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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (sometimes referred to as HG2G, HHGTTG, H2G2, or tHGttG) is a comedy science fiction series created by Douglas Adams. Originally a 1978 radio comedy broadcast on BBC Radio 4, it was later adapted to other formats, including stage shows, novels, comic books, a 1981 TV series, a 1984 video game, and 2005 feature film.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has become an international multi-media phenomenon; the novels are the most widely distributed, having been translated into more than 30 languages by 2005. The first novel, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979), was ranked fourth on the BBC’s The Big Read poll. The sixth novel, And Another Thing, was written by Eoin Colfer with additional unpublished material by Douglas Adams. In 2017, BBC Radio 4 announced a 40th-anniversary celebration with Dirk Maggs, one of the original producers, in charge. The first of six new episodes was broadcast on 8 March 2018.
The broad narrative of Hitchhiker follows the misadventures of the last surviving man, Arthur Dent, following the demolition of the Earth by a Vogon constructor fleet to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Dent is rescued from Earth’s destruction by Ford Prefect—a human-like alien writer for the eccentric, electronic travel guide The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy—by hitchhiking onto a passing Vogon spacecraft. Following his rescue, Dent explores the galaxy with Prefect and encounters Trillian, another human who had been taken from Earth (prior to its destruction) by the two-headed President of the Galaxy Zaphod Beeblebrox and the depressed Marvin, the Paranoid Android. Certain narrative details were changed among the various adaptations.
Along with Ford Prefect, Arthur Dent barely escapes the Earth’s destruction as it is demolished to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Arthur spends the next several years, still wearing his dressing gown, helplessly launched from crisis to crisis while trying to straighten out his lifestyle. He rather enjoys tea, but seems to have trouble obtaining it in the far reaches of the galaxy. In time, he learns how to fly and carves a niche for himself as a sandwich-maker.
In most versions of the series, Arthur and Ford eventually find themselves back on Earth, but two million years in the past, marooned with a third of the Golgafrincham population (consisting of hairdressers, account executives, film makers, security guards, telephone sanitisers, and the like). The Golgafrincham arrival spurs the extinction of the native “cavemen” (although, as Ford Prefect pointed out, they did not live in caves, to which a witty repartee was that they ‘might have been getting their caves redecorated’), resulting in the human race’s eventual replacement by a shipload of middle managers, telephone sanitisers and hairdressers.
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