Day: March 19, 2012

I hope things will start rolling on the 14th

I need a ride – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

I just don’t dig this. I don’t get where the craze is coming from. This book has a high average rating, but I think I am missing something. Or perhaps I am among the minority who doesn’t find this a tad enjoyable.

Sure, there are funny moments, thanks to the sarcasm that I am inclined to favor, but overall, I am not enjoying. Okay, let’s check the circumstances: I just finished a deep, psychological book about a piano teacher gone wild, I started reading this while I was traveling out of town with my office mates, and I can’t remember when was the last time I read something like this.

I remember Never Let Me Go, which is partly science fiction only because the protagonists are clones. That’s it, none of that geeky talk. And in this book, I am lambasted with talk about astrophysics, which could be purely theoretical in the sense that it’s just written for the sake of having an explanation on things lest they have no foundation, regardless of the presence of any existing study or evidence.

“The Babel Fish,” said The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy quietly, “is small, yellow and leechlike, and probably the oddest thing in the Universe. It feeds on brainwave energy received not from its own carrier but from those around it. It absorbs all unconscious mental frequencies from this brainwave energy to nourish itself with. It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix formed by combining the unconscious thought frequencies with nerve signals picked up from the speech centers of the brain which has supplied them. The practical upshot of all this is that if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language. The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.”

And there’s all that clumsy alien talk, which should be fine because I survived A Clockwork Orange. This should be a simpler exercise.

What I am probably saying is that I don’t enjoy fiction about outer space, intergalactic travel, and aliens with two heads. So that means I am not as geeky as I thought I was. But I sense some theses regarding the existence of God in some parts. There are some antitheses to counter those, but they are too weak to synthesize everything. Or maybe this is reserved for the latter parts of the novel?

I also get this feeling that the author is mocking the stupidity of humanity. I can’t shake off the feeling that he is being very condescending, and he doesn’t even have enough grounding. This is too early to say because I am only halfway, but the little slips here and there exasperate me.

I am now at that part where the protagonists Ford, a researcher from some far, far planet, and Arthur, the last surviving human, are hitchhiked by this new spaceship. On board are Zaphod, the president of the universe; Marvin, a snooty robot; and Trillian, Zaphod’s girl and Arthur’s past prospect.

By the way, what are they doing on outer space? The earth has been recently obliterated, so Ford and Arthur hitchhiked on the very spaceship that was responsible for the death of the earth. Quite funny, because nobody noticed the arrival of these aliens, except for Ford, because he is an alien himself. Why he took Arthur with him, I have no idea, aside from the fact that they have been friends for six years, tops.

Now, they will be hopping to every point of the universe, thanks to the super advanced technology of that spaceship. I hope their travels will be fun?

Date Started: March 16, 2012. 12:45 PM. Book #14 of 2012.