Best 1979 Adventures (4)
December 8, 2019
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1979 adventure novels.
Douglas Adams’s absurdist science fiction adventure The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
When a Vogon constructor fleet arrives to destroy Earth (in order to make way for an intergalactic bypass), Arthur Dent, an ordinary Englishman, is rescued just in time by Ford Prefect — a human-like alien writer for the eccentric, electronic travel guide The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Clad only in his pajamas and dressing gown, Arthur stumbles into a grand misadventure. He and Ford wind up traveling in the Heart of Gold, a spacecraft equipped with the experimental Infinite Improbability Drive, along with Ford’s cousin, the two-headed President of the Galaxy Zaphod Beeblebrox; Marvin, the Paranoid Android; and Trillian, an Earthling formerly known as Tricia McMillan. It seems that Earth is (was) an organic supercomputer, created by another supercomputer, Deep Thought — which was created in order to calculate the “Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.” (The number 42, which mathematician and fatasy writer Lewis Carroll seemed to find particularly funny, is — according to Deep Thought’s non-organic calculations — the Question’s answer.) Arthur becomes the target of the descendants of the Deep Thought creators, who believe his mind must hold the Question. Along the way, we meet excellent characters like Slartibartfast, the planetary coastline designer responsible for the fjords of Norway….
Fun facts: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was a 1978 BBC Radio 4 broadcast; the novel was adapted from the first four episodes. The story was adapted for TV’s BBC Two in 1981, and as a 2005 movie starring Martin Freeman as Arthur, Mos Def as Ford, Sam Rockwell as Zaphod, and Zooey Deschanel as Trillian. Sequels include The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (1980), Life, the Universe and Everything (1982), and So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (1984).
JOSH GLENN’S *BEST ADVENTURES* LISTS: BEST 250 ADVENTURES OF THE 20TH CENTURY | 100 BEST OUGHTS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST RADIUM AGE (PROTO-)SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TEENS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TWENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST THIRTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST GOLDEN AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FORTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FIFTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SIXTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST NEW WAVE SCI FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SEVENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST EIGHTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST DIAMOND AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST NINETIES ADVENTURES (in progress) | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | NOTES ON 21st-CENTURY ADVENTURES.