The Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a science fiction comedy series, a series of books, CDs, computer games and stage shows, a TV series and a feature film, created by the author Douglas Adams. It was originally broadcast as six-part radio series on BBC Radio 4 in 1978. Since that time, it has existed in a number of different formats, and has become an international phenomenon. Its title is often abbreviated by fans as HHGTTG, or H2G2. The novel is famous for the number forty-two, which plays a prominent part in the story, and has entered popular culture as the answer to "life, the universe and everything".
The story follows the adventures of Arthur Dent, who wakes up one morning to find that his house is about to be demolished to make way for a bypass. His friend, Ford Prefect (who turns out to be a human looking alien from a small planet in the vicinity of Betelgeuse), takes him to the pub and informs him that he shouldn't worry about his house being demolished, as the whole Earth is about to be destroyed. Before Arthur has time to take this in, he finds that the Earth has been destroyed by a fleet of Vogon spacecraft to make way for a new hyperspace bypass, and that he and Ford Prefect are on board the Vogon spaceship, having "hitched" a lift.
The story then follows Arthur, Ford and other companions they come across (including the only other human survivor from the Earth) through a series of comedic encounters. Later they stumble upon the realization that the Earth was, in fact, a giant supercomputer designed to work out the ultimate question to life the universe, and everything.
Throughout the story, Arthur Dent, still dressed in the bed clothes he was wearing before escaping the Earth, is trying to find out how to get a nice cup of tea, just like the quintessential English man he is. This trait, amongst others, appears to perplex all of the alien life forms he meets.
- Arthur Dent: An ordinary Englishman who finds himself wandering the universe never quite knowing what is going on
- Ford Prefect: A human-looking alien who named himself after the car of the same name in order to appear very ordinary while on Earth.
- Zaphod Beeblebox: The president of the entire universe, criminal and who has two heads which occasionally argue with one another
- Trillian McMillan: The only other human survivor from Earth
- Marvin the android: A very depressed android who spends most of his time trying to demoralize the people around him
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, comprising "a trilogy in five parts", are called:
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
- The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
- Life, the Universe and Everything
- So Long and Thanks for all the Fish
- Mostly Harmless
Adaptations to other media
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy originated as a radio play, which was then adapted into the first two novels. They were then adapted as a TV series by the BBC to mixed results. While they were popular at the time, Douglas Adams was never happy with the TV version, and they have aged very badly due to their dated special effects.
Three further novels were then written to continue the story of Arthur Dent. During this time, Adams made considerable effort over many years to have the story adapted into a film. The film was eventually made and was released in 2005, although Adams was not alive to see the result having died in 2001. The film itself received mixed reviews.