Alright, since I've been thinking a lot about this topic it's time to work out whether The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy is - or is not - a classic. So let me present what I think about the book. I do enjoy it, I don't love it as some people do but I'm trying to come up with as objectionable an argument as possible.Reasons for it being a classic1. Test of time
- 30 years is, in my view, enough time for vast historical changes to occur. Think about how much has happened since 2000 and the rise of terrorism as a global threat? A lot of values were changing in the era this was published and a lot of cultural values and ideologies have changed further. I would argue that historically The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy
shows us what some of the ideologies of its time were and also can provide an interesting contrast between the thoughts of Douglas Adams and the time he wrote in.2. Influence
- The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy
has influenced many current authors and artists in various fields. As a comedy it is influential with Douglas Adams' unique style having caught onto other modern writers. As a science fiction work it has inspired looking into the bizarre side of science and unknown wonders of space in both fiction and reality.3. Popularity and ideas
- A classic, most people would argue, is one of those books that have to be read before you die. The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy
, I would argue, is one of those books due to the influence it has had and its ideas. It might be a comedy but it is a book that uses comedy to show how bizarre and strange life, the universe and everything else really is. It really shows that comedy is not just for entertainment but for questioning and revealing truth.
As a book it also has a currently large readership, being one of the most popular books for its time period. Although popularity is no argument for a book being good it does indicate that a lot of people have found it a book that should be read.Reasons for it not being a classic1. Test of time
- 30 years may be a decent period of time. However the question is, is it enough time to consider it as a classic? 2. Relevance
- Apart from the recent movie which I've not seen and I've been told was pretty bad, has this book lost its cultural relevance? That is another question which perhaps needs more time to look through and depends on what group you were among. Some would say the book is still relevance in how it has influenced current authors, others would say it's not relevant because other books have taken over and the ideas in this are hardly profound.3. What does it actually do as a book?
- Apart from inspiring other authors (which in itself is not necessarily the sign of a classic since any book could technically inspire an artist) does this have a great depth to it? Could we really stand it up next to books like 'Great Expectations', 'Pride and Prejudice' or, to pick a more modern volume 'The Lord of the Rings'?Conclusion
Perhaps in the end what I should conclude is that it's more of a 'cult classic' at this stage. A classic depending on who is analysing the book. A lot of people interestingly enough have put this on shelves marked 'classics' however that doesn't mean they're correct.