About the Book:
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 fifteen 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; 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 between wearing digital watches? For all the answers stick your thumb to the stars. And don't forget to bring a towel!
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy first came to life as a popular radio program in the UK, then saw print in the first book in the series. A 1981 British television miniseries, featuring many of the actors who had voiced characters in the radio version, also aired on PBS stations across the US. And the books kept coming -- The Restaurant at the End of the Universe and Life, the Universe, and Everything completed the original trilogy, and were followed later by So Long and Thanks For Al the Fish and Mostly Harmless. Author Douglas Adams died unexpectedly in 2001, after years of working on a script for a feature-film version of the story. And finally, in 2005, a feature film version of the story brought The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy to a whole new audience.
Related Web sites:
The BBC's official HHGG site
The Official Douglas Adams site
Douglas Adams - A Renaissance Man
The Official Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Appreciation Society
Hitchhiker's Guide page on Wikipedia
If You Like The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Try:
By: Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. 1990.
Bill the Galactic Hero
By: Harry Harrison. 1965.
Expecting Someone Taller
By: Tom Holt. 1987.
The Callahan Chronicles
By: Spider Robinson. 1997.
A Company of Stars
By: Christopher Stasheff. 1991.
Don't Panic! The Official Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Companion
By: Neil Gaiman. 1988.
[A completely updated version was published in 2003.]
Wish You Were Here: The Official Biography of Douglas Adams
By: Nick Webb. 2003.
In Space No Can Can Hear You Laugh
A booklist here on the BookGuide site.
One of my absolute favorite science fiction books of all time. This one helped make me a regular reader of SF. Despite it being 27 years old now, the wry observations on humanity, society, and philosophy are just as valuable today as they were when it first came out. If you've got to see a video version, track down the original 1981 tv series rather than last year's film. It was much better!
-- Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library.