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Hitchhiker's Guide Discussion

FrosticoordOctober 23, 2014 at 8:42pm

It's been... well over a year since we've actually DISCUSSED a book here, haha, so I'll just lay out what we'll be doing here. I'm going to list some discussion questions, and you can all share your opinions about those- but please do pose your own questions as well. You don't have to answer ALL the questions I have listed, either, if you don't want to. Just do your thing, whatever that is.

Share any random opinions, comment on what others have to say... Lets just have a good discussion of things, yeah?

(stole a couple of these questions from the interwebs; thinking up discussion questions is haard)

•First off: what're some of your favorite quotes? This book's got some of the funniest lines I've ever seen in literature, so I'm sure you at least have one in the front of your brain.

•What are your opinions on Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Zaphod Beeblebrox, Trillian, and Marvin?

•Do you typically enjoy reading sci-fi? If yes, do you enjoy the comedic spin that this book takes on the genre? If no, did you enjoy the book's humor regardless?

•Hitchhiker's Guide has some pretty good instances of satire throughout it (eg. Zaphod as a caricature of the stereotypical, useless politician). Are there any other examples of this that you particularly enjoyed?

• Adams flippantly depicts the destruction of the planet Earth as a casual, everyday sort of occurence. Why do you think he does this? What impact does it have on the emotional development of the narrative, specifically on Arthur Dent?

•The Heart of Gold's improbability drive features heavily into the storyline. To great lengths, Adams works to have each scene appear as a bizzare, cynical ramble, yet at the end everything ties together. Describe how this plot element and the narrative style mirror each other.

•What is The Ultimate Question?

Go at it, friends.

October 25, 2014 at 10:30am
Arthur Dent is you, the everyman, a boring little earthling pulled along on a fantastic journey. There are just so many great things about this book, but one of the things I think is best is that while in other science fiction series of its time Earth is always incredibly important (and the last surviving earthmen save the universe, no doubt) the Guide shows how insignificant Earth and humanity really are. I love that. (Except, perhaps they aren't... I can never remember if the Big Reveal happened in the first book or one of the later ones.)

If you liked the Guide, please read the sequels. The last one is especially confusing. Another recommendation for the same type of humour is Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. Check 'em out!

(hope this post is ok--this is my first time actually joining the discussion, oops...)
October 24, 2014 at 8:16am
I find this book, while incredibly funny and undeniably hilarious, to be a rather stark detailing of Adams' pragmatic and Nietzscheian worldview. The destruction of Earth, the death of billions of people, happens because of an intergalactic highway system that makes interstellar travel marginally more efficient. By the end of the book, it's revealed that the geniuses of Magrathea made Earth as just another luxury planet. The ULTIMATE QUESTION is really all that matters, and now Arthur holds the key to unlocking all of the secrets of the universe, and the very first thing that follows that is: Trillian's mice try to take his brain.

It's all rather jovial and silly, but at a base level, is devoid of empathy. Which I find humorous in and of itself!
October 24, 2014 at 11:50am
Don't forget that the improbability drive makes intergalactic highways redundant!
October 24, 2014 at 1:21am
As a total fan of the science fiction and comedic literature genres, I feel that this story is a perfect addition to both. The story is strange, nothing is ever explained quite how you want it to be, but this only serves to make you feel like Arthur Dent; confused, surprised, and befuddled.
The destruction of the earth is treated with amazing realism, if you think about it, the destruction of our planet would mean nothing to the collective universe.

Things like these, are what makes this story great. While the book is a comedy, everything is treated entirely realistically, rather than in some surreal form of sarcasm like that of Terry Pratchett's Discworld stories.
October 23, 2014 at 8:43pm
Ooh yay, some life here :D
October 23, 2014 at 8:44pm
Heck yeah! Not gonna let this club die as easily as it did last time, haha
October 27, 2015 at 10:59am
Aaand it's been a year
October 27, 2015 at 11:57pm
Happy anniversary.

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October 23, 2014 at 8:46pm
I am creepily quick-responsive X3