Book: Mostly Harmless


The book: Mostly Harmless, by Douglas Adams

The edition: Pan Books paperback, 230 pages with foreword by Dirk Maggs, plus materials from the Douglas Adams archives

The story: the 5th and (very) final chapter of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy “trilogy”, wherein Arthur Dent has to deal with multiple Universes, sandwiches, Elvis Priesley, and his own daughter, about whom he didn’t know anything about. (And this is as much as I can write without spoiling this book or the previous ones.)

My experience with the book & my thoughts: since the first Guide book, things get more absurd and more complicated with each book. Still very enjoyable, extremely funny, and genial.

The part with spoilers: I don’t think I get how the Grebulons contributed to the Vogons destroying Earth. It has to do with swiveling turrets, but I just don’t get it.

What I liked: language, absurd and enjoyable fantasy.

What I didn’t like: the ending, and the way things get too complicated and only rely on absurd to glue them together.

Language & writing: I just love the inventiveness of it!

In the author’s own words: accidentally, this book explains very well why New York doesn’t appeal to me as a touristic destination (although it seems to fascinate almost anyone else):

Tricia loved New York because loving New York was a good career move. It was a good retail move, a good cuisine move, not a good taxi move or a great quality of pavement move, but definitely a career move that ranked amongst the highest and the best. Tricia was a TV anchor person, and New York was where most of the world’s TV was anchored.

Also, I love how Adams turns ideas around his little finger:

If you are reading this on planet earth, then:
a) Good luck to you. There is an awful lot of stuff you don’t know anything about. […]
b) Don’t imagine you know what a computer terminal is.
A computer terminal is not some clunky old television with a typewriter in front of it. It is an interface where the mind and body can connect with the Universe and move bits of it about.

But most of all I love the way he can turn words around his little finger. Like this:

[After a very complicated explanation] “Yes?”
“Y… e… e… s. Ish.”

And this:

There were about three other customers in the place, sitting at tables, nursing beers. About three. Some people would say there were exactly three, but it wasn’t that kind of place, not the kind of place that you felt like being specific in.

And this:

He wasn’t his job to worry about that, though. It was his job to do his job, which was to do his job.

Links to better understand this book:

Random thought: I recently realized that students in Coimbra use their capes in much the same way a hitchhiker should use a towel… for just about anything!

Read this if: if you have read and enjoyed the previous four.

Counts as: Global Reading Challenge – the 7th Continent

“if you are reading this on planet earth, then good luck to you

Ditelo con parole vostre/Let your words be heard

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