Date Published: October 12, 1979

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Summary

Forget everything you know about the universe, for 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' by Douglas Adams is about to unravel it in an absurdly hilarious fashion.

Picture Earth, our blue-green orb, blissfully oblivious to the cosmic hodgepodge out there. Not for long though. One unsuspecting morning, Arthur Dent, an Earthling, wakes up to his house facing demolition for a new bypass. If that isn't alarming enough, he learns the entire Earth shares a similar fate, albeit for a hyperspace bypass.

Saved by Ford Prefect, an undercover alien researching for the eponymous Guide, Arthur spirals into an intergalactic odyssey of bewildering madness. From infuriatingly calm computers to depressive robots, they encounter all, towing behind the absurdity of existence, with a dash of British wit. This isn’t just a journey; it’s a peculiar roller-coaster through time, space, and improbability, where anything can, and usually does, happen. Most importantly, don't panic. Just hitch a ride and remember to bring your towel.

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Author: Douglas Adams

Date Published: October 12, 1979

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Genres

Science Fiction
Absurdist Fiction

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Main Characters

Arthur Dent: A quintessential Englishman, thrown into cosmic chaos. He values the familiar, like a good cup of tea, shown when he painstakingly teaches the spaceship’s computer to make one.

Ford Prefect: An alien posing as a human, who values knowledge and understanding, evident in his dogged research for the Guide.

Zaphod Beeblebrox: The eccentric Galactic President who values fame and notoriety, evident in his audacious theft of the Heart of Gold spaceship.

Marvin the Paranoid Android: A morose robot who embodies the existential dread we often avoid, exemplified when he inadvertently saves the day with his depressing poetry.

Trillian (Tricia McMillan): A brilliant astrophysicist and the only other human survivor who values logic and rationality, shown when she handles the spaceship’s technical issues with aplomb.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Themes

Absurdity of Existence: The book satirizes life’s inherent meaninglessness with instances like Earth’s destruction for a meaningless bypass or the Ultimate Answer being a nonsensical ’42’.

Satire of Bureaucracy: The Vogons embody this theme, shown when they destroy Earth due to red tape and bureaucratic rigidity.

Value of Knowledge: The Guide, serving as a key tool throughout the characters’ journey, represents the importance of understanding and information in an incomprehensible universe.

The Triviality of Conventional Importance: This theme is exemplified through Zaphod, a figurehead president whose actions have little real impact on the universe.

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