Another Sci Fi Classic

What’s it about?
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is an absurdist take on the end of the world. It’s also a sci-fi classic. There’s been a movie version and a radio play. The second and third books in the series were good, the fourth book was decent, and the fifth one is eminently skippable. But those aren’t this book. This book is about Arthur Dent. His house gets torn down and then the Earth gets blown up. His friend Ford turns out to be an alien who can help him get off the planet seconds before the disaster. They end up having a big adventure, heading off to a planet that builds other planets – Magrathea. There’s also a depressed robot. You know, for laughs.

Why should you read it? 
I’ve read THGTTG so many times, I can’t articulate anymore what makes it good. I can tell you that this time we listened to it. We were road-tripping to Yosemite for a vacation, and I found an audiobook version read by Douglas Adams himself. I grabbed it, figuring my eleven-year-old was ready. She thought it was weird and funny, and promptly grabbed the book off the shelf when we got home. (This is a parenting win, in my book.) The tale is a classic, and the author did a wonderful job reading it.

A Modern Superhero

Tigerman

 

What’s it about?
Tigerman is about war and superheroes and what if the Iraq and Afghanistan wars bred a superhero from the British troops? What on earth would he be like? Why would he be created? What does that say about Western society? Plot-wise, there’s a soldier, suffering from PTSD-lite, who’s been stationed on a make-believe island near Yemen that is about to environmentally self-destruct. There’s an attack on a local cafe, and a boy asks the soldier to avenge the cafe owner. How does he do that under the nose of a local UN force, and what are the ramifications?

Why should you read it?
Because Nick Harkaway is a pretty awesome author. He’s got the right amount of swagger and touch for narrating international politics. (John le Carre is, literally, his father. It runs in the family.) His stories are funny and touching and in this book he has a sentence where he uses the f-word as every major part of speech. I laughed out loud a number of times. Recommended.