On the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series
The Subversive Dismal Scientist
Douglas Adams and the Rule of Unreason
By Vox Day
It is not written in thirty-foot-high letters of fire on top of the Quentulus Quazgar Mountains, but there is a distinct message that can be found woven throughout Douglas Adams’ (regrettably no longer) increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker’s Trilogy. His is a seditious message, a wildly subversive one, in fact, considering the ironic circumstances of its germination and subsequent propagation.
The dark master of the black art of humor, Adams is a fearless thrower of flames; an equal-opportunity mocker, his targets are freely distributed across the spectrum. He ridicules rock bands, religious fundamentalists, quantum mechanists, environmentalists and the Oxford English Dictionary. He mocks Hollywood screenwriters and philosophers with equal enthusiasm; he lampoons politicians and poets with effortlessly cruel flair. If an author can be discerned through the veil of his characters, he would appear to be more Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged than the long-suffering Arthur Dent, though Adams does not trouble to order his taunts alphabetically.
To fully appreciate the overarching contempt that fuels Adams’ humor, it is necessary to understand that the government that inspired it was not the post-Thatcher New Labour of Tony Blair’s Cool Britannia, but the grim, ponderous Old Labour regime of Harold Wilson and James Callaghan. Economically illiterate and dominated by socialist trade unions, its policies had led to a severe devalution of the pound combined with harsh currency controls that limited the amount of cash British vacationers could take out of the country, forcing a nation with colonies in Bermuda and the Virgin Islands to spend its …