Author: Douglas Adams
Publisher: Del Rey
First published in 1979
My rating: 7.5/10 lightsabers
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.
This book is a fun, silly space adventure full of ridiculousness. I enjoyed all of the craziness. I mean, that's what scifi is all about, right? Sometimes it can get really weird. Adams takes that part of scifi and makes it funny. There are great characters in this book. I loved the depressed robot, Marvin. He just cracked me up.
This book has some great one liners and I thought the beginning of the book was brilliant. I loved that an alien race is destroying earth in order to make room for a new galactic freeway. The ending of the book is great too. However, the middle suffers a little bit. It isn't boring or anything. It just isn't as funny as the beginning. I can see why so many people have gravitated towards this series. It is different than any other book I've read, but it almost felt like a funnier Kurt Vonnegut story.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy will have you laughing throughout the book. It is a fun read, so I would recommend giving it a chance. So much of this series has made it into our pop culture. For example, the babel fish software that translates languages is named after a parasite from this book that does the same. Everyone knows the answer to the meaning of life and of course, don't panic! I look forward to continuing the series to see what other perilous situations Arthur Dent will undoubtedly find himself in.