The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Starting in December 2017, Mythgard Academy will present a free seminar series on the The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the quintessential humorous science fiction novel by Douglas Adams. Despite a popular and persistent rumor, Dr. Corey Olsen will not spend 42 weeks on this book (though, he may spend 42 minutes on each slide), nor are we moving the weekly chats to Thursdays.
This book represents an expansion into the realm of classic science fiction novels studied in the Mythgard Academy, including Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed, Frank Herbert’s Dune, and Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. In addition, it is the first primarily humorous book we are exploring as part of this series. Another first for the Academy is the exploration of a book that was not originally a book! First aired as a radio BBC broadcast in 1978, The Hitchhiker’s Guide is a lesson in the growth of a multimedia franchise from a time before such franchises really existed. It has been adapted into various formats including (of course) novels, television shows, films, and even a computer game. And who doesn’t love playing the ever popular 42 puzzle?
Hitchhiker’s Guide tells the story of life, the universe and everything, focusing in particular on the adventures of a man named Arthur Dent, who wakes up on a particularly hapless Thursday and winds up becoming an unwitting (and sometimes unwitful) traveler throughout space and time, leaving the Earth behind to be destroyed as part of a Vogon public works project. Fearing that we’ve already spoiled the story by giving away too many details, we will leave off there and let you read the rest of this tragic tale of intergalactic errantry on your own.
A Message from Dr. Corey Olsen
Mythgard Academy welcomes all attendees at no charge. Each week during the seminar, the first 100 participants will be able to attend live. Don’t worry if you can’t join us live, though – you can access the recordings for no charge on our iTunes U course and on the Signum University YouTube channel.
These sessions on speculative works are made possible due to the generosity of Mythgard Institute supporters. Those who contribute can vote for which books we explore in our discussions. In 2017, we have continued our journey through The History of Middle-earth series with two volumes, Return of the Shadow and The Treason of Isengard, and pausing for a brief interstice to discuss … well, life, the universe, and everything … with the condemned Boethius in The Consolation of Philosophy.
Hitchhiker’s Guide was chosen by the newest iteration of the Council of the Wise under 2018 rules. I’m excited to see us looking at more science fiction before we get back to the steady progress through the HoME series with War of the Ring in the new year. If you want to be a part of the nomination and voting process for the books we look at after these two, visit our annual fund page to join the Council today!
– Dr. Corey Olsen
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy discussions will be held on Wednesdays at 10:00 pm Eastern Time
Week 1: A Slice of Lemon and a Gold Brick
Read: Preface – Chapter 3
Week 2: O the Vogonity
Read: Chapters 4 – 7
Week 3: Don’t Knock It
Read: Chapters 8 – 14
Week 4: Nothing to See Here
Read: Chapters 15 – 24
Week 5: Needlessly Messianic
Read: Chapters 25-35
Week 6: Perfectly Normal Paranoia
Read: Whatever you haven’t read yet