Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

I just finished this book by Douglas Adams. For some reason I assumed that I had read it before, but it was some other book with a similar theme. This is the first time in my life that I have read the book after seeing the movie, and also the first time when I thought that the movie adaptation wasn't too bad. Though I saw the movie on the plane over the Atlantic and that may have made it look more interesting than it really is, of course.

Adams was a funny writer, especially in the way he fails to meet the reader's expectations. Like in this scene where the Earthman, Arthur, is trying to find some tea to drink on the spaceship:

He [Arthur] had found a Nutri-Matic machine which had provided him with a plastic cup filled with a liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

Very nicely done. It would be even funnier if it didn't sound a little like George Bush's ideas in his speeches.

But for an economist this was the best bit in the book: When the spaceship approaches the planet of Magrathea which used to specialize in making luxury planets Ford Prefect and Zaphod Beeblebrox get into an argument whether Magrathea is just a myth or a real planet. Ford says this:

"You're crazy, Zaphod," he was saying, "Magrathea is a myth, a fairy story, it's what parents tell their kids about at night if they want them to grow up to become economists, it's..."

I loved that one, though nobody told me fairy tales about Magrathea.