The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the first in afive-part "trilogy" (don't ask, it's never explained) by Douglas Adams,adds British humor to sci-fi with biting satire and wit.
Using thesecomedic techniques, Adams narrates the tale of one Arthur Dent. On a cold morningArthur wakes up, goes through his usual routine, gets a cup of coffee, sees abulldozer outside his window and checks the mail. Realizing something is amiss,Arthur runs outside to encounter the first of countless problems that will plaguehim. It turns out Arthur's house has been marked for demolition to build ahighway.
This problem pales, however, when an intergalactic demolitioncrew arrives to destroy Earth. Luckily, Arthur's strange friend Ford Prefectmanages to get the two of them off the planet mere seconds before Earth expires.Armed with only a towel, an electronic thumb for signaling spaceships and"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," Arthur and Ford set off.Traveling on a ship that runs on improbability, Arthur and Ford encounter adepressed robot named Marvin; the two-headed, ex-hippie President of the Galaxy,Zaphod Beeblebrox; and the only other human left, a woman namedTrillian.
Adams shows his unique style of humor in scenes like proving theexistence of God with a fish, showing the effects of improbability on reality,and explaining a drinking game that involves mind power and the answer to life,the Universe and everything. Adams also uses British humor to joke about tea, theUnited States, poetry and alcohol. There are entire chapters where Adams rambleson about a completely irrelevant subject before continuing with the story. Infact, a fast reader might find him/herself puzzled as the chapters fly by.Religious satire makes a few appearances, as well, but in goodtaste.
Overall, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy provides nonstophumor and entertainment for the mature (and sometimes immature) reader. Adamscaptivates readers with his zany writing style and keeps them coming back formore. It's no wonder that readers eagerly digest all five books. Read TheHitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and learn why the words "Don't Panic"are printed on the cover in nice, friendly letters.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.