The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

A review of the humorous science fiction novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

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To say The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is funny is an understatement. This book is laugh-out-loud hilarious, from its snarky voice to the words ‘Don’t Panic’ written in big, friendly letters on the back. The novel about it by Douglas Adams is also side-splittingly amusing.

We follow Arthur Dent (or “Dent, Arthur Dent,” as he likes to say, as if he’s James Bond or something) – a fairly boring man who is friends with Ford Prefect, an out-of-towner named after a car. Arthur wakes up to find his house has been scheduled for demolition to make way for a new bypass, and by curious coincidence the Earth is also scheduled for destruction for similar reasons by a Vogon fleet. Ford, who is actually an alien, gets Arthur (and their towels) off the planet, and they meet Zaphod Beeblebrox, an old friend of Ford’s and current President of the Galaxy who has stolen the most advanced spaceship ever built – the ‘Heart of Gold’ – and is accompanied by Trillian (formerly Tricia McMillan, but that didn’t sound space-like enough for her), who is conveniently an old crush of Arthur’s. The four of them, along with Marvin the paranoid android, embark on an adventure to find out the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything.

The novel regularly cuts away to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy itself, which explains various facts, and allows for an amusing way of delivering exposition whilst raising an eyebrow at the whole thing. Douglas Adams had his tongue planted firmly in his cheek when writing these stories and it definitely shows. From the ship’s Improbability Drive to Slartibartfast and his planet-building factory, the universe Adams creates is diverse and humorous.

The novel is the first in a trilogy in five parts, and the four books that follow it are also all worth reading. They are short, snappy, and will tickle your funny bone extensively.

Originally from Thanet, J A DuMairier enjoys writing and long walks in the country.

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