And we’re back from the mid-season break to continue our high speed hitchhike through the audio versions of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, arriving today at the Quandary Phase, where we find Arthur Dent rather unexpectedly in a rain soaked field in Somerset. I think we can all relate to that, at least.
It is interesting to note at this point that the truck driver/Rain God Arthur hitches a ride with sounds remarkaly similar to the Arcturan Megafreighter pilot Zaphod Beeblebrox hitched with way back at the start of the Secondary Phase. That is a motif which runs through the Quandary and Quintessential Phases, which brought together as many of the original radio and TV cast as possible, as a big geunion and celebration of Hitchhiker’s; Arthur’s conversation in the Friends of the Planet shop is another nice example (once you know who the actor is).
The Quandary Phase is based on the story from So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, which is basically a love story between Arthur and the improbably named Fenchurch, brought to life here by Jane Horrocks. It is a change of pace from all the running around and saving the galaxy in the previous series, but Arthur deserves to be happy, so I find myself being happy with him as his lifestyle finally starts coming together.
Until, of course, Ford Prefect literally crashes the party, whereupon our heroes hitch a ride on a spaceship to God’s Final Message to His Creation, which is a good bit and has Marvin in it. There is also Christian Slater as Wonko the Sane, if big Hollywood names doing completely off the wall stuff is of any interest to you.
And that, in all important senses of the word, is that, except to say that the Quandary Phase ends more or less where Mostly Harmless, volume five in the trilogy, begins – and that is where we will pick it up tomorrow.