The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
When Arthur Dent wakes up in the morning he finds bulldozers outside his house ready to demolish it to make space for building a new bypass. Arthur tries to stop the contractors and argues that he was never informed about the plans for the bypass until yesterday. However, the contractors say that the plans had been on display since several months and Arthur could have complained to the authorities earlier about this. Seeing that nothing can be done now to stop the contractors Arthur just lies in front of the bulldozers.
Just then Arthur’s weird friend Ford Prefect arrives . He informs Arthur that he is an alien from Beetlegeuse-a planet in outer space and has been stuck on Earth since fifteen years. He tells Arthur that the Earth is about to be destroyed by a Vogon Constructor Fleet revolving around the Earth at the moment, to make way for their hyperspace bypass. Ford also reveals that he is the writer of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – a guide for travelling in the Universe.
Arthur and Ford escape in one of the Vogon ships just in time before the Earth is destroyed. The Vogons are hostile creatures who particularly hate hitchhikers. Unfortunately they discover Arthur and his friend on the ship and torture them by making them listen to the utterly awful Vogon poetry. Arthur and his friend are then thrown out by them into the outer space.
Just in time before they could die, Arthur and Ford are picked up by the Heart of Gold – a ship powered by a never ending improbability drive, meaning that when a button is pushed on its system, the most improbable thing will happen. The Heart of Gold has been stolen by Zaphod Beeblebrox who happens to be Ford’s cousin and the President of the Universe. Zaphod is accompanied by his girlfriend – a woman called Trillian and their robot Marvin. Zaphod and his team are finding the fabled lost planet called Magrathea – once the wealthiest planet in the Galaxies.
When the team reaches Magrathea, all of them except the robot Marvin are attacked and kidnapped. Arthur meets a guy called Slartibartfast who tells him that the planet was home to the most intelligent computer ever created called the Deep Thought. The computer was built by the hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings who lived on the planet in order to find out the answer to the question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. Deep Thought had revealed after seven and a half million years of calculating that the Answer was 42. However the pan-dimensional beings realized that the Answer was no use without the Question so they started finding the Question. Deep Blue then created the Earth – a supercomputer which would calculate the question for them. The calculation of Earth had to run for ten million years which were almost completed with only five minutes left when the Vogons destroyed it so the Question was not found.
Two of the pan-dimensional beings – Frankie and Benjy Mouse who had disguised as Trillian’s pet mice realize that Arthur has the impression of the question in his mind since he was the last earthling who was there just before the Earth was destroyed. The mice offer to buy Arthur’s brain and search for the Question in it, but Arthur doesn’t agree which results in a skirmish. Arthur and his gang escapee from the planet through a diversion created by the klaxons over it and depart for a lunch at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.