'This must be a Thursday,' said Arthur to himself, sinking low over his beer, 'I never could get the hang of Thursdays.'
Arthur Dent is having a very, very bad day. On the same day his house is about to be demolished by bulldozers to make room for a bypass, the earth is also about to be demolished too, although it's by a fleet of Spaceships, to, somewhat ironically, make room for a bypass. Fortunately for Arthur his friend Ford Prefect, a supposedly out of work actor, happens to really be an alien hitchhiker who's been stuck on Earth for the past 15 years and he manages to get them onboard the alien ship. That's when the adventure really begins!
At this point I should probably explain that the Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy is actually a sort of electronic book. It has the comforting words of DON'T PANIC in large friendly letters on the front. Which is one of the reasons why in many places through out the Galaxy it now sells more than the Encyclopaedia Galactica as the source of all Knowledge and Wisdom despite the fact it has more glaring omissions and verges on the wildly inaccurate. It's also cheaper. Ford Prefect is a roving reporter for the Hitchhikers Guide.
Ford has actually got them a lift on a Vogon spaceship. The Vogon's, despite their love of poetry, are not predisposed to hitchhikers and make quick work of blasting the pair into outer space where, by an amazing improbability, they are picked up by Ford's semi-cousin Zaphod Beeblebrox, adventurer, ex-hippy, convicted criminal, manic self publicist and possibly insane President of the Galatica of the Imperial Galactic Government. Oh, and he has two heads. Zaphod and his accomplice Trillian, a girl he picked up at a party in Islington (London) have just stolen the Heart of Gold - the newest, most advanced, most unique ship created. The secret to the Heart of Gold is that it is powered by an Improbability Drive, which allows you to cross vast distances of space in the blink of an eye and Zaphod needs it to find the most improbable planet that ever existed - Magrathea.
Magrathea was once the home of the planet building industry and was once the richest planet of all time. Unfortunately this reduced all other planets to abject poverty and no one could afford their own planet anymore and so Magrathea passed into myth. This is the place where Arthur, Ford, Zaphod and Trillian learn not only the true nature of the planet known as Earth but also the answer to life, the universe and everything. The real problem is that they don't know the question!
This is a roller coaster of a story which such unforgettable characters including Marvin the very Paranoid Android, Slartibartfast award winning fjord creator and Eddie the highly irritating computer.
The Hitchhikers Guide originally started out as a radio series in 1978, the popularity of which lead to some publishers becoming interested and the rest, as they say, is history. The book itself is actually part one of five, a trilogy in five parts if you will.. Yes it is essentially a parody, yes you can tell it was written in the late 70's and early 80's and yes the humour is quintessentially "British" but it's still much read, much loved and very very funny. So much from the book has slipped into popular culture - ever hear or read someone reply to a question with the answer "42"? (It's the answer to life, the universe and everything). Has the term "Pan Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster" ever come to your attention or have you wondered why AltaVista's Babel Fish translation page is so named? It's all in HHGTG!
I would highly recommend this book to pretty much everyone because even if you don't enjoy it as much as I have, it's one of those books that you should at least be able to say you've read. Just make sure you have a large bath towel at the ready my froopy friends! Oh and please be aware that no whales or petunias were hurt in the writing of this review.
Title: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy