The book, or rather series of books, which I read and reread when I was a young teenager was the Hitch-hikers’ Guide to the Galaxy and its sequels.
There was a TV version at the time which was the talk of the schoolyard, but because my dad didn’t like it, and this was in the days before catch-up TV, I was never able to see it.
So I bought the book. I remember that it had a strange and brilliant cover: a blurred and colourful depiction of the Guide’s slogan, ‘Don’t Panic!’
That phrase sums up the humour and appeal of what is a very funny book. In theory it’s the story of Arthur Dent who narrowly escapes death when the Earth is unexpectedly demolished by hitching a lift on a spaceship with his friend Ford Prefect, who turns out to be an alien.
But the real star is the Guide itself – supposed to be a book-like personal computer which is updated by intergalactic travellers with tips and information about different planets.
So the story is constantly broken up with hilarious descriptions of strange life forms and daft planets. All really making fun of our own modern lives.
My favourite bit is the dinner in the Restaurant at the End of the Universe: a creature which has evolved to want to be eaten and tells those about to eat it which parts are nicest! Gruesome but hilarious.
And of course, the ideas were way ahead of their time. For example, the Guide is like an iPad or the Internet.
I read this book over and over again along with the others in the series. I still think it’s funny.
When I eventually saw the TV programme, it wasn’t very good. I’m glad I read the book instead!