1978/1956: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Last Question

1125325Guess what! I’m not dead! But, I think it’s definitely safe to say this – I won’t be completing my goal in a year, as was my original goal. I have definitely fallen off the rails. In fact, its been 24 days since I initially started this post. However, I am still determined to keep on trekking. I do feel as though I was pushing myself to get too much in and out within a week and I wasn’t having as good a time as I could have. I took a nice, needed break, and since then I’ve been stuck in rut. I have gone ahead with a several items, but haven’t had time to write about all them. Now, with all of my and my wifes vacation hours used up, exams and assignments finally finished up and no more weddings to attend I hope to get caught up with all my pre-enjoyed works. Two of these are things that I took in a long while ago, when I was still going strong at a year a week. Before I fell off the wagon. One – a comedy that uses the end of the world as a backdrop to challenge our understanding of logic and reasoning. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which even goes as far as to give us the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything. The other, its inspiration and another entry done by one of my favourite authors – Isaac Asimov.

The-Hitchhikers-Guide-to-the-Galaxy-The-BookThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy initially premiered on the BBC. But not on tv. No, this was a radio program. I have a particular fondness for radio as I used to spend hours a week in my formative years listening to old-time radio shows late at night. Some great characters came from radio – The Shadow, The Lone Ranger, The Green Hornet, even Jimmy Olsen. Others did not originate there, but definitely had a presence, Superman, Sam Spade, Sherlock Holmes, but that was during a golden age. By the 70’s radio dramas had all but disappeared. So it was to my astonishment and liking that I discovered where The Hitchhiker’s guide came from.
The story itself is somewhat chaotic. The protagonist, Arthur Dent, finds himself in a series of inescapable situations at the end of each episode. Upon return at the beginning of the next episode, logic and reasoning is twisted to explain his escape from the inescapable. The comedy comes from Douglas’s mastery of wordplay and tone. It takes advantage of many opportunities to point out the stupid things we say and do in everyday discussion that we do simply because it is what we think we are supposed to.

Initially, I quite enjoyed the radio program, but after the first couple episodes I found that the story didn’t really progress, and the jokes seemed to be the same type of thing over and over again. As I got further and further into it i just wanted to be done with it and move on.

You+sir+have+earned+a+thumb+now+excuse+_8e2a6b7627f32a010dfd63a5a2694f54Perhaps the most interesting concept of the entire series was “answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything” which is 42. In the story, a long time earlier, a supercomputer — Deep Thought — is built to answer this question. It takes 10 million years for the computer to give the answer. Obviously, it is not the answer people expect. To me this speaks to all the time people spend looking for the meaning of life. Are we really looking for the answer, or do we have an answer that we like and just want someone to back it up for us. I, personally, have a direction and I’ll trust God to take care of all the meaning behind it.

Overall, not a bad series, but not great either. Interesting, unique, makes you think a little, makes you laugh a little, but kind of repetitive. 2.5/5. Since its release, it has become quite popular, spawning further radio programs, novelizations of the programs, a television show and a movie, which I may watch simply for Martin Freeman and Zooey Deschanel.

The-Last-Question-AsimovI had heard that the concept of the question concept is inspired by Isaac Asimov’s The Last Question, supposedly his favourite of all his stories. so I read it. It was not my favourite of his works. It follow humans asking a supercomputer – Multivac, from some of his other works – the question of whether or not entropy can be reversed, which is a fine topic to study on its own, but as time passes people become more and more godlike until we become a god, which I personally think is far-fetched and somewhat ridiculous. Beyond my own religious beliefs, we are slowly killing our own planet, and have yet to do anything for species that is not profit based I don’t think there is any chance that divinity is within our reach. Anyways, the story ends with time diminishing to nothing and us asking the question again, which leads to Multivac responding – “Let there be light”. The concept of circular time and what we do now leading to what has come before is a great one, that I often enjoy. For example in Mark Millar’s Superman: Red Son, where the Luthor lineage and tat earth evolving into the El lineage and sending the last survivor to a thriving planet where he will have powers beyond those of mortal men. That was brilliant. Here, I did not enjoy it. But that’s cool I don’t have to like everything he writes.

Anyways, thanks for reading and thanks for sticking around (I’ve continually had readers despite my absence). I will do my best to keep up with this.

Pictures from: http://www.heikegani.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/The-Last-Question-Asimov.jpg, http://cdn.silodrome.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/The-Hitchhikers-Guide-to-the-Galaxy-The-Book.jpg, http://www.funnyjunk.com/funny_pictures/4386036/Dont+panic/161#161, https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?SeriesID=22760619

Bonus:

I was going to originally combine Hitchhiker’s Guide and The Backwards Time Machine together, but I decide The Last Question fit better. I do feel The Backwards Time Machine deserves a mention but not its own post so I will do it here:

I hated it. I didn’t agree with any of its logic, the whole thing sucked. There you go. Boom. Blogged. Ok, bye.

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2 thoughts on “1978/1956: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Last Question

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