The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is the first in a series of irreverent, enjoyable science fiction comedy books by Douglas Adams--still sometimes referred to as a "trilogy" by purists though Adams ultimately wrote five novels and Eoin Colfer added a sixth in 2009. The Hitchhiker's series, as it has come to be called, tells the story of Arthur Dent, an entirely normal, unexceptional Englishman, who has, without knowing it, made friends with a space alien. This friendship leads to his unlikely rescue when Earth is destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass.
Things get stranger--and funnier--from there.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy first introduced the characters of Marvin the Paranoid Android, Zaphod Beeblebrox, the two headed, three-armed president of the Galaxy, and Ford Prefect, who fit in pretty well on Earth except for that time when he thought that Ford Prefect was a perfectly inconspicuous name. The first novel takes us for a ride on the Infinite Improbability Drive, a starship that was only invented because someone managed to work out how absurdly unlikely it was that it could exist at all. Along the way, we meet a man who makes custom planets, the only other remaining Earthling in the galaxy, and a very unhappy robot.
Adams, who died in 2001 at the age of 49, was a TV and radio writer. He wrote for and even appeared in two episodes of Monty Python's Flying Circus, and was a script editor for Doctor Who before gaining wide recognition with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
It's not surprising that he gained fame either. He has a brilliant gift for language and a genius for comedic timing. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has enjoyed a loyal cult following since it was first broadcast in 1978.
Yes, broadcast. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy started life as a radio comedy for BBC Radio 4, and was only later adapted by Adams as a novel. Listening to the audiobook is like going back to the roots of the series. Stephen Fry, who narrates the unabridged novel, is a veteran comedy actor who hits pitch perfect notes with his delivery.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is must-listen entertainment for anyone who likes British comedy, science fiction, or intelligent parody, and is available for immediate download or streaming here at The Audio Book Store.
Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last 15 years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.
Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker's Guide (A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.) and a galaxy full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox, the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod's girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; and Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.
Where are these pens? Why are we born? Why do we die? Why do we spend so much time in between wearing digital watches? For all the answers stick your thumb to the stars. And don't forget to bring a towel! Download and start listening now!