Published by: William Heinemann Ltd
First published in: 1979
This edition published in: 1995
The edition I am reading is part of a collection called The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy: a Trilogy in five parts. It contains five books, the first of which I will be doing this reading report on. The book was 138 pages.
Describe the setting
The story begins in England, in Arthur Dent's home, but it soon expands to a science fiction like setting in outer space.
Describe the main characters and their relation to each other
Arthur Dent is one of the main characters, he is a simple human from earth, he has a friend, Ford Prefect, who is an alien (Arthur didn't know that until the beginning of the book) from Betelgeuse, he is an editor for the Guide. And finally there is Zaphod Beeblebrox, a friend from Ford's youth, who is also an alien from Betelgeuse. Zaphod is also the president of the universe and he has two heads.
Describe the main character in detail
Arthur is a really simple guy, content with his little life and not very concerned with anything else. When Ford takes Arthur with him to outer space and shows him all kind of weird stuff it all becomes a little too much for him and he all let it kind of pass him by. He just tries to stay out of harm's way and he does not underestand much of what is going on around him. He is a pretty boring fellow, if he could he would like just to go back to earth and go on with his simple life, forgetting about all that had passed. If I'd meet aliens by some chance and they took me out in the galaxy, I would like to see as much of it as i could.
Name three things you think the story is about
I think the story is about the insignificance and insanity of many of the things we do, it is like the demolition of Arthur's house at the beginning of the book: he does everything he can to prevent it, but ten minutes later all earth is demolished. It is also about the bizarrity of the universe and everything in it. And finally, it is about not taking life too seriously.
Explain the title
The title, Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy is the name of a sort of electronic encyclopedia, which contains information about just about anything in the galaxy and is especially made for Hitch Hikers. Ford Prefect is an editor for the Guide. All along the story Ford and Arthur are often helped out by this little gadget.
Here is a short summary:
The tale begins when Vogons come to demolish Earth, Ford saves Arthur by hitching a ride on the Vogons ship together with him. When the captain finds this out, they get kicked out of the ship, but they are rescued by Zaphod Beeblebrox, who just happens to be flying in the neighborhood in his own ship, the Heart of Gold which he stole when it was showed to him being the president of the universe. The heart of Gold contains the Improbability drive, which is a device that can do anything as long as you know how improbable it is (that is also the reason why Zaphod stole it). In the ship are also a human woman, Trillian, and a robot, Marvin. The three of them were looking for a planet called Magrathea, there custom made planets are built, and because they have nothing else to do, Arthur and Ford decide to tag along. Eventually they find it and land on it, there Arthur finds out that Earth is actually a great computer created by the people of Magrathea by order of the mice to calculate the question of life, the universe and everything because they had built a computer that gave them the answer to it, but when they got the answer they realized they didn't know what the question was. The mice want to take Arthur's brain because he is the last part of the computer Earth, since it blew up five seconds before the question was calculated. But they all escape and are off to have a bite at the restaurant at the end of the universe.
Name some things you like and dislike about the story
Things I like and dislike about the story.
the incredibly good humor of the writer
the insane devices and gadgets that are mentioned
the way Arthur never understands
the always busy Ford
the ever depressed Marvin
the queer ways of Zaphod
the end of the story (nothing really happens)
that Arthur is so little part of the story (he is merely tagging along with the rest, it would be nicer if had a more active role.)
Which scene do you remember most vividly
I particularly remember the part where Earth is demolished, just as Arthurs house is being teared down and the part where the automatic Magrathean rockets are fired at them.
Does one of the characters remind you of someone you know?
Arthur Dent sort of reminds me of one particular good friend of mine. He is a smart fellow, but he is a little slow in some things, then he, just like Arthur, doesn't quite understand what all the fuss is about. I don't mean at school, he is very good in maths and stuff like that, but sometimes it just takes him an enormous while to get the clue of a particular joke. Like last year or so, he discovered that Mr. Bean was actually named after a vegetable, that sort of thing.
Quote a passage and explain your choice
This is a passage where a sperm whale is suddenly called into existence very high above a planet. These are his thoughts:
`And Wow! Hey! What's this thing suddenly coming towards me very fast? Very very fast. So big and flat and round, it needs a bis wide sounding name like ... ow ... ound ... round ... ground! That's it That's a good name - ground! I wonder if it will be friends with me?"
And the rest, after a sudden wet thud, was silence
I've chosen that bit because it is one of the most stupidest (in a funny sort of way) scene in the book. It made me laugh very hard.
Would you recommend this book to your friends? Why (not)?
I would definitely recommend this book to all of my friends, in fact, I have. It is brilliant. This first edition is really the best of the "trilogy".
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