I actually read the film tie-in edition of this book, but practically ignored the photos and skipped the interviews and afterword, I’m afraid.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was originally published in 1979 but has remained a favourite of many people throughout the years. A lot of people will probably think of the famous film adaptation upon hearing the title, but I must admit that this book is fabulous and definitely worth a read.
It begins with an ordinary man names Arthur Dent, who’s house is about to be demolished. His friend Ford Prefect – who turns out to be a native not to Earth, but to a planet somewhere around Betelgeuse – abruptly arrives bearing news of the end of the world. The pair hitch a ride on the attacking Vogon airship, surviving the destruction of the planet Earth.
This book is a bit all over the place, but to give you the gist of it: Zaphod Beeblebrox, the President of the Galaxy, steals the Heart of Gold – a one-of-a-kind spaceship named after the Infinite Improbability Drive. After Ford and Arthur are thrown off the Vogon ship, they’re rescued just in the nick of time by Trillian and Zaphod aboard The Heart of Gold. As luck has it, Trillian turns out to be the girl Arthur had tried to win the heart of at a party, and Zaphod the guy who won her instead.
The crew set off toward a legend of a planet – Magrathea, where customised planets were supposedly built. Here, Arthur is told the truth about Earth – and how the mice were in charge – by Slartibartfast and the rodents Trillian brought to space with her attempt to buy Arthur’s brain, due to it having the Ultimate Question to Life, the Universe and Everything, to which the answer is 42 (as determined by the Deep Thought computer).
Arthur is also informed that dolphins are far more intelligent than any human realised, and had made many attempts to warm us of the impending doom. One message of theirs, had we bothered to listen, translates to So long, and thanks for all the fish.
This book is so fantastically eccentric. I absolutely adored it! The characters are just great, and the humour is so subtle. Everything fits together in weird, ingenious ways, and every piece of (seemingly) irrelevant story is so well written, and I loved every bit. Even the bit about the sperm whale, and his thoughts throughout his short lifespan. Poor whale…
And poor Marvin… To be a maniacally depressed robot doesn’t sound like much fun, does it?
This is definitely in my favourites, and I cannot wait to read the rest of the series. (In fact, I’m about to grab the second book right now!) I have to give The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy 5 stars out of 5.