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The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams - NEW

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The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams -  NEW

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams - NEW Novel

Don't Panic!

The book begins with contractors arriving at Arthur Dent's house, in order to demolish it to make way for a bypass. His friend, Ford Prefect, arrives while Arthur is lying in front of the bulldozers, to stop them from demolishing it. He tries to explain to Arthur that he is actually from a planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse and that the Earth is about to be demolished. The Vogons, an alien race, intend to destroy Earth to make way for a hyperspace bypass.

The two escape by hitching a lift on one of the Vogons' ships; this is, however, against Vogon regulations and when the pair are discovered, they are tortured with a rendition of Vogon poetry, the third worst in the known Universe, and then thrown into space. They are, very improbably, picked up by the Heart of Gold, a ship powered by an infinite improbability drive, and has been stolen by Ford's semi-cousin and President of the Galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox. Zaphod, accompanied by Trillian and the clinically depressed robot Marvin, is searching for the legendary planet of Magrathea, which had manufactured luxury planets. Ford is initially skeptical, but they do, in fact, find Magrathea.

There, Arthur, after being separated from the rest of the group, is taken to the interior of the planet by Slartibartfast, a native of the planet. The others are kidnapped. Slartibartfast explains to Arthur that the Earth is actually a supercomputer commissioned and paid for by a race of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings. These creatures had earlier built a supercomputer named Deep Thought, to calculate the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. This computer, after seven and a half million years of calculating, had announced that the Answer is in fact 42. Being unsatisfied with the Answer, they set about finding the Question. Deep Thought designs a computer, the Earth, to calculate the Question. However, ten million years later, and just five minutes before the completion of the program, the Earth is demolished by the Vogons. The manifestations of two of these beings, Frankie and Benjy Mouse, had arrived on Magrathea on the Heart of Gold, disguised as Trillian's pet mice.

The mice realize that Arthur, as a last-generation organic byproduct of the computer's matrix, has the Question imprinted into his brain and offer to buy his brain from him. Arthur disagrees, and a fight ensues. The mice are about to cut Arthur's head open, when klaxons all over the planet create a diversion, in which they escape. The galactic police had arrived on the planet to arrest Zaphod. The group is attacked by 2 members of the police, who abruptly die when their life support systems fail: Marvin had explained his view of the universe to the mother ship's computer and it committed suicide, taking their life support systems with it.

The group decides to go to The Restaurant at the End of the Universe for lunch.

About the Author Douglas Adams

Douglas Noel Adams (11 March 1952 – 11 May 2001) was an English author, dramatist, and musician. He is best known as the author of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. Hitchhiker's began on radio, and developed into a "trilogy" of five books (which sold more than fifteen million copies during his lifetime) as well as a television series, a comic book series, a radio play, a computer game, and a feature film that was completed after Adams' death. The series has also been adapted for live theatre using various scripts; the earliest such productions used material newly written by Adams. He was known to some fans as Bop Ad (after his illegible signature), or by his initials "DNA"; Adams was proud of the coincidence that he was born in Cambridge the year before the elucidation of the structure of DNA in the same city.

In addition to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams wrote or co-wrote three stories of the science fiction television series Doctor Who and served as Script Editor during the seventeenth season. His other written works include the Dirk Gently novels, and he co-wrote two Liff books and Last Chance to See, itself based on a radio series. Adams also originated the idea for the computer game Starship Titanic, which was produced by a company that Adams co-founded, and adapted into a novel by Terry Jones. A posthumous collection of essays and other material, including an incomplete novel, was published as The Salmon of Doubt in 2002. His Science Fiction-Humour books are similar to the style of Jasper Fforde, Neil Gaiman and Rob Grant. His fans and friends also knew Adams as an environmental activist, a confirmed atheist, and a lover of fast cars, cameras, the Macintosh computer, and other "techno gizmos". The biologist Richard Dawkins dedicated his book The God Delusion to Douglas Adams and in it described how Adams came to understand evolution. Douglas was a keen technologist, writing about such topics as e-mail and Usenet before they became widely known. Toward the end of his life he was a sought-after lecturer on topics including technology and the environment.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was a concept for a science-fiction comedy radio series pitched by Adams and radio producer Simon Brett to BBC Radio 4 in 1977. Adams came up with an outline for a pilot episode, as well as a few other stories (reprinted in Neil Gaiman's book Don't Panic: The Official Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Companion) that could potentially be used in the series. According to Adams, the idea for the title The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy occurred to him while he lay drunk in a field in Innsbruck, Austria (though he joked that the BBC would instead claim it was Spain "probably because it's easier to spell"), gazing at the stars. He had been wandering the countryside while carrying a book called the Hitch-hiker's Guide to Europe when he ran into a town where, as he humorously describes, everyone was either "deaf" and "dumb" or only spoke languages he could not understand. After wandering around and drinking for a while, he went to sleep in the middle of a field and was inspired by his inability to communicate with the townspeople. He later said that due to his constantly retelling this story of inspiration, he no longer had any memory of the moment of inspiration itself, and only remembered his retellings of that moment. A postscript to M. J. Simpson's biography of Adams, Hitchhiker: A Biography of Douglas Adams, provides evidence that the story was in fact a fabrication and that Adams had conceived the idea some time after his trip around Europe.

Despite the original outline, Adams was said to make up the stories as he wrote. He turned to John Lloyd for help with the final two episodes of the first series. Lloyd contributed bits from an unpublished science fiction book of his own, called GiGax. However, very little of Lloyd's material survived in later adaptations of Hitchhiker's, such as the novels and the TV series. The TV series itself was based on the first six radio episodes, but sections contributed by Lloyd were largely re-written. BBC Radio 4 broadcast the first radio series weekly in the UK in March and April 1978. Following the success of the first series, another episode was recorded and broadcast, which was commonly known as the Christmas Episode. A second series of five episodes was broadcast one per night, during the week of 21 January - 25 January 1980.

While working on the radio series (and with simultaneous projects such as The Pirate Planet) Adams developed problems keeping to writing deadlines that only got worse as he published novels. Adams was never a prolific writer and usually had to be forced by others to do any writing. This included being locked in a hotel suite with his editor for three weeks to ensure that So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish was completed. He was quoted as saying, "I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by." Despite the difficulty with deadlines, Adams eventually authored five novels in the series, published in 1979, 1980, 1982, 1984 and 1992. The books formed the basis for other adaptations, such as three-part comic book adaptations for each of the first three books, an interactive text-adventure computer game, and a photo-illustrated edition, published in 1994. This latter edition featured a 42 Puzzle designed by Adams, which was later incorporated into paperback covers of the first four "Hitchhiker's" novels (the paperback for the fifth re-used the artwork from the hardcover edition).In 1980, Adams also began attempts to turn the first Hitchhiker's novel into a movie, making several trips to Los Angeles, California, and working with a number of Hollywood studios and potential producers. The next year, 1981, the radio series became the basis for a BBC television mini-series "The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy" broadcast in six parts. When he died in 2001 in California, he had been trying again to get the movie project started with Disney, which had bought the rights in 1998. The screenplay finally got a posthumous re-write by Karey Kirkpatrick, was green-lit in September 2003, and the resulting movie was released in 2005.

Radio producer Dirk Maggs had consulted with Adams, first in 1993, and later in 1997 and 2000 about creating a third radio series, based on the third novel in the Hitchhiker's series. They also vaguely discussed the possibilities of radio adaptations of the final two novels in the five-book "trilogy." As with the movie, this project was only realised after Adams' death. The third series, The Tertiary Phase, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in September 2004 and was subsequently released on audio CD. With the aid of a recording of his reading of Life, the Universe and Everything and editing, Douglas Adams himself can be heard playing the part of Agrajag posthumously. So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish and Mostly Harmless made up the fourth and fifth radio series, respectively (on radio they were titled The Quandary Phase and The Quintessential Phase) and these were broadcast in May and June of 2005, and also subsequently released on Audio CD. The last episode in the last series (with a new, "more upbeat" ending) concluded with, "The very final episode of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams is affectionately dedicated to its author." More recently, the film makers at Smoov Filmz adapted the anecdote that Arthur Dent relates about biscuits in So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish into a short film called "Cookies." Adams also discussed the real-life episode that inspired the anecdote in a 2001 speech, reprinted in his posthumous collection The Salmon of Doubt. He also told the story on the radio programme It Makes Me Laugh on 19 July 1981.

Adams died of a heart attack at the age of 49 on 11 May 2001, during the rest period of his regular workout at a private gym in Montecito, California. He had unknowingly suffered a gradual narrowing of the coronary arteries, which led at that moment to a myocardial infarction and a fatal cardiac arrhythmia. Adams had been due to deliver the commencement address at Harvey Mudd College on 13 May. His funeral was held on 16 May 2001 in Santa Barbara, California. Several friends and people he had worked with were in attendance. His ashes were placed in Highgate Cemetery in north London in June 2002.

 

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