The reader in this book reads the text flatly. He buzzes through spectacularly described scenes or events and gives no feeling of weight to their absurdity or vastness. This was disappointing after coming from an excellent reading of the first book done by Stephen Fry. The real deal-breaker was that Zaphod sounds like Joe Pesci in "My Cousin Vinny". Zaphod's lines were so distracting that it made the book unlistenable.
I love Douglas Adams and have read the series several times through. The version of the first book available on Audible has a great narrator and I was thoroughly pleased with my purchase. I have no idea why the rest of the series has a different narrator, but I am not nearly as pleased with this audiobook.
First of all, as the other reviewers have said, the Zaphod voice is absolutely horrible. I mean, Zaphod is supposed to be annoying, but sheesh. Also, there is some serious overuse of digital voice manipulation. I like it much better when the narrator can give the impression of several different characters without having to resort to computerized voice changes.
I'm a big HGTTG fan, and over the years I've listened to all the radio dramatizations and at least 3 or 4 different versions of the audiobooks (Stephen Fry, Douglas Adams, Martin Freeman and I think Simon Jones, who played Arthur Dent in the original radio series).
Martin Freeman played Arthur Dent in the 2005 HGTTG movie, so he's familiar with the material, understands most of the characters, and a couple of his characterizations are pretty good - I thought he did a great Marvin. And he's a good actor, too - he plays Watson in the new BBC version of Sherlock Holmes that everyone loves so much.
But his Zaphod is bad, it's inconsistent with the radio series, and I found myself wanting to give him either a cup of strong coffee or a couple of anti-depressants, because he just doesn't seem to have much enthusiasm. And HGTTG is supposed to have a lot of zip.
My recommendation is: Don't buy this version. Try to track down the Douglas Adams or Simon Jones versions.
And oddly enough, the narrator was actor Martin Freeman who I've enjoyed on the BBC series 'Sherlock'. But I thought his accents and inflections were all wrong for delivery of Adams' humor.
This is a great book, and if you can get past Martin Freeman's grating rendition of Zaphod Beeblebrox, you'll probably enjoy this, as it's a pretty good book. I could only get a quarter of the way through without having to stop and turn it off. Beeblebrox sounds like a love child of Rocky Balboa and Jerry Lewis, if the child had a fingernail-blackboard fetish. Annoying characters can be entertaining, but not annoying performances.
Mentioned before, but I must agree that the voice acting is terrible, specifically Zaphod. It's a shame really, because otherwise the book would have been great.
douglas adams is great at what he does but one thing can be said about the hitchikers series it starts at a high point and gently slopes down. still amazing though. and martin freeman is great choice for these little misadventures of arthur dent and crew
The narration was really a let down. Changing the voice of the characters between the first book really ruins it for me. The voice for my favorite character Marvin was the biggest disappointment - the narrator should at at least tried to keep some consistency.
I've always loved Freeman as an actor - never realized he was so talented with voice acting. Having played Arthur Dent on the big screen, he knew exactly how to play the humor that is unique to this author. Loved the story, loved the universe, and yes, I even quite liked his Zaphod voice. I thought it was adorable. Don't let that dissuade you from listening. I've listened to hundreds of books where readers barely differentiate between characters, and Martin goes above and beyond. Great job
This story is not as exciting as the first of the series but is still entertaining. Martin Freeman is entertaining in his narration, but pauses every few words which makes it more difficult for me personally to concentrate on what he is actually saying. His variety in character vocals was nice. The only issue I had with that is the silly American accent of one of our supporting characters. An American accent is not what is silly, mind you. It was the exaggeration of it that annoyed me. For a character with so many lines, I would have preferred a less irritating accent. Nonetheless, it was still a good narration and story.