“Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. 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.” So begins the funniest sci-fi novel of all time.
We’re talking, of course, of the much-beloved Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Where most other sci-fi books are dark and serious affairs, the Hitchhiker’s Guide is a lighthearted comedic romp about the utter destruction of Earth. And despite the somewhat dated reference to digital watches, this book is timeless.
Douglas Adams famously first developed the idea for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy while lying drunk in a field in Innsbruck, Austria, having been inspired by The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Europe and a decent amount of alcohol.
The story follows an ordinary earthling named Arthur Dent, as he quickly goes from trying to stop a bulldozer from leveling his house to being the sole survivor of the destruction of earth (destroyed to make way for a galactic bypass). Arthur’s mate, Ford Prefect, reveals himself to be an alien and whisks them off planet just in the nick of time. Ford is doing research on the earth as a writer for the titular device — an electronic guide for interplanetary travelers on a budget. The two then go on a hilarious adventure involving Ford’s two-headed cousin Zaphod, a depressed robot, a stolen spaceship powered by improbability, and a whale coming to terms with its own existence.
Adams first developed this story as a radio dramatization, but quickly turned it into a novel. The book was a smashing success and attracted fans from all over the galaxy (mostly Earth, though). It spawned four sequels by Adams, a text-based computer game, a television series, a big budget Hollywood adaptation, and a towel.
Douglas Adams sadly passed away before he could write another installment in the series (though a sixth entry would be penned by Eoin Culfer). Adam’s fans all over the world keep his memory alive. On May 25, earthlings from all corners celebrate towel day, an unofficial holiday commemorating Adams and his work. And some take it to the next level with a Hitchhiker’s Guide tattoo. Why not grab your towel and take a look at some sweet fan tattoos? Even though tattoos are said to make one look tough, we think you’ll find all of these to be mostly harmless.
Now that we’ve reached the end of this article, we hope you enjoyed these pieces that honor the legacy of Douglas Adams. So long, and thanks for all the tattoos.