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Life, The Universe, and Everything by Douglas Adams

May 26, 2008

Arthur Dent, one of the last two humans in existence, has seen his home planet destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass, and has been threatened and insulted by more creatures than he ever thought existed. He is that most annoying of all people, the unwilling traveller.

The third book of the Hitchhiker’s Guide trilogy of five has long been my favourite.

The story picks up with Arthur Dent trapped on prehistoric earth, and hating every damp second of it. When a small Chesterfield sofa appears nearby, Arthur and Ford jump on, return to Earth, and find themselves caught up in yet another adventure that involves saving the universe and finding out some very odd things about cricket.

If you ever wondered why the bowl of petunias thought “oh no, not again” it is answered here in the form of Agrajag, a being who, in every existence on any planet anywhere, ends his life due to Arthur Dent. He’s a bit angry about that.

It also contains the brilliant discussion of the bistromathic drive. “In space, the numbers are awful” sums up all most of us ever need to know about space travel.

Hitchhikers is deservedly a classic, and I have to confess to liking the BBC TV Show, and the recent movie too. Both great adaptations, even if not everyone agrees.

With the Hitchhikers Guide I think Douglas Adams created a story that will see yet more adaptaitons in the years to come. At least, I hope it will.

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