'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' as read by Stephen Fry


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/01/02/the-hitchhikers-guide-to-the.html


There is also the 1978 BBC radio version


Before being adapted into a book, it was a radio serial. I’m sure Fry is great, but I can’t imagine he can compete with the cast they assembled. You should really get her the original version.


Now I am trying to imagine Billy West reading it as Phillip J. Fry. :slight_smile:


Like other people have said, the radio serial is really good, but the book makes a complete left turn away from where the radio plays went, so if you like the book story best, this may still be worth it.


He doesn’t have to compete with the original cast, he is the original cast!

Er, sort of. Not really. When they decided to adapted books 3-5 into radio, Peter Jones had already passed away, so they cast Steven Fry as the book, acting alongside the original cast. But those weren’t the originals, so he’s not really the original cast. Point being, Steven Fry may not be able to compete with the original cast, but he was at least considered worthy enough to join them.


The radio play, the book, the live performance, the movie. They are all different versions, with different text, additions, subtractions, etc. No one version is better than another. Adams was not a purist about his work, so neither should his fans be.

I’m sure Stephen Fry does a masterful job, but my favorite will always be DNA himself reading them. He seems to be both elated and a bit put out to be reading them and given his feelings about deadlines, that feels spot on. I also found new jokes in the text that I didn’t notice while reading purely by the pausing and emphasis that he used. I guard my original boxed CD sets of DNA reading all the books vigorously because they aren’t available anymore.


Don’t forget the Infocom text adventure adaptation Douglas Adams co-wrote!

Unless you’re trying, very studiously, to forget about the Babel Fish puzzle, in which case, I apologize.


So many hours wasted in the days before the internet was there to provide -spoilers- solutions.

So. Many.


Totally agree, esp. Stephen Moore (Marvin) Mark Wing-Davey (Zaphod) and Peter Jones (the Book).

Stephen Fry is a fine narrator (and he was pitch perfect as Jeeves) but when I want to introduce someone to HHGTTG, a set of mp3’s of the radio series is always my go-to.


Won’t somebody at last put this book out of its misery? It was hilarious in the 70s, just like Monty Python in the 60s and Tom Lehrer in the 50s, and they all deserve a decent burial.


To make matters even more complicated. There is an LP version on Vinyl.
That takes an even other direction from both the book and the radio play.
And there’s a Radio version that was played on US radio and a radio version originally played in the UK. (basically they tightened up some pacing…removed some british slang…and recut the music…and got rid of the pink floyd bit for copyright reasons)

It’s wildly inaccurate.


Stupid fish. If I remember correctly, there was a toll number you could call for hints. Pretty sure my brothers and I had to explain that it was not a sex line to our parents…


Noooooo! (wailing in dismay)

Any book you love so much that you’ve read it a hundred times will certainly be stale if you try to read it like it’s new — or nearly new — to you. Instead, read it slowly, savoring each moment. “Here’s that bit that I used to quote so much in college.” The squelching mud! I love the squelching mud! Squelch. Squelch. That’s just the sound mud makes when you’re in it.” “And here comes Zaphod! He’s such a jerk.”

It’s kind of like reading a Shakespeare (please insert your favorite playwright here) play. You know it so well you can quote it, and see the actors’ positions on the stage, and anticipate the bit that’s coming next.

I’ve got to go find my copy now. . .


Fun fact Douglas Adams once played with Pink Floyd.

Okay it was walkon ‘gift’ for his birthday from David Gilmore…but he still did it.


The fact that Stephen and Douglas were best friends should be considered in this. To me, Stephen will always be the definitive “voice of the guide”


And that’s not even factoring in that the Primary Phase and Secondary phase on the radio are the originals, while the third book is a reworked version of a Doctor Who script Douglas Adams wrote (but not Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, that’s a different Douglas Adams book made from different reworked Doctor Who scripts), meaning the Tertiary Phase of the radio dramas are an adaptation of an adaptation, whose plot doesn’t fit in with the way the Secondary Phase left off. And then books 4 and 5 are completely original, making the Quaternary and Quintessential Phases direct adaptations of those, but with more changes to try and make the plot derailment between the Secondary and Tertiary Phase make more sense, and to accommodate Douglas Adams’s regrets about how he left the last book.

Really, it’s become a whole sort of general mishmash at this point.


You, good sir, do not know where your towel is.


The young me found it wonderfully funny, the old me finds it poignant and sometimes disturbingly cynical and accurate. The nice thing is we both enjoy it just as much.


Thank you sooooo much! Used to have this on cassette and wore it out.