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Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy
Introduction to the Trilogy (sexology!)
I joined the Squidoo Book Club and the first quest was to write a lens about our favourite fiction novel or author. How could I not choose Douglas Adams and his famous 6 part trilogy (he actually only wrote the first 5) Hitch Hikers Guide to The Galaxy. The series poses the question what is the answer to everything? The answer 42! Now the remaining question is what is the meaningful question to which this is the answer? Having read the books listened to the radio shows I can honestly say I do not know.
The series is obviously a comic one, but at the same time like all good fiction it takes us on quite the ride to discover absolutely nothing or 42! The books started in 1979 and that is a time when I was just out of university and roughly the same age as the author, so many of the things mentioned were things that I knew from growing up.
This book sold 250,000 copies within 3 months of publication and has always been one of my favourite's of all time. It built up quite a cult following at the time!
Since the book is old and I have lost my copy I have used pictures from the public domain and Amazon as illustrations.
The Actual Books in the Trilogy And A Little About Them
1. Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy
2. The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe
3. Life The Universe and Everything
4. So Long and Thanks For All The Fish
5. Mostly Harmless
6. By Eoin Colfer - And Another Thing (Published in 2008 on the 30 anniversary of the originating novel).
Hitch Hikers Guide To The Universe
The story follows the progress of Arthur Dent who tries to stop bulldozers from eradicating his home to make place for a new super highway by lying in front of them. This turns out to be ironic, because as he does this his friend Ford Prefect (our first car was a Ford Prefect as I suspect was the authors) arrives and breaks the news that Arthur is wasting his time and must come with him as the Earth is about to be demolished by a race of aliens, the Vogans. This is to make way for a hyperspace bypass.
Arthur and Ford hitch a ride by hiding on a Vogan demolition ship, this is of course against the Vogans regulations and they are sentenced to have to listen to Vogan Poetry (the third worst in the universe) and then are thrown out into Space. Against all the odds they are picked up by a ship "Heart Of Gold" which has been stolen by Ford Prefects semi cousin and President of the Galaxy (Zaphod Beeblebrox).
The Heart Of Gold was powered by an infinite improbability drive (which may explain how it just happened to be in the right place at the right, or wrong time , depends on your point of view!). Zaphod is seeking a world called Magrathea and is being accompanied by Trillion and Marvin a chronically depressed robot.. Magrathea is rumoured to be manufacturing luxury planets.
Against all odds and the skepticism of Arthur they do in fact find Magrathea. Here Arthur manages to get separated from his new "friends" and is picked up by a native Slartibartfast who escorts him to the interior of the planet. Slartibartfast explains to Arthur that the Earth was in fact a giant supercomputer commissioned and paid for by hyper intelligent, pan dimensional beings. These beings had earlier commissioned a computer "Deep Thought" which had provided the answer to Life The Universe and Everything - 42!
Being unsatisfied with the answer they commissioned the Earth to find the meaningful question to the answer. It was Deep Thought that designed the Earth. However 10 Million years later and just 5 minutes before it could provide the answer the Vogans destroyed the Earth. Two of the creatures had arrived on Magaretha with Arthurs party they are Trillion's pet white mice. Franky and Benjy.
The mice realise that since he is from Earth a latent version of the question or something like it must exist in Arthur's brain as he is a late generation organic product of the computer (Earth). So they offer to buy his brain. Naturally a fight ensues and the mice are about to extract Arthur's brain, when klaxons all over the planet are activated. In the turmoil, Arthur, Ford, Zaphod and Trillion escape. The galactic police arrive on the planet to arrest Zaphod, but die as their life support systems pack up. It seems that Marvin had been talking to their ship which controlled their life support systems and the ship became so depressed it committed suicide.
The group decides to go the The Restaurant at The End of The Universe For Lunch.
Restaurant At The End Of The Universe
I really do not want to spoil all the fun, so I will leave it to you to find out what the rest of the series is about. Suffice it to say that they are extremely amusing a little depressive and somehow Arthur survives it all or does he? Read them to see!