Agonson’s Top 10: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

It has entered my mind to formulate a list of books which have been meaningful to me, both in the pleasure they offer and also in the effect they had. These are books which stand above.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
(The Restaurant at the End of the Universe)

This entry is a little different from the others. I saw a movie version of this book long before I traveled its pages. I didn’t really like the movie, in all truth, but my sister had a friend who was enamored with the print version. This led to my sister convincing our father to read the first book to us as a bedtime story. Subsequently, I fell asleep through most of it, and the parts I was awake for made little sense to me. However, the book itself would not leave me alone, and I eventually read the first part of the world’s only five part trilogy. I said this entry is different, and that mostly has to do with the fact that I, in the end, rejected the book.

When I finally read the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for myself, I fell in love with the outrageous and novel story. It is worth the read.

The book is clever and witty, and eminently hard to describe. It is, however, a tragedy. The fifth entry in the trilogy, Mostly Harmless, takes the logic of the author’s worldview, the premise that life is absurd and meaningless, and with its characteristic humor lays out in terrible clarity the emptiness of that position. I do not believe the author meant to stop the story by, spoiler, killing off the entire cast, but he died, so he did. I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad, that relativism stumbled, both in fiction and in reality, on the same unavoidable fact, death.

Yet, though I have rejected this book, I still love it. It was the book which made me start writing, and though I disagree with it, I know that the wrong turns it took, and the wrong turns it took me on, have made me a little wiser than I was.

There is a wisdom to the madness of the Guide, one I encourage people to taste.

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