The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

Douglas Adams
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Douglas Adams

for Jonny Brock and Clare Gorst
and all other Arlingtonians for
tea, sympathy and a sofa

Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the west-
ern spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting
this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insigni -
cant little blue green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly
primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea. This planet has { or rather had { a problem, which was this: most of the
people on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were
suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the
movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole
it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy. And so the problem remained; lots of the people were mean, and most of
them were miserable, even the ones with digital watches.
Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big mistake
in coming down from the trees in the rst place. And some said that even the
trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans. And then, one Thursday, nearly two thousand years after one man had
been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people
for a change, one girl sitting on her own in a small cafe in Rickmansworth
suddenly realized what it was that had been going wrong all this time, and she
nally knew how the world could be made a good and happy place. This time
it was right, it would work, and no one would have to get nailed to anything.
Sadly, however, before she could get to a phone to tell anyone about it, a
terribly stupid catastrophe occurred, and the idea was lost forever. This is not her story.
But it is the story of that terrible stupid catastrophe and some of its
consequences. It is also the story of a book, a book called The Hitchhiker's Guide to the
Galaxy { not an Earth book, never published on Earth, and until the terrible
catastrophe occurred, never seen or heard of by any Earthman. Nevertheless, a whol ly remarkable book.
In fact it was probably the most remarkable book ever to come out of the
great publishing houses of Ursa Minor { of which no Earthman had ever heard
either. Not only is it a wholly remarkable book, it is also a highly successful one
{ more popular than the Celestial Home Care Omnibus , better selling than
Fifty More Things to do in Zero Gravity , and more controversial than Oolon
Colluphid's trilogy of philosophical blockbusters Where God Went Wrong,
Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes andWho is this God Person Anyway ?
In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the
Galaxy, the Hitchhiker's Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopedia
Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though

it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly
inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important
First, it is slightly cheaper; and secondly it has the words Don't Panic
inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover. But the story of this terrible, stupid Thursday, the story of its extraordi-
nary consequences, and the story of how these consequences are inextricably
intertwined with this remarkable book begins very simply. It begins with a house.

Chapter 1
The house stood on a slight rise just on the edge of the village. It stood on
its own and looked over a broad spread of West Country farmland. Not a
remarkable house by any means { it was about thirty years old, squattish,
squarish, made of brick, and had four windows set in the front of a size and
proportion which more or less exactly failed to please the eye. The only person for whom the house was in any way special was Arthur
Dent, and that was only because it happened to be the one he lived in. He
had lived in it for about three years, ever since he had moved out of London
because it made him nervous and irritable. He was about thirty as well,
dark haired and never quite at ease with himself. The thing that used to
worry him most was the fact that people always used to ask him what he
was looking so worried about. He worked in local radio which he always used
to tell his friends was a lot more interesting than they probably thought. It
was, too { most of his friends worked in advertising. On Wednesday night it had rained very heavily, the lane was wet and
muddy, but the Thursday morning sun was bright and clear as it shone on
Arthur Dent's house for what was to be the last time
It hadn't properly registered with Arthur
Continue reading on your phone by scaning this QR Code

 / 56
Tip: The current page has been bookmarked automatically. If you wish to continue reading later, just open the Dertz Homepage, and click on the 'continue reading' link at the bottom of the page.