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Have you ever asked yourself what the meaning of life was? If so, you will have to wait for another 7.5 million years since Earth was destroyed 5 minutes before the answer was revealed. Luckily for human Arthur Dent, a lazy, comedic average Joe, and his best friend Ford Perfect, a calm, cool, and collective alien, they managed to hitch a ride on an alien ship. In order to survive, our “heroes” banded together with a group of fugitives wanted by the intergalactic government for theft. Among these beings are Zaphod Beeblebrox, the President of the Galaxy, Marvin, a very emotional robot, and Trillian, Zaphod’s girlfriend. Together, this group travels the universe collecting answers to the unknown while facing ever present danger.
The strong suits of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy are its comedy and creativity. Death is an ever present threat facing this rag-tag group of fugitives, which is why Adams applies comical relief. When planets are destroyed, people are killed, or even when Sperm Whales fall to their deaths, a joke is always ready to go. In the beginning of the book, moments before Earth is destroyed, a very depressing and scary mood was displayed when the alien ships came raining down. In order to lighten the situation, Adams described the invasion by using the quote, “The ships hung in the sky in much the same way bricks don’t” (Adams, 35). Later on, we find Arthur and Ford facing almost certain death when they are trapped in a Vogon (Alien Species) airlock waiting to be released into space. At this time, comical relief came to save the day when Arthur and Ford have a conversation that included, “It’s at times like these when I’m trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse (Ford), and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I’d listen to what my mother told me when I was young.” “Why, what did she tell you?” “I don’t know, I didn’t listen” (Adams, 75). Much related to the comedic scenes in the book, very creative scenes help the storyline flow well. After waiting 7.5 million years, Deep Thought, a super computer, finally came up with the meaning of everything. Deep Thought was ready to reveal the answer and finally said with infinite majesty and calm that, “The Answer to the Great Question… Of Life, the Universe and Everything… Is… Forty-two” (Adams 180). The event of finding out what the “real meaning of life” forces the reader to ponder about what the actual answer was. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has many elements that would entertain people of all audiences. Overall, the storyline provides an entertaining, adventurous, and comical quick read that will leave the reader satisfied, especially teenagers.
Douglas Adams has written over 25 books. Most, if not all of his works fall into the genre of science fiction with storylines taking place in space. His most famous work, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, has been turned into a series which includes four other books titled The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Life the Universe and Everything, So Long and Thanks for all the Fish, and Mostly Harmless. Although, these sequels are have their own, unique storylines, they make jokes and references back to the original. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy became such a hit, not only did the novel turn into a series, it was also recreated as a mini-tv series and a movie. Unfortunately, Adams did not win any awards in his lifetime, but he did create one of the most fascinating, adventurous, and humorous series of books ever written.
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