HitchHiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Intro
Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of
the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded
Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles
is an utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape-
descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still
think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.
This planet has – or rather had – a problem, which was this: most
of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time.
Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these
were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces
of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small
green pieces of paper that were unhappy.
And so the problem remained; lots of the people were mean, and
most of them were miserable, even the ones with digital watches.
Many were increasingly of the opinion that they’d all made a big
mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And
some suggested that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no
one should ever have left the oceans.
Then, one Thursday, nearly two thousand years after one man
had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be
nice to people for a change, a girl sitting on her own in a
small cafe in Rickmansworth England suddenly realized what it was that
had been going wrong all this time, and she finally knew how the
world could be made a good and happy place. This time it was
right, it would work, and no one would have to get nailed to
Sadly, however, before she could get to a telephone to tell anyone
about it, a terribly stupid catastrophe occurred, and the idea
was lost forever.
This is not her story.
But it is the story of that terrible stupid catastrophe and some
of its consequences.
It is also the story of a book. A book called The Hitch Hiker’s
Guide to the Galaxy – not an Earth book, never published on
Earth, and until the terrible catastrophe occurred, never seen or even
heard of by any Earthman.
Nevertheless, a wholly remarkable book.
It is, perhaps, the most remarkable book ever to come out
of the great publishing houses of Ursa Minor – of which no
Earthman had ever heard either.
Not only is it a wholly remarkable book, it is also a highly
successful one – more popular than the Celestial Home Care
Omnibus, better selling than Fifty More Things to do in Zero
Gravity, and more controversial than Oolon Colluphid’s trilogy of
philosophical blockbusters: Where G*d Went Wrong, Some More of
G*d’s Greatest Mistakes and Who is this G*d Person Anyway?
And in many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Easterni
Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitch Hiker’s Guide has already supplanted
the great Encyclopedia Galactica as the standard repository of
all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and
contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate,
it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important
First, it is slightly cheaper; and secondly it has the words
Don’t Panic inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.
But the story of this terrible, stupid Thursday, the story of its
extraordinary consequences, and the story of how these
consequences are inextricably intertwined with this remarkable
book begins very simply.
It begins with a house