Many fans of the story became acquainted with it through recordings of the old radio shows, the scripts of which were published as The Original Hitchhiker Radio Scripts. A television version of the series was broadcast by the BBC in There are, therefore, three versions of the Guide: Although all were written by Douglas Adams, these versions are not altogether consistent with one another.
It's agreed, though, that the phenomenon has to do with shock — a death, a disaster, something that leaves everything catastrophically changed.
How curious, then, that this is so often the way fans talk about The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Is this only because it's so funny, or is it because it's a story that begins with the total destruction of planet Earth?
For readers who need it, here is a brief recap. H2G2 — as Gaiman was the first to call the show — started life as a BBC radio sitcom in ; it went out with little publicity, but right away became a hit. The story begins with a man called Arthur Dent, described in the novelisation as "about Luckily for Arthur, though, his drinking pal, Ford Prefect, hitches them both a lift on a spaceship under the command of Zaphod Beeblebrox, a two-headed pan-galactic renegade.
The adventures that follow involve Vogons "one of the most unpleasant races in the galaxy — not actually evil, but bad-tempered, bureaucratic, officious and callous" ; a great deal of faff about the number 42; and the discovery that humans are descended not from apes, but from hairdressers and management consultants.
They also feature a "manically depressed" robot called Marvin the Paranoid Android, whose funny voice came second only to that of Daleks among playground comedians of s Britain: Loathe it or ignore it, you can't like it.
Don't talk to me about life. Born in Cambridge in — he was proud of his initials, DNA — he studied English at Cambridge University because he wanted to be in Footlights, then found himself, by the late s, a comedy sketchwriter in need of an idea. Suddenly, he remembered a drunken reverie he'd had, staring at the stars one evening, while hitchhiking round Europe.
The first novel led, over the next 12 years, to four sequels — you can buy them packaged together, as "a trilogy in five parts".
Adams himself went on to begin another series of comic novels — Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective AgencyThe Long Dark Teatime of the Soul — but increasingly it was newer media that absorbed him.
He worked for 20 years, off and on, trying to get a Hitchhiker's movie off the ground, A literary analysis of hitch hikers guide to the galaxy by douglas adams in launched the Digital Village, an internet startup of which he was the self-appointed "chief fantasist".
He died suddenly, of a heart attack, inmid-workout at a private gym in Santa Barbara, southern California, where he had relocated with his family a couple of years before. The Digital Village failed in the great dotcom shakeup, but parts of it survive on h2g2, an interactive resource currently billeted towards the unfashionable end of the BBC website, a bit like Wikipedia except not half so good.
Adams's really big idea, though — what used to get called his killer app — was the one he'd got on that drunken night of dreaming.
What if, instead of a Hitchhiker's Guide to Europe, you carried in your backpack a handbook to the stars? And so, as well as being the story of "a terrible, stupid catastrophe", the original Hitchhiker's presented itself as "the story of a book".
We are told that this book — or rather, in fanspeak, "the Book" — is "the most remarkable book ever to come out of the great publishing corporations of Ursa Minor"; it's "an indispensable companion to all those who are keen to make sense of life in an infinitely complex and confusing universe".
The Hitchhiker's Guide, in other words, was not simply a comic space opera, but also participated in two other, albeit converging, literary traditions: But he was evidently familiar with "the great Encyclopaedia Galactica", as invented by Isaac Asimov for his Foundation stories in the s — The Hitchhiker's Guide, we are told, has "already supplanted" it, being "slightly cheaper".
And once Adams got the imaginary-book thing going, the ways he turned it amount to a typology of the form.
Sometimes, the imaginary book is used pragmatically, to shovel off boring lumps of background and exposition. Sometimes it's used sceptically, to upset the linear surface of the story, and sometimes it's completely bogus, generating phoney mystery and depth.
The book-within-a-book trick, in short, allowed Adams to develop a story that was both unified and modular, tight yet flexible, compact yet potentially infinite.
Within this handy framework, the Hitchhiker stories make up a sort of folk-art depiction, like on a tribal carpet, of the lates English middle-class cosmic order.
So there he is, the hapless Arthur Dent, in the middle, his maths insufficient to grasp even the first thing about his current position, in a county in a country, on a continent on a planet, in a solar system, in a galaxy, and so on. Even now, the only way I can get the hierarchy right is by referring to the products of Mars Inc.
Except that the universe, style, would have seemed different from the one we know, and don't know, today, with space travel, in the years between the Moon landings and the Challenger disaster, both current and glamorous-feeling in a way it certainly isn't now.
Relativity and the space-time continuum, wormholes and the multiverse featured everywhere in science fact and fiction, and were easily bent and twisted into the sort of paradox at which Adams's mind excelled — the armada of spaceships diving screaming towards Earth, "where, due to a terrible miscalculation of scale, the entire battle fleet was accidentally swallowed by a small dog"; the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, where you can pay for dinner by putting 1p in a present-day savings account, meaning that "when you arrive at the End of Time.
Except that the Guide wasn't just a literary device, a concept. It really was a "Book", a thing of plastic, an actual piece of tech. It looked, we are told, "rather like a largish electronic calculator" — as such a device would have had to look in the s, before iPhones, Kindle, Ernie Wise's Vodafone.
On it, "any one of a million 'pages' could be summoned at a moment's notice" — what, only a million? The Book was brilliantly brought to life in the television series, in two-dimensional line graphics, moving along behind a cursor, like on the primitive arcade games and home computers of the time.
They looked — they still look — cooler, funnier, more techy, than the more GUIesque animations in the movie, although Rod Lord's design had nothing digital about it; images were drawn on acetate and filmed with a rostrum camera in the traditional cartoonists' way.
Adams, though, went beyond prophecy not to dystopia — lots of writers do that — but to small-scale obsolescence and disappointment.
The babel fish, for example, is apparently a "small, yellow and leechlike" organism that you stick in your ear, whereupon it feeds on other people's brainwaves, excreting them, simultaneously translated, into yours; neat, but none the less silly and pathetic, in the way only sticking a fish in your ear can be.
The infinite improbability drive is "a wonderful new method of crossing vast interstellar distances" which runs on the energy released from ridiculous coincidences; in an explosion of surrealist mournfulness, it transforms a nuclear missile into a fully sentient sperm whale.
The method is a bit like steampunk, in that it proceeds counterfactually, but with careful logic; or like steampunk, only without the steam.
But there's a definite tea theme, and a lot of Englishness, and a distinctive note of piscine melancholy: If Adams's books were a domestic appliance, they'd be a Sinclair ZX80, wired to a Teasmade, screeching machine code through quadraphonic speakers, and there'd probably be a haddock in there somewhere, non-compatible and obsolete.The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams Essay - Context This particular passage is set in a eventful and tense point of the novel.
It summarizes the main theme of the novel, in a comical and rather ironic manner, and also in a moment of great suspense, transitioning one scenario into the next.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, which celebrates its 30th anniversary today, has an enduring appeal which goes beyond science fiction.
The most important literary device in the novel is the use of a fictional encyclopedia, which explains some of the important events and themes. The Hitchhiker's Guide, in the book, is a real. This study guide and infographic for Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs. This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of Hitchhiker’S Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a playful and surreal exploration of the absurdity of life, made through the tale of a man travelling through the universe. The story begins when Arthur Dent wakes up to find workmen .
The Hitchhiker's Guide, in other words, was not simply a comic space opera, but also participated in two other, albeit converging, literary traditions: the postmodern interest in metafiction and. This study guide and infographic for Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text.
Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (sometimes referred to as HG2G, HHGTTG or H2G2) is a comedy science fiction series created by Douglas Adams.
Originally a radio comedy broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in , it was later adapted to other formats, including stage shows, novels, comic books, a TV series, a video game, .
The most important literary device in the novel is the use of a fictional encyclopedia, which explains some of the important events and themes.
The Hitchhiker's Guide, in the book, is a real.