I figured I ought to read the book before the movie, and I’m kind of glad I did. I don’t know quite what I expected from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” – and I can’t quite understand why exactly it was that I never bought it at school (every Thursday, all four of the books would be lying on the same table of the school bookshop, and as avid a reader as I was back then, I must’ve bought almost every book except those four). I think I would’ve really loved this when I was 11 or 12. Now, it’s not so much my kind of thing. While there are clever moments, I can never get away from how much the book sounds like it was written almost stream-of-consciousness, when it could’ve been more deep and crafty. There are way too many stupid words and names that get in the way of the genuinely funny. I can see a similarity in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books – only her names and words aren’t quite as annoying – and Roald Dahl … these are the last books I would’ve thought I’d be comparing “Hitchhiker’s” to before reading it.
I’m probably slightly exaggerating my response because so many people love these things. There’s stuff that I really loved – and I can see myself enjoying the movie infinitely more, in fact, I can’t wait to see it – but it’s not a book I’ll be approaching again very soon.
I bought the new film tie-in edition which was even more a bargain at £3.73 than I initially thought. The book itself is shorter than I expected, and nearly half of this edition’s pagelength is taken up by an afterword and interviews with cast and crew etc. It details the whole sordid story of getting the movie made, and really gets you involved with the whole emotional journey to the point where I almost felt guilty for not really liking the book. There are two bunches of glossy colour photos from the movie and behind-the-scenes, too. All tie-ins should be this good.