The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy | Study Guide

Douglas Adams

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Course Hero. "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Study Guide." Course Hero. 28 Nov. 2016. Web. 18 Nov. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Hitchhikers-Guide-to-the-Galaxy/>.

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Course Hero. (2016, November 28). The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved November 18, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Hitchhikers-Guide-to-the-Galaxy/

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Course Hero. "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Study Guide." November 28, 2016. Accessed November 18, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Hitchhikers-Guide-to-the-Galaxy/.

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Course Hero, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Study Guide," November 28, 2016, accessed November 18, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Hitchhikers-Guide-to-the-Galaxy/.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy | 10 Things You Didn't Know

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Douglas Adams's comedic science fiction novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, published in 1979, achieved massive popularity through a dedicated fan base. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is one of the clearest examples of a "cult classic" in literature, as the novel's true devotees analyze and evaluate every word of Adams's prose.

The novel, the first of a series, combines wit, parody, and—above all—humor in relation to modern society. Following the journey of Arthur Dent, an everyman character who faces seizure of his home by the state, Adams chronicles Arthur's adventures and misadventures as he boards a spacecraft leaving Earth as his planet faces imminent destruction. The novel's superficial silliness is underlain by scathing satire, contributing to its worldwide reputation and fame.

1. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was originally a radio broadcast.

Before Adams wrote The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as a book, it was broadcast on the BBC as a seven-part radio program. The seven episodes were referred to as "fits" in reference to Lewis Carroll's "The Hunting of the Snark: an Agony, in Eight Fits."

2. The title The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was inspired by a travel guide for tourists in Europe.

Adams was inspired by The Hitchhiker's Guide to Europe, written in the early 1970s by Ken Welsh and Katie Wood. A more practical guide than Adams's novel, Welsh and Wood's travel guide provided information for budget-conscious travelers in Europe.

3. Adams deliberately mislabeled The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series as a trilogy.

Douglas Adams actually wrote five books in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, but he purposely referred to his novels as a "trilogy." The mislabeling reflects the elements of absurdity found in each book.

4. Asteroids were named after The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy's protagonist and author.

In 1998 a newly discovered asteroid was named 18610 Arthurdent, referencing The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy's main character. Another asteroid discovered in 2001 was named 25924 Douglasadams, paying homage to the author.

5. Adams had to tweak Slartibartfast's name to make it appropriate for broadcast.

Adams wanted to give the character a name that would justify the sorrow in his personality and sounded downright ridiculous. Adams began by calling him "Phartiphukborlz," gradually modifying the name until it was more appropriate for radio broadcast.

6. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy inspired a holiday known as "Towel Day."

In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Adams writes, "A towel ... is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have." Each year on May 11—the anniversary of Adams's death in 2001—fans from around the world sport towels wherever they go to pay tribute to the author.

7. A species of fish was named after The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy character Zaphod Beeblebrox.

Bidenichthys beeblebroxi is a small fish that lives in the coral reefs off the coast of the North Island and northern South Island of New Zealand. The fish was named after Adams's two-headed character Zaphod Beeblebrox.

8. Adams helped create a 1984 video game based on The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Adams partnered with Infocom to create the text-based video game in which players guide Arthur Dent through the absurdities of Adams's interstellar universe. Video game critics note that Adams created a game that was purposely difficult and, at times, frustrating to reflect the absurdity present in his novels.

9. Adams's agent appears as a space cop in an illustrated edition of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Ed Victor was Adams's literary agent throughout the publication of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. He was included in an early illustrated edition of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as an intergalactic police officer.

10. Another author was chosen to continue the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series after Adams's death.

Before his death in 2001, Adams had published five installments of his series. Eoin Colfer was commissioned to write a sixth book featuring Arthur Dent, entitled And Another Thing..., which was published in 2009. Colfer is famous for his Artemis Fowl series of science fiction novels.

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