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The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy; chapters 1-5
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Author:  sal10e [ Sat Oct 13, 2012 10:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy; chapters 1-5

Don't feel bad Olivia, I also do not typically get British humor (I detest Monty Python for example), I have been enjoying the book so far though. It is an easy read which is nice and I really appreciated Giselle's comments about the author's hints of atheism in the book in the earlier scenes. I enjoyed the humor particurlarly the parallels between the Earth being destroyed and Arthur's house for the same reason. Arthur did try and look at the plans, even though the were hard to find in the basement, with no lights and he had to bring his own flashlight :)

I enjoyed the comments on towels as well and the author's sense of humor, but I'm finding it a little difficult to keep everything straight at the moment as he keeps adding new peoples, planets, characters and the characters often have purposes exactly opposite of what you think they will, the President of the Imperial Galactic Government for example. Excellent satire though. I usually don't read a lot of science fiction but I think I will enjoy this book and get more out of from the discussion than I probably would otherwise.

Author:  Penelope [ Sun Oct 14, 2012 5:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy; chapters 1-5

Quote:
Sal wrote:

I also do not typically get British humor (I detest Monty Python for example),


I haven't ever liked Monty Python type humour either, and I am English. My husband and sons used to fall about laughing and still do though. I think there is more of the 'male' of the species humour going on.

Humour in books can be difficult. When I ran a bookgroup (Housewives Register) we were always quite divided as to what we thought was funny. I didn't think Jane Austen was funny at all until I saw the stories performed.

I think possibly Hitchhikers might be be easier for you to follow if you saw the film, as at least then you would know the characters as they came up in the book. I think I saw the film first, then went on to read all five in the series. Even then I think they are more amusing than laugh-out-loud funny.

Author:  Olivia22 [ Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy; chapters 1-5

I never got Monty Python. I always thought it was stupid. Even though I did think "Spamalot", the Broadway musical based on Monty Python, was funny. Some things only work in musical form I guess.

Pamala, I think you're right about humor in book. It can be difficult. I didn't think Jane Austen was suppose to be funny though. Am I missing something there?

Author:  giselle [ Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy; chapters 1-5

sal10e wrote:
I enjoyed the comments on towels as well and the author's sense of humor, but I'm finding it a little difficult to keep everything straight at the moment as he keeps adding new peoples, planets, characters and the characters often have purposes exactly opposite of what you think they will, the President of the Imperial Galactic Government for example. Excellent satire though. I usually don't read a lot of science fiction but I think I will enjoy this book and get more out of from the discussion than I probably would otherwise.

I think one of the hallmarks of Adams humour is 'reductiveness' (I'm sure that is not a word!) ... anyway, Adams has a great talent for reducing his points to the essential and I think the 'towel' is symbolic of this .. I mean, really, if you are traveling the universe, why would you need anything more than a towel and a guide?

I don't read much sci-fi either, but I don't really read Hitchhikers as science fiction. Sure its got lots of aliens and weird planets and gadgets and spaceships but I think all of this is merely a vehicle for Adams to deliver broader themes, e.g. environmentalism, atheism and putting humanity into perspective. Although, I'm sure science fiction broadly speaking might also deal on these themes, but I wouldn't know. Back to reductiveness, I think he is asking us to consider fundamental and complex questions about human existence by reducing them down to the plainest and most essential and tying it up with humour which is mocking, satirical and self-deprecating.

I love Monty Python and have great childhood memories of sitting up late at night (after 11!) with my dad to watch Monty Python. It wasn't exactly prime time TV, obviously, but I think its interesting that Python is still talked about (love it or hate it) when other prime time stuff has long faded into the past. We have British background and I think this helps Monty Python humour go down better. But there's always exceptions to the rule, right Penny? :D

Author:  Penelope [ Sun Oct 14, 2012 2:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy; chapters 1-5

giselle, I note it was you and your Dad. Unless your Mum was like me, and just loved to watch her boys laughing.

I don't think women enjoyed it as much anyway.

Quote:
Olivia said:
I didn't think Jane Austen was suppose to be funny though. Am I missing something there?



It's supposed to be ironic humour! It is said that Americans don't get irony. Well, neither do I. :roll:

Author:  giselle [ Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy; chapters 1-5

Penelope wrote:
giselle, I note it was you and your Dad. Unless your Mum was like me, and just loved to watch her boys laughing.

I don't think women enjoyed it as much anyway.

You may well be right about the 'gender preference' here .. certainly I don't recall my mom watching Monty Python much.

Speaking of female, I like the name 'Trillian", if I'd had a daughter I might have named her Trillian (poor girl). I note as well that Trillian is a near-composite of her first and last names on earth, Tricia MacMillan.

Author:  ginof [ Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy; chapters 1-5

Excellent points being made here. There should be a lot of synergy between other British television shows as he did some writing and made minor appearances on Monty Python and did writing for Dr. Who. He also described himself as a 'radical atheist', so that shouldn't be surprising, either. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_adams for references.

I had completely forgotten that this started as a radio program! Thanks for bringing that up. I've read the book, seen the TV show and the movie. But will have to listen to the radio program. :-)

Also very refreshing is the simple way that Arthur Dent treat the ridiculousness that surrounds him. Just one day, crazy stuff starts to happen, and as another commenter pointed out, he's just trying to get by given all the craziness. In some ways, it's too much: would anyone really be so calm under the circumstances? but on the other hand, how else could a person react without loosing their mind.

Author:  Penelope [ Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy; chapters 1-5

Hello Ginof, Welcome to the discussion and I hope you enjoy. I also hope you are male as there are mostly female participants on this one, and that is very unusual for these forums.

Quote:
In some ways, it's too much: would anyone really be so calm under the circumstances? but on the other hand, how else could a person react without loosing their mind.


I don't think Arthur gets the chance to panic, as the catastrophe happens so suddenly. Of course, the book, says in calm letters on the front 'DON'T PANIC' - and that is bound to make a great difference, not. :D

He might have felt safe because, how could anything bad happen to him in his pyjamas (when my sons were young they both wanted 'Arthur Dent' pyjamas for Christmas) and with his towel? It reminded me of that episode in 'Smash' when they were unpacking the newly delivered supplies, and the conversation went:

'No, Shuttlecocks. They haven't sent shuttlecocks!'

'No, How can we be expected to fight a war without shuttlecocks!'

In fact, the humour in HHG reminds me of the humour in Mash in many ways. I don't think there is a camp character in HHG though.

Author:  ginof [ Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy; chapters 1-5

no men following this thread?! that seems absurd to me as I aways thought of the HHG as a geeky dude book!

Glad to see i am wrong!

:D

It's hard to believe that "Don't Panic" and a towel would make someone so calm. But, perhaps that's the point. We just don't know they work so well as we haven't had this crisis on earth (yet!)

Author:  Penelope [ Tue Oct 16, 2012 9:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy; chapters 1-5

Oh there is one other man! At least now he isn't completely outnumbered. :wink:

Quote:
ginof:

It's hard to believe that "Don't Panic" and a towel would make someone so calm.



Arthur isn't exactly calm, but he is more exasperated than panic stricken. It is like calling the wars in foreign parts, 'a bit of local difficulty', I suppose. I think that we British are inclined to underplay great tragedy, like if one has a terminal illness, we'll say, Oh, isn't it a nuisance?' but if we break a fingernail, we say, 'Oh,the tragedy, I could just die, I'm devastated, darling'.

We laugh at the things that scare us most. Like the Victorians had loads of jokes and comic sketches about undertakers, funerals and death. And we giggled at the instructions given out by our Government during the cold war, and the Cuban Crisis. If they dropped a nuclear bomb, we were told to cover our windows with brown paper during the three minute warning: 'Shelter under the table' they said......as if we wouldn't stand stiff and scream if we were busy wallpapering the windows. 8)

Author:  Olivia22 [ Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy; chapters 1-5

ginof wrote:
Excellent points being made here. There should be a lot of synergy between other British television shows as he did some writing and made minor appearances on Monty Python and did writing for Dr. Who. He also described himself as a 'radical atheist', so that shouldn't be surprising, either. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_adams for references.


I didn't know he wrote for Doctor Who!!! I love Doctor Who!!! Well I love the new ones, the ones that start with Christopher Eccleston.

Yeah. I don't think that Arthur Dent has had much time to really react to what is happening to him and all around him. I think he's still in shock.

Author:  ginof [ Tue Oct 16, 2012 11:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy; chapters 1-5

I was amazed that he wrote for Dr. Who, too. Obviously it's old ones. He led a very interesting life. There is a book called the Salmon of Doubt that has a compilation of what was on his computer when he passed away. Not all of it was good, but there are a few howlers in it, and some very funny personal obvservations.

Back to Dr. Who, I get the impression that the BBC was a pretty tight knit group around that time, so if you were 'in' you got to meet a lot of people who felt the same way. Probably in your clicque of like thinking people. But I guess that ususally true for artists.

Author:  giselle [ Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy; chapters 1-5

Penelope wrote:
I think that we British are inclined to underplay great tragedy

I think this is an endearing quality of the British and relates directly to Adams title on HHG, Don't Panic. Its that stiff upper lip thing I think combined with a sort of 'seen it all before' ennui .. on the other end of the scale, the overreaction, I'm reminded of the British TV show 'Absolutely Marvelous' - they packed so much overreaction into half an hour that I got tired watching them. :P Arthur really captures the underplay well and we will see this as the story develops ... it really is amazing what a person can survive just by staying calm about the big things and focusing ones' anger or fear on the small things!

Author:  Penelope [ Tue Oct 16, 2012 2:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy; chapters 1-5

Quote:
giselle:

'Absolutely Marvelous'


Fabulous = AbFab :)

Author:  MaryLupin [ Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy; chapters 1-5

Does anyone have a favourite section in chapters 1 to 5? Mine is right near the end of 5 when the young Vogon guard comes to tell Prostetnic Bogon Jeltz about the new tech that has just made all hyperspatial express routes unnecessary - moments after Earth has been obliterated to make way for one.

As a writer I really liked the way DA didn't say anything more. He just left it up to his readers to put it all together and come up with a realization about governmental ethics. There's such a strong tendency in many writers to "make sure" their readers "get it" and most of the time it comes across as clunky (at best) and preachy (at worst). I feel safe with DA as a writer. I feel like he trusts my intelligence. Have no idea of he did really (that is trust his readers), but I suspect he did. Apart from the humour, I think it one of the reasons such pointed criticism still sells so very well.

And about Jane Austen - I found her hilarious - in a more genteel way perhaps - but just as pointed as DA. I mean the thing about a man of fortune - that he "must" be in want of a wife - gawd - so funny. I do think that we've come far enough from the cultural ways to have lost some of the import of some of the scenes though. I mean that time when Elizabeth sees Darcy coming up wet - I mean that's nearly pornographic for the time. Most "gentle" women hadn't seen a male torso since childhood and their brothers.

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