This Book I Read...
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy with Matt Beighton

This month CM Lowry is talking to Matt Beighton, writer and game designer, about The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams in ‘This Book I Read…

Topics covered include:

  • The proper pronunciation of Matt’s surname, along with how to pronounce the names of various small towns in England!
  • Matt describes The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy as: ‘A surrealist quest across the galaxy, full of madness, satirical takedowns of 1980s Britain and a whole load of nonsense for 1500 pages’.
  • Matt shares some of his favourite quotes, that illustrate Adam’s surrealist approach and strange obsessions (such as with towels!)
  • Nothing really matters – The main protagonist, Arthur Dent, doesn’t learn anything over the course of five books. Adam’s takes a very novel approach in that there is no redemptive story arc.
  • Adams is indulging a joke – authors never get to just go off on three page tangents, but He does. This is pretty unique and takes a certain disciple – to purposefully not develop the characters at all.
  • The Probability Drive & Adams’ amazing mastery of the Deus Es Machina writing device – explaining things away but in really bold and exciting ways rather than it feeling like lazy or boring writing.
  • Matt discussed some of the aspects of the book that are somewhat problematic now, including how dates some of the cultural references (digital watches?) feel now.
  • The tedium of reading some of the rambling, longer and stranger passages. Reading all five books back to back is not recommended
  • Eion Colfar’s sixth book, And Another Thing…, which was authorised by Douglas Adam’s widow and published on the 30th anniversary of the first book.
  • The difficulty of bringing yourself to read the last book in a series because of the finality that it brings.
  • Hunt this out for a read if you love Sci-fi and Satire – it abandons all the rules and if full of spontaneous fun.
  • If you enjoy The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy check out Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend. It deals in Adam-esque satire.

Links to things we discussed:

More about Matt Beighton

More about us

Music by CM Lowry. Editing by Dave Emmerson 

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