Day 65: Getting Way too Serious with Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

You might remember this time last week, I told you that I had started reading Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and was only 36 pages in. Well, a week later, I finally finished it. That might represent the longest time it has taken anyone to read this book, but I'm not sure how to prove that. This is also the first science fiction book I have ever read, although I'm not sure it counts because it so blatantly makes fun of the genre.

The Guide, as it is called, is a a comedy science-fiction novel about Arthur, who is the only man rescued from Earth seconds before it is demolished, saved by a outer-space resident and author of the Guide. The novel shows how Arthur adjusts to his new surroundings and searches for the meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything.

For the most part, the novel has a fairly simple plot filled with a ton of made-up alien babble, but does so with hilarity and finesse.

To keep this short, I'll just say that this book is supposed to be a silly foray into an impossible and delightful world with all the seriousness of mind-candy. At this point in my life, however, I actually took a lot of overly-serious comfort in its themes.

Towards the end of the novel, we learn that a computer, named Deep Thought, has been charged to determine the meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything. It takes the machine 7 million years of processing to figure it out, but when he does, the answer he delivers is 42. The joke? The Ultimate Question of what this answers is unknown.

While I'm here on Earth having (likely clinical-grade) anxiety over my future and how I want to live my life and feeling like I'm doing everything wrong and freaked out that if I don't start something now that I'll never do it, the whole "Meaning of Life" is 42.

It's nothing really. Our own struggle to put a name to our meaning is just as irrelevant as 42 is to Life and Everything.

In fact, now that I read it back a couple of times, it's starting to become funny.

Maybe that's the meaning of life after all.

See, way too serious.


  1. I don't think it's way too serious. In fact, I took a similar comfort from Hitchhiker when I read it. It's funny but at the same time also makes a strong point about our determination to find meaning in all we do. I think that's what makes it a classic (besides being really funny).

    By the way, it also took me roughly a week to read it. :o)

  2. First of all, thank you for the book recommendation that you so generously offered weeks ago :)

    And as for seriousness, I caught myself reading this and being oddly comforted by my extreme lack of importance in the scheme of the Universe, and then finding little pieces of myself in Marvin the Paranoid Android.

    It bordered on disturbing...and maybe ironic?

    Glad to know it too you a while to read it too. That's the consequence of a busy life I guess.