‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ by Douglas Adams

 This is a book everyone should read at least once in their life. Then go on with more useful stuff, such as counting the calories in the diet coke you drink along your double cheeseburger; or finding new ways of looking busy while you’re waiting for the elevator, so that you don’t have to make friends with the people waiting with you.

(By the way, Sirius Cybernetics Corporation eventually will build the Happy Vertical People Transporters, which are able to see in the immediate future and pick you up at the right floor before you are even aware that you’ll be going to need it. That will conveniently get rid of the problem and you’ll have more time left to dedicate to the reading of the guide).

More appreciated than the Encyclopaedia Galactica – first because it’s slightly cheaper and secondly because of the words DON’T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover – the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy tells you everything you need to know. For example, how indispensable it is to always carry a towel with you, when hitchhiking through the Galaxy:

“A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing as interstellar hitch hiker can have. Partly it has great practical value – you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindbogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you – daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.”

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

Though, enough about towels.

It’s Thursday at lunch time and the Vogons are going to destroy the Earth. Like, in twenty minutes. Enjoy your meal.

For Arthur Dent wasn’t bad enough waking up to bulldozers ready to destroy his house, now he has to face the destruction of his own planet.

Fortunately, one of his friends – Ford Prefect – is not really an out-of-work actor. Well, he’s not really human. He comes from Betelgeuse V and got stuck on Earth for 15 years while researching for the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Long story short, they manage to get out of the planet. Then they get stuck in the Vogons’ ship, thrown out in space, carried away by a stolen improbability ship and so on.

Little spoiler: the answer is 42.

I still have to work out the question, though.

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If you want to know more about this book: Goodreads

If you want to buy this book: Amazon

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5 Comments

  1. Yes! But there’s also (for one thing) the following fact (well, Hitchhiker’s fact). The Earth’s program went wrong, in that the original inhabitants got replaced by a load of middle managers, marketing executives, and telephone sanitizers. This – as I think one of the Hitchhiker character pointed out – does seem to explain a lot. (It reminds me of a bit in the philosopher Schopenhauer where, with dark glee, he rates creation stories according to how well they fit with the total disaster we find ourselves in!)

    1. Eheheh…that does seem to explain a lot indeed!
      Even if I share Arthur’s perplexities: the land-crashed middle managers, marketing executives and telephone sanitizers didn’t really seem able to survive in the long term.
      Then again, I get the hint Arthur was in some sort of denial…

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