The new Hitchhiker trailer, and the book

This is a sad story.

I watched the new Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trailer last week (numerous times at and got all excited about seeing this movie. SO excited, in fact, that I sat down and read the first book again.

It bored me.

I’ve read this book NUMEROUS times in the 80’s and early 90’s. I don’t think it bored me because it’s boring or dull or dated. I just think I scrubbed all the funny out of it with the repeated passage of my eyes.

Anyway, it was sad for me. The good news is that the movie should have no problem at all being more fun for me than the book now is.


12 thoughts on “The new Hitchhiker trailer, and the book”

  1. I pretty much found the books to be somewhat less than inspiring as well, but I could listen to the radio series* over and over again. It was originally written to be more, well, punchy. The book tends to smooth that out.

    * Radio series was done first, then the books as an adaptation.

  2. Much of the humor in HHGTTG is in the surprising turns Arthur Dent’s life takes, at least to him. If you read the book enough, the surprise goes away, and with it the funny.

    I do still think DNA’s line, “Don’t destroy the Earth in the first chapter. You’ll need it later.”, is great (and funny) advice to SF authors…

  3. You know what looks BEST about the movie? That it’s clearly NOT true to the book. All sorts of crap was happening in there that wasn’t in the book — which means they tried to make a good MOVIE, rather than just putting the book on screen.

    Putting that particular book on screen doesn’t work. If you’ve ever tried to sit through the BBC TV series — whew, boy — you’ll know what I mean.

    I think the thing that keeps Douglas Adams from being entertaining to me now (recently re-read LTU&E) is that I’ve matured enough to see his whole point is that there IS no point. He’s the modern (albeit late) king of absurdism, which by and by is a pretty depressing Ism. Terry Pratchett does the same great stuff as Adams, but with morals and points to his stories.

    1. I have to agree on the bits about the movie. I disagree on the last paragraph, but I’m not going to go into that at the moment.

      After seeing the trailer, a friend of mine was bitching and whining that the spaceships were the wrong color, or that the Heart Of Gold was supposed to be shaped like a shoe, not a sphere.

      Look at the differences in the various Hitchhiker’s canon: The radio series, the books, the TV series, the graphic novel, the THIRD radio series, the computer game… Look at those, think about them for a while, and /then/ try to justify bitching that the spaceships are the wrong color.

  4. I ran into the same thing with that series. In my case I probably only read the whole thing three times or so, but that was enough to dull the edge of the absurdity that made it funny. It probably doesn’t help that my much younger sibilings both read it obsessively and tell the same dozen snippet of the book jote tale things over and over and over. I really do wish that they would find some other books to read (well, my brother is reading the Burrows Mars series, but my sister still reads essentially no fiction except douglas adams. I’ve tried to point them to other humorists, even other british humorists, but they keep going back. *sigh*

    Sort of like Monty Python’s Holy Grail. I watched it in band in highschool probably 25 times in 3 years and I still can’t stand to watch that movie, for all that I remember it being one of my favorite comedies. (I do still laugh at a few of the jokes there though. “There are some who call me Tim.”

  5. Of course now that I think about it, when I was their age, I was reading tons of really bad pulp SF (Star Trek novels mostly) though by the time I was my younger sibiling’s age, I had started to diversify. (I think I read all of the Pern that had been published over a period of two months when I was 14.)

  6. For me, Adams has always been like Shakespeare: his stuff is best when PERFORMED. Reading it is always a less-fulfilling alternative. I loved the radio series, and even kinda liked the BBC TV series. Adams’s books always gave me headaches, though. Not “stretching my brain to wrap around the concepts” headaches — just plodding through the Clever to get to the Funny.

  7. Every time Adams re-adapted the story, he changed things. That is why I think the movie makers felt they could take license with it.

    Also, try the audio book versions (narrated by Douglas Adams himself). Hearing the books in a proper British accent adds to it.

  8. A microfiction.

    It brings up an interesting point about the movie(s), I think.

    A nontrivial fraction of the audience is going to be the sort that’s read the book many times, as you have. Can they make the movie so that it’s interesting even to someone who knows the books backwards and forwards?

    Ok, challenge: can they make it interesting in a way other than changing the story and getting all those die-hard fans angry!

    We’ll see.

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