Hitchhiker’S Guide To The Galaxy Summary

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Hitchhiker’S Guide To The Galaxy

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Hitchhiker’S Guide To The Galaxy Summary

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a playful and surreal exploration of the absurdity of life, made through the tale of a man travelling through the universe. The story begins when Arthur Dent wakes up to find workmen attempting to bulldoze his house to make way for a new motorway. He tries to stop them but they explain that plans for the new road have been displayed for several months so he should have complained a long time ago. Arthur points out that they were actually “displayed” in a locked filing cabinet, in a disused bathroom, in a planning office cellar.

Arthur’s friend Ford Prefect arrives and persuades Arthur to come for a drink in the local pub. Although Arthur believes he is an unemployed actor, Ford is actually an alien who got stranded on earth fifteen years ago while doing research for a travel guide called The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. In the pub, Ford tells Arthur that Earth is about to be destroyed, which is confirmed when a race of alien bureaucrats called Vogons arrive in yellow spaceships and announce that they are going to demolish Earth to make way for a galactic bypass. They explain that the plans have been available for fifty years in the planning office on Alpha Centauri and then proceed to demolish Earth. Elsewhere in the galaxy, a two-headed alien named Zaphod Beeblebrox steals a powerful new spaceship called the Heart of Gold and escapes with a girl named Trillian he met at party on Earth.

Just before Earthis destroyed, Ford manages to save himself and Arthur by hitching a lift on a Vogon ship. Ford explains that they have to hide because Vogons hate hitchhikers,but the Vogons find them and torture them with their endless, terrible poetry before ejecting them into space. However, Ford and Arthur are saved by Zaphod who suddenly appears in the Heart of Goldbecause the ship runs on an “Infinite Improbability Drive,” which make the most improbable event imaginable occur, in this case, saving Arthur and Ford. Travelling with the two-headed alien are Trillian, whom Arthur recognizes as the woman he spent hours trying to talk to at the party where Zaphod met her; and Marvin, a depressed robot that Zaphod refers to as the “paranoid android.”

That night, the crew of the Heart of Gold make an improbable discovery: Magrathea, a legendary planet that supposedly once housed a race of people who designed planets for the ultra-rich. As they approach the planet, they hear answerphone messages saying that Magrathea is no longer open for business and telling them to turn back. When they do not comply, two missiles start targeting the ship. All evasive maneuvers are unsuccessful until Arthur activates the improbability drive. This turns one missile into a surprised whale and the other into a bowel of petunias, both of which drop towards the planet’s surface,allowing the spaceship to land safely on Magrathea. When the crew disembark, Trillian notices that her white laboratory mice have escaped.

Magrathea appears deserted but the impact of the whale dropping from the sky cracked open the planet’s crust, exposing subterranean tunnels. Arthur and Marvin remain behind while the others explore. In the tunnels, Zaphod explains that someone has been operating on his brain and has burned the initials “Z.B.” into his brain tissue as a clue. At that moment, however, a door slams behind them, sealing them in a chamber that starts filling up with gas. Back on the surface, unaware of the peril facing his crewmates, Arthur meets Slartibartfast, an old man from Magrathea who shows him the new version of Earth that is being constructed and tells him that the old Earth was actually a huge, custom-built computer for white mice to use in their experiments on humanity. He explains that long-ago, a race of highly intelligent beings created a supercomputer to calculate the meaning of life.After seven and a half million years of calculations, the computer informed them that the answer was “42”, but it did not know exactly what the question was. The supercomputer then designed another computer to find out what the question was and the result was the Earth, which was operated by white mice; everything else, including humans, were simply components of the computer. The Magratheans now need to build a new Earth because the old one got destroyed just before it calculated what “the question” was.

Ford, Zaphod, and Trillian wake up and are told that the mice will see themnow, and soon Arthur is brought to join them and Trillian’s mice at a table where they talk. The mice explain that they are supposed to announce what “the question” is on television so they need to take Arthur’s brain in case “the question” is stored in it, coded in before the Earth was destroyed. However, just then a ship lands on Magrathea, setting off their alarm system, and Arthur and the others manage to escape in the confusion, so the mice decide to simply make up “the question” themselves. The ship is transporting police officers who have come to arrest Zaphod for stealing the Heart of Gold. However, as they are firing on Zaphod and the others, they suddenly lose life support and die. Back on the ship, they learn that this was a result of the police ship “committing suicide” after talking to Marvin.  The novel \ends with the crew leaving Magratheaand Ford suggesting that they stop off for some food at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, which is the title of the novel’s sequel.

Highly celebrated and multi-award winning, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is widely regarded as a quintessential example of British humor and a pioneering fusion of comedy and science-fiction. As well as being the first book in a series that has sold approximately sixteen million copies, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has also been adapted into a television series and a movie.