The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the GalaxyI know it’s hard to believe, but I read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams for the first time last week. It amazes me that it took me so long to read it since it’s so well-loved and exactly my type of book. I’ve seen the movie several times and I had a copy of the book, but I lent it to someone before I read it and never got it back.

When I compiled half a dozen “Top 100” book lists earlier this year, Hitchhiker’s was #1 on the list. With how hilarious and unpredictable the book is, it’s not hard to see why. Quotes like

 The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.

and

On the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.

made the book a fun and delightful read and I highly recommend it. 🙂

Book vs. Movie

This is one of the rare cases in which I read the book after I watched the movie. I know a lot of people don’t care for the movie, but I like it and I felt that it stayed reasonably true to the book, though there were some differences:

  • Physical appearances of characters (ex. Trillian is supposed to look somewhat Middle Eastern)
  • Addition of Humma Kavula and Questular Rontok (they don’t exist in the book)
  • Zaphod’s motivations in searching for Magrathea
  • Galatic Police vs. Vogons pursuing them

While the book is (of course) better, I really liked the movie’s animations for the guide entries and I loved Alan Rickman as the voice of Marvin. I couldn’t help but read Marvin’s lines in his voice.

Ender’s Game

Ender's GameI’m always looking for books to read. I usually find books based on recommendations from friends and family or online sources like /r/books. Over the last few weeks, I’ve put together a spreadsheet (have I mentioned I love spreadsheets?) that’s a compilation of half a dozen “Top 100” book lists I found. My favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy, so a few of the lists are heavily sci-fi/fantasy based. I then came up with an equation that rates books based on their rankings in the list, with the most liked books at the top. My long list of books will definitely keep me busy for a while. 🙂

Ender’s Game was #3 in my list (behind The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and the Dune series, which I’ll read soon) and it’s one that always seems to show up in discussions of favorite books. I decided to read it, knowing nothing about it other than the fact that it’s a well-loved sci-fi book.

Ender's Game (Movie)
Still from the Ender’s Game movie

Ender’s Game is set in a futuristic Earth and is about a young boy named Ender, born a third child in spite of Earth’s two-child policy. Earth had been attacked twice by an insect-like alien race dubbed the “buggers.” Fearing a third invasion, the International Fleet (IF) seeks a strong commander and strategist. In hopes that Ender might be the leader they were looking for, they send Ender to Battle School for training. In spite of his age and size, Ender does well in school and exceeds expectations, overcoming all obstacles thrown at him… but is Ender capable of protecting Earth from the buggers?

While I enjoyed Ender’s Game and thought it was worth reading, I wasn’t blown away by it quite like I was expecting. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to reading Speaker of the Dead, sequel to Ender’s Game.

Also worth noting, the Ender’s Game movie is due to be released November 1, 2013. It’s always interesting to see Hollywood’s take on the books I’ve read.