The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979)

by Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is delightful scifi silliness, a romp through the universe by a human and his alien friend. Arthur Dent of the UK is rescued with Ford Prefect by a spaceship just before the Earth is destroyed by Vogons to make way for a hyperspatial bypass. As their adventures begin, Arthur learns that Ford is not from Guildford but from a small planet near Betelguese, and that Ford is a researcher for the electronic book The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. 

When Vogons cast them into space, once again the pair is improbably saved at the last split-second — this time by the spaceship The Heart of Gold, at whose controls is the fugitive ex-president of the galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox. Zaphod steers them to the legendary planet of Magrethea, where a race of superintelligent beings built supercomputers to answer the ultimate questions. The topnotch “computer” was the Earth, destroyed before it yielded its results. Earth’s representative — Arthur — is at risk of a brain dissection, but he escapes once again.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy began as a BBC radio comedy. The book of the same name was followed by five more books, a stage show, comic-book adaptations, a computer game, a television series, and a film.


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