One of the famous series of radio shows in Britain that was aired by the British Broadcasting Company during 1978 to 1980 was Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Later developing into several novels, the total of five books that Douglas Adams called the series a trilogy, were sold under the titles of
• Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
• Restaurant at the End of the Universe
• Life, the Universe, and Everything
• Mostly Harmless
• So Long and Thanks for All the Fish
Even though the series came under that of science fiction, they fell into the genre of comedy and enjoyed great popularity with many adaptations that included films, comics, stage dramas, video games and TV series.
The original Hitchhiker’s Guide that appeared as a radio series is published as a collection of scripts for its older fans. However, even though most of them follow the original plot, the end of each varies with each production.
Inspiration in developing the story is when Douglas Adams under the influence of alcohol, clutching a copy of the Hitchhikers Guide to Europe thought while he was sky gazing, that someone will do well to write a hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy.
How the story goes
The tale commences with Arthur Dent, an earthling being rudely woken up by the sound of a bulldozer destroying his house to accommodate a motor road detour. Ford Prefect is his friend, reveals to him that he is an alien sent disguised from ‘Betelgeuse’ with claims to research the famous ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.’ He also owns a copy and reveals to him that planet earth is on the verge of being destroyed by the ‘Vorgons’ to make way for a passage for an intergalactic bypass.
Right after Earth’s destruction Arthur and Ford manages to escape by getting on board a ‘Vorgon’ ship, beginning Arthur’s adventure in space from this point. Their discovery by the Vorgons ends up by them being expelled into a void in space. Fortunately, they were rescued by Ford’s double headed semi- cousin Zaphod Beeblebrox and – a female Earthling, Trillian whom he picked up. ‘Heart of Gold’ their stolen spaceship operates on a ‘dubious drive’ that does, on the whole, an impossible thing, by the press of a push button and it is how Arthur and Ford are saved. Marvin is another member of the group. Marvin is a mistrustful Android – a disheartened robot.
Legend has it that ‘Magrathea’ is known to be the wealthiest planet in space and Zaphod and Trillian set out to locate it by using the improbability drive. Arthur comes in contact with ‘Slartibartfast’ on ‘Magrathea’ who tells him that the universe’s very smart computer is on ‘Magrathea,’ built by its inhabitants to seek answers to their queries regarding the universe, life and just about everything. Thus questioned, the computer had answered with ’42’. It was ordered to create earth and find the actual query. It brought about the two lab mice who were the descendants of the creators of the computer trying to pick apart the brain of Arthur to search for the problem as he was present on earth just before Earth was destroyed. The series ends with the group escaping from ‘Magrathea’ and heading to have food at the ‘Restaurant at the End of the Universe.’