This is the first in the series of hitchhiker guides which tell the story of Arthur Dent’s and the life altering events that cause him to become a hitchhiker around the universe. Arthur’s day has started badly when he’s told to vacate his house as it’s about to be knocked down to make way for a bypass being built. As it happens his day’s going to get worse as Earth also gets demolished to make way for an intergalactic bypass.
Rather than this being the end to what would be a very short book, Arthur manages to escape Earth at the last minute thanks to his friend Ford Prefect who much to Arthur’s disguise has in fact been writing reviews for the ultimate hitchhiker’s guide to the universe – and you thought Bill Bryson wrote about some odd places you’d never like to visit. Together they travel around the known universe meeting odd characters such as the two headed Zaphod Beeblebrox and Marvin the rather miserable robot.
This was the first Douglas Adams story I read (and certainly the first I’d recommend as the others follow this one) and I cannot recommend it enough – the style of writing is quite unique and the level of Adams’s imagination is quite startling. In the science fiction world of what might happen in the future, there is something strangely logical about much of what Adams has imagined, and the utterly preposterous stuff is so well thought out to make it entertaining.
All in all, a highly enjoyable read – I cannot recommend this enough. As for the number 42, well, yes, this is the book which is where the idea of it being the answer to the universe came from. Read the book and you’ll know what I mean. If you’re thinking of buying this book, also check out the ultimate hitchhiker’s guide which contains all the main books from the hitchhiker series.