s sake!
Anyhoo, in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, earthling Arthur Dent and his close friend Ford Prefect, who is actually from a small planet near the star Betelgeuse, manage to hitch a ride on a spaceship at an opportune time and go on an existential, somewhat enlightening, intergalactic adventure where they will learn the answer to the meaning of life and the universe.
On the whole, this book is mediocre. It’s not particularly clever or creative, the characters are not especially intriguing, and there are no hearty laugh-out-louds to be had. Having said that, every once in a while Adams hits on a nice one-liner like the following which describes a group of spaceships hovering over the Earth.
The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.
Also of note was the nonexistence of God proof which much like the answer to the meaning of life is kind of clever provided you don’t put much thought into it.
And unfortunately, I was already aware of the celebrated meaning of life so there was no chance of being blown away or even pleasantly surprised, but I’m fairly certain that at best it would have produced a slightly impressed, hmpf.
“The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” – Robert Byrne
And here’s the 100% real deal:
“The purpose of life is to beat the original Super Mario Bros. on one man; no warping.” – God
Fun Fact: I’ve already done it!
Getting back to the book, the most frustrating aspect was that once it started showing signs of hope via the brief appearance of a pair of entertaining Blagulon Kappa police, it ended abruptly and without satisfaction. I suppose this was to hook the reader into buying the second book of the series, but really it just allowed me to cut ties and move on to another author.
In conclusion, while some readers who like a side of underwhelming comedy with their sci-fi might find this to be an enjoyable read, I think you’re better off watching the Matrix for your sci-fi fix and reading Flashman to get your laugh-on.