I have no idea how to introduce a reader to The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, to the point that I’ve erased my entire work on this three times trying to attack it from different angles. I’m already significantly into the wrap-up essay because I had a cool idea for it (stolen partly from the premise of one of the essays of Sam Scott aka BurgundySuit), but aside from that not being finished yet, it feels wrong to throw you in the deep end before you’ve ostensibly read the book. This has made it ten times harder to work out a good hook to build an intro essay from. I chose The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams because it’s one of my favourite books to the point that I would consider it one that defines me as a human being. It reflects some of my morality and view of the world, and it affected my sense of humour and style of writing as strongly as any person. One point of this is that it means I have no idea how anyone not so wrapped in it – someone who has not solidified it in their minds as strongly as I have – would react to it. I’m not insecure about that – I’m not upset if you don’t like it, and indeed criticism may illuminate things I do like about it that I hadn’t considered or put into words – but it does mean that I am limited in my actions here.
I suppose the main thing I like about the book is that it’s very funny and it’s bursting with creative energy. From one point of view, Douglas Adams was the least disciplined writer of all time, consistently failing to hit deadlines; from another, he was committed to discipline to the point of hobbling himself in terms of productivity, committing 100% to writing things that were both original and funny. He wrote in depth about the lengths he went to in order to draw blood from a stone and find inspiration for the next section, and the result is that the whole book is a series of setups and punchlines; I’ve always been struck by the way the last sentence of the chapter before Zaphod Beeblebrox is introduced sets up the entire chapter of Zaphod. He’s as committed to whatever’s both funny and true as the writers of The Simpsons were, but there’s only one of him as opposed to a whole writer’s room.
I look forward to discussing the book with all of you! The post will go up on Monday, the 29th of August as my usual post.