audio thoughts: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: The Complete Radio Series

This is a classic.  There’s no getting around it. Once you’ve experience the Hitchhiker’s Guide radio series, you will probably never want to listen to another boring one-narrator audio book again.

The complete collection includes dramatizations of all five of the Hitchhiker stories.  The first two were the original series, done for the BBC radio back in the early 1980s, the last three were done later on.  It does show when it comes to the writing.  It’s not that the wit/humor isn’t there, it’s more that the ability to write for this audio medium becomes more difficult.  I felt that the Quandary and Quintessential phases were the weakest when it came to portraying the story through clever dialogue and relied too heavily on the narrator for setting up situations. 

But, in the end, it doesn’t matter.  They are forgivable sins because this series is so fantastic.  Having all 5 of these stories together, traveling the galaxy with Arthur, Ford, Zaphod, Trillian, and Marvin make it all worth while. 

It is important to note that the radio series has the Super-Mega-Happy-Ending that was not part of ‘Mostly Harmless’, the book.  It didn’t really bother me, as I always felt the ending in ‘Mostly Harmless’ to be a kind of “Look, I am totally DONE with these characters” from Douglas Adams and insuring that no one could beg him to bring them back.  But the radio shows were produced after Adams’ death, so it just feels weird that they changed the ending.  But that’s entertainment for you.

If you’ve never experienced anything Hitchhiker’s Guide related before, PICK THIS UP!  Buy it or borrow it from the library, but you MUST hear it.  It is a classic in radio production and in science fiction, and humor writing too!  So well done that once it’s finished, you find yourself wondering when you can listen to it again….

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