The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a sci-fi comedy
focused loosely around the adventures of a lone Earth-man called Arthur
Dent. His bad day starts with his planet blowing up and goes rather
downhill from there. Along the way he picks up the lovely smart and definitely
not interested Trillian, his best friend Ford who is actually an alien and
Zaphod, the President of the Galaxy turned petty thief.
Searching for the lost (and probably mythical) planet of Magrathea, the lot of
them stumble about the galaxy with little to no idea of what they are doing or
why they are doing it. Arthur spends a large part of the time looking for
a nice cup of tea while Ford just wants to have a good time. Zaphod, the
leader, seems the most clueless of all and blindly leads them into one
catastrophe after another, all in the name of fortune, fame and of course, a
really good drink. Trillian is the only one who actually cares that
Magrathea used to custom build planets, and yet it wasn't even her idea to go
on this crazy trip.
All of this makes for a rollicking, terribly fun ride in true Douglas Adams
style. Adams plays with the English
language like an artist with paint, and some of the more random bits of comedy
in the book are capable of standing on their own as short pieces. (The
whale monologue, for example.) This explains Adam's huge cult following
who have a tendency to memorize and quote large sections of this and the other
books in this trilogy to each other for fun.
Douglas Adams is the master of holding a book together without necessarily any
plot to speak of; instead the Guide welcomes you to a mess of pure outrageous
comedy written in Adam's typical wordplay style. If you think you know
this book because you've watched the movie, prepare to be amazed and pleased by
this masterpiece of the English language.