The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy “Trilogy” by Douglas Adams
Let me just preface this by saying: if you haven’t read these books, you should. Originally a comedy show broadcast on BBC radio, the Hitchhiker’s Guide series has become a worldwide phenomenon, spawning video games, merchandise, a television series, stage shows, comics books, a live action film, and of course the book “trilogy,” in which trilogy does not really mean trilogy at all. The series as been dubbed “a trilogy in five parts,” and if this bending of words makes you even the tiniest bit upset, you might want to step away now. The world of these novels is one in which nothing at all is what it seems. One ship even runs on an Infinite Improbability Drive, so you can be sure that the improbable and maybe even impossible is bound to happen.
But before I get too carried away about the (wonderful) strangeness of these books, I should probably tell you what they’re about. The simple answer is: space. What is space? What’s out there? And the simply answer to this question is: everything. Somewhere out in that black void of stars live talking mattresses, emotional robots, and super-intelligent shades of the color blue.
The first novel, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, follows earthman Arthur Dent, whose home planet is destroyed to make way for an intergalactic highway. We follow Arthur’s subsequent travels through space with Betelgeusian Ford Prefect, Marvin the Paranoid Android, Zaphod Beeblebrox, the charming President of the Galaxy with two heads, and Trillian, who also called Earth her home. They set out to find the lost planet Magrathea, which is rumored in myth to have manufactured luxury planets.
The next four novels (The Restaurant at the End of the Universe; Life, the Universe, and Everything; So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish; and Mostly Harmless) continue to focus on these characters, from their quest to find the ultimate question to the answer of “Life, The Universe, and Everything,” to their journey through time and space back to Earth.
The books are all pulled together through the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a guide book for hitchhiking space travelers and the best source for advice for those who want to see the universe “on less than 30 Altairian dollars a day.” The Guide is a practical, but also sarcastic, authority on all species, planets, and places to eat in the galaxy. Perhaps the most famous entry would be that for “Flying.”
“The Guide says there is an art to flying”, said Ford, “or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss” (Life, the Universe, and Everything).
So basically, these books are good and just fun. Let me just say, I have never read a series faster. No matter how crazy or confusing the plot gets, Douglas continues to weave an entertaining and hilarious story that always keeps you guessing as to what could be out there.
Favorite Quote: “To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.
To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job” (The Restaurant at the End of the Universe).
Remember, in memory of Douglas Adams, Towel Day is coming up on May 25. Why towels? Read the books and find out.