Book Review: Douglas Adams' "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

Rating: 5 out of 5

This will be part one of a six part review of Douglas Adams' The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide. All five novels (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the GalaxyThe Restaurant at the End of the UniverseLife, the Universe and EverythingSo Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, and Mostly Harmless) plus a bonus story (Young Zaphod Plays It Safe) are present in the book, and as I read through each story, I will put up another review. I am a fan of the Hitchhiker's Guide through the short six episode television series on BBC and the 2005 movie, but have never got around to reading the books (or listening to the radio shows). So, for part one in this review, I bring you: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Don't Panic

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy begins on just another normal day on Earth. It happens to be a Thursday, and our protagonist, Arthur Dent, does not like Thursdays. He is awakened to monstrous bull-dozers ready to demolish his house in order to make way for a highway bypass. Unbeknown to any man on Earth, except for Ford Prefect (Arthur's best friend, who happens to be from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse and a roaming editor of the best-selling Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), the Earth itself was about to be demolished by a Vogon construction fleet to make way for a hyperspatial express route. Luckily for Arthur, Ford Prefect was able to hitch them a ride from the Vogon's cooking staff. Arthur and Ford narrowly escape death from hearing Vogon poetry and ejection into space thanks to the President of the Imperial Galactic Government, Zaphod Beeblebrox, and an Earth-woman, Trillian, who happen to be riding along in the newly stolen Heart of Gold spaceship with its' Improbability Drive.

The story continues with Arthur, Ford, Zaphod, Trillian, and Marvin (a manically depressed robot) who all happen to find themselves at the center of an improbable quest which uncovers the true purpose for why the Earth was built: to find the question to the ultimate answer to the life, the universe, and everything. The ultimate answer, of 42, was determined by the second greatest computer ever built, Deep Thought, about 10 billion years ago. But, in finding an answer, the question remained. Deep Thought then designed and commissioned the Earth to be built to determine the ultimate question. The program would have finished running if not the Vogon destroyed the Earth 5 minutes before completion.

Will our heroes find out the ultimate question to life, the universe, and everything? Wondering why I have the phrase "Don't Panic" as the section header? Is man only the third most intelligent being on Earth? Answers to these questions and more await you in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

As a fan of satire and science fiction, Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a very fun read. Even having some knowledge of how the series is shaped through the BBC show and 2005 movie, I did not want to put this book down. Even while at work, the guide pulled at my subconscious making me want more. I highly recommend this book if you have not yet read it.