Finally, I dived into the fantastic sci-fi comedy world created by Douglas Adams’s prolific in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. And what an experience it has been; as the story progresses, you get fond of this series’s iconic characters. In his unique way, Adams touches upon different sides of life and deals with them philosophically in a subtle way with his unique sense of humour to not overwhelm the reader.
The story begins with the main protagonist Arthur Dent trying to avoid the destruction of his house. He gets saved at the last moment by his best friend Ford Prefect before the senseless destruction of Earth (not figuratively but quite literally) by a Vogon Constructor Fleet to make the way of hyperspatial express route. If that was not enough of a shock, it turns out that Ford Prefect himself was an alien from another planet living on Earth as a ‘roving researcher for that wholly remarkable book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.‘
What follows after that are Ford and Dent’s galactic (mis)adventures. Their quest for survival and finding answers to the various bizarre happenings around them. Their companion throughout is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times over many years and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers.
While being thrown out in the space by the Vogons, In some bizarre improbability, they are caught by Zaphod Beeblebrox and Trillian (and of-course Marvin) travelling in the Starship Heart of Gold powered by the infinite improbability drive. Together with their new companions, they crash land on a mythical Planet called Magrathea. This planet was home to a new form of specialist industry: custom-made luxury planet-building. Where hyperspatial engineers sucked matter through white holes in space to form it into dream planets – gold planets, platinum planets, soft rubber planets with lots of earthquakes – all lovingly made to meet the exacting standards that the Galaxy’s richest men naturally came to expect.
But so successful was this venture that Magrathea itself soon became the richest planet of all time and the rest of the Galaxy was reduced to abject poverty. And so the system broke down, the Empire collapsed, and a long sullen silence settled over a billion hungry worlds, disturbed only by the pen scratchings of scholars as they laboured into the night over smug little treatises on the value of a planned political economy. Magrathea itself disappeared and its memory soon passed into the obscurity of legend.
There they meet another iconic character Slartibartfast, who tells them other astounding facts about the planet earth, its purpose, the Answer to the Great Question of Life, the Universe and Everything and other bizarre revelations and details.
The Novel is a testament to the satirical humour of Douglas Adams. All readers grasp different meanings and different understandings of many underlying themes. There have been so much discussion and debate about the underlying themes of the Novel, the meaning of the Answer to the Great Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. As for me, one of the underlying themes of the fiction signifies how insignificant we human beings or, for that matter, Earth (getting blown away over such trivia) is in the grand scheme of things of the Universe.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy started as a radio show but then expanded into full-blown novels (falsely called trilogy), TV series, stage plays, comic books and film. That’s how impactful this series has been, and it has been one of the most impactful novels of our generation and generations before us. I will go through the series and share my experience of this wild ride; until then, buckle up and Don’t Panic!
- Total pages: 133 (Part of the single volume comprising of all books in a single paperback edition.)
- Genre: Sci-fi
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy : Douglas Adams