The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy

By, Douglas Adams

Summary
This story is about a man named Arthur Dent whose house is about to be demolished to clear the way for a bypass. He wakes up one morning and is pretty depressed about his house being demolished. The word bulldozer wanders through his mind. He looks outside through his kitchen’s window and sees a big yellow bulldozer. He goes to his bedroom quickly and gets dressed and in fifteen seconds he is outside his house lying in mud in front of the bulldozer. Arthur is lying in the mud and Mr Prosser is trying to convince him that there is no need to quarrel because the government wants to build the bypass. While these two gentlemen are trying to make their points clear to each other, a friend of Mr Arthur named Ford Prefect comes over and asks Arthur to go with him to the pub, and makes Prosser to agree upon lying in the mud in front of the bulldozer until Arthur gets back. After a while Arthur’s house is demolished anyway. Arthur is quite angry about his house and is cursing everybody who he considers responsible for demolishing his house. Ford tells him that the world is about to end in a couple of minutes. In a moment later, Ford and Arthur are in a space ship. Ford tells him that the world has been destroyed by Vogons. Ford tells him that he saved Arthur’s life and brought him on this ship. He tells him that he is from a different planet and that he had been living on planet earth for the past fifteen years. He got lift from a group of rich kids called Teasers. His job is to travel around in the galaxy and gather information about different planets and store it in his electronic book what he calls “The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. Arthur is in chock. He can not believe what just happened. The world and everything he liked about it is gone for ever. Ford puts a yellow fish called “the Babel fish” in Arthur’s ear that would translate different galactic languages for him. The captain of the Vogon’s ship arrives he tells them that he does not want them on the ship. He reads his evil poetry to them first and then throws them out back in the space. After holding breath in the space for 28 seconds, they are picked up by another ship called The Heart of Gold. The captain of this ship is a creature with three heads and four arms. His name is Zaphod Beeblebrox. Zaphod has actually stolen this ship. This ship is a work of art made to travel light years very fast. Besides Zaphod, there is a girl called Trillian and a robot called Marvin on the ship.

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On their journey through the galaxy, they find the great legendary planet of Magrathea. The planet is considered to be deserted 5 million years ago. It is considered that there is no life on the planet of Magrathea. No one has ever found this planet before but Zaphod did with the help of his miraculous ship. Before they land on the planet, two missiles are fired at them, whish they manage to miss. After landing on Magrathea they split up into groups. Ford, Trillian and Zaphod go down a crater into the interior of the planet. Arthur is picked up by an old fellow who calls himself Slartibartfast. He tells Arthur that the planet earth was commissioned, paid for and run by mice. It was destroyed five minutes before the completion of the purpose it was built for, and now the people of Magrathea have to build a new one. Slartibartfast tells Arthur that the people of planet earth have formed the matrix of an organic computer running a ten million years research program. The program was to create a super computer that could give the answer, but it told them to wait for seven and a half million years for the answer because that is how long it would take him to find out the answer. The answer would be based on all theories and believes and what not. After seven and a half million years the computer came up with an answer FOUTY TWO. It blamed humans for not giving him the right question. The computer said that it would build a computer that would find the answer to the Ultimate question. And the name of that computer would be “Earth”. But the planet earth destroyed due to the Vogon’s attack. Slartibartfast takes Arthur to a room where Zaphod, Trillian and Ford are sitting together with Frankie & Banjie the mice. The mice tell Arthur that they need his brain to find the Ultimate question to the Ultimate answer, because it would be cheaper and less time taking compare to building a whole new planet earth again. They ask him to sell them his brain or they will take it by force. Arthur refuses their offer and tries to make an escape. The rest of his cru members also escape with him. The guards try to stop them but they manage to escape. After their escape Benji the mice comes up with a suggestion of making up a fake question to the Ultimate answer. Ultimate Question: How many roads must a man walk down? Ultimate Answer: 42

Main characters of the novel:
Arthur Dent:

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Arthur Dent is about thirty year’s old, tall, dark haired and never quite at ease with himself. The thing that used to worry him the most was the fact that people always used to ask him what he was looking so worried about. He worked in a local radio and was pretty excited about his job and told his friend about it all the time to make them believe that it was a lot more interesting than they probably thought. Ford: Ford belongs to a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse. He had been living on planet earth for the past fifteen years. He got lift from a group of rich kids called Teasers. His job is to travel around in the galaxy and gather information about different planets and store it in his electronic book what he calls “The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. He describes planet earth in one word, “Harmless”. Zaphod Beeblebrox: Zaphod has done something to his brains that he himself does not know. He has blocked certain information in it in such a way that not even the screening devices of the galactic government can break into his brain. He gets these information bit by bit on the right time, and he simply does what his brain tells him. First he stole the great ship, “The Heart of Gold”. Then he ran for the presidency of the galaxy. He did this because the former president of the galaxy Yooden Vranx told him too. Trillian: Trillian was picked up by Zaphod from earth. She is a very intelligent girl. She chose to come along with Zaphod because there was no challenge left for her on planet earth. She brought two mice with her from planet earth. She controls the heart of gold. Marvin: Marvin is an annoying robot who does small things on the ship. No one likes him and no one wants to even talk to him.

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Other characters:
Mr Prosser: Mr Prosser is the man who demolishes Arthur Dents house. Mr Prosser was a direct male line descendent of Genghis khan, but he did not looked like a Mongolian from any angle, neither was he a great warrior by any means. He was a nervous worried man. Teasers: Rich kids who got nothing else to do except cruising around and looking for planets which have not made interstellar contact yet and buzz them. They would find some isolated spot with very few people around, then land right by some poor soul whom no one ever is going to believe. Then would do crazy acrobats in front of him and then put silly antennae on his head and make beep beep noises. Frankie & Banjie the mice: These two mice manipulated there way from earth to the great planet of Magrathea. They claim that mice have been ensuring the smooth running of planet earth for millions of years. The whole business with the cheese and the squeaking is just a front. They experiment on human beings. These mice guide human’s thinking and disguise their real nature. They teach humans a lot of things about their behaviour by letting them conduct experiments on them. Slartibartfast: An intelligent fellow, who used to make coast lines and other kinds of things on planets. He was awarded for the making the coastlines of Norway. The people of the planet Magrathea: The people of this planet are extra ordinary geniuses. They used to make planets. Planet earth was also their creation. They have been sleeping for five million years. They did this to themselves on purpose, because the galaxy was not yet rich enough to support their expenses. They have waked up for while to get some job done. The job is to find the answer to The Ultimate Question of life, the Universe and Everything.

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