rereading douglas adams

Thinking about rereading Douglas Adams' (once "increasingly inaccurately named") Hitchhiker's Trilogy, maybe to cut the "every Vonnegut novel" sequence I'm in.

(I am aware how strongly both series lean into the "what white high school boys think is amazing" vibe - but both Vonnegut and Adams are solid writers with a ton of ideas and strong humanist bents)

I remember re-rereading the Douglas Adams series before, but I think that must have been 20 years ago, yikes.

Five years ago, discussing the "specialness" of the Bible (like wondering if almost any series could serve as a "holy book" if it had folks reading it closely for moral instruction, and working to pull out lessons from it) I chose the HHGTTG series as a thought experiment counterexample. And it was a TERRIBLE choice for that discussion because there are so many amazing thought experiments crammed in the series. So much of the book is Adams framing deep ideas in goofy scenarios - the Total Perspective Vortex, Agrajag's reincarnations, etc... like, Adams confesses that the Man in the Shack is Adams retorting his philosophy student friends who were talking about ridiculously strict empiricism and skepticism. You could absolutely make a holy text of it, 42 or no.

It's so hard to read with "beginner's eyes", so many turns of phrase and whole paragraphs have been so deeply pressed into my memory.

(Also, to be fair, DNA doesn't set himself up as much of a worldbuilder, which is usually crucial for my enjoyment of other science fiction or fantasy. He spins hard wacky, anything that is good for a laugh or to explore the philosophical point. I think that's why some of my favorite writing is when he returns to Earth, as in So Long and Thank for All the Fish and the Dirk Gently stuff - literally and figuratively a bit more grounded.)

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