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Douglas Adams: The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy Audio Book Summary
In The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, a protagonist by the name of Arthur Dent is a person that is average in every way. He lives on earth, yet his normal life is interrupted in a unique manner. The story begins with Arthur experiencing the horror of having his house torn down. This is done so that a road can be built in its place. This is the beginning of his nightmare, or his adventure, which segues directly into learning that his best friend Ford Prefect is actually an alien. Although this might have seemed a bit of a shock, and potentially negative part of the day, it is actually what saves Arthur Dent’s life. They are able to escape the evil Vogons that are arriving at earth to do something similar to what is happening to Arthur. They are there to destroy the earth to make way for a space road.
After the escape, they are able to do so by hitching a ride with one of the cooks on the Vogon station. The unfortunate thing is that Vogons are not very partial to stowaways or hitchhikers, so they are both thrown out of the spaceship into interstellar space. Fortunately Ford has a cousin of sorts by the name of Zaphod Beeblebrox. He also has a human companion with him by the name of Trillian who are able to steal what is called the Heart of Gold spaceship. What is unique about this particular spaceship is that it can do many different improbable things such as going through Los Angeles without having to deal with any traffic. There is also another character that is introduced on the spaceship, a depressed robot by the name of Marvin. Marvin and Zaphod decide to use something on the spaceship called the Improbability Drive which is how Arthur and Ford get picked up as they are making their way to a planet called Magrathea.
Once they arrive on the planet, Zaphod, Ford, and Trillian go inside the planet, and Marvin the robot and Arthur are left on top. Coincidentally, and inhabitant of Magrathea named Slartibartfast tells Arthur what has happened to the earth, or more specifically, the truth about the earth itself. He is told that the earth is not really a planet but is actually a giant computer which was concocted for the single-purpose of discovering the meaning to life. The people that ordered the planet, however, already know the meaning which is found in the number 42. The problem that they have with this answer is that they are not sure if it answers the question, or how this number answers the question at all. Realizing that this is a problem, since Arthur is from earth, they decide to chop up Arthur’s brain, but Arthur escapes with the police hot in pursuit because Zaphod had stolen the Heart of Gold.
Although this story is quite bizarre, it is extremely entertaining, and addresses many interesting topics about life in space, the meaning of life, and the possibility that robots can actually become depressed. It has actually been made into a movie, and there are other books that continue the story, one that has become a cult classic.