I missed this book in the late 70’s / early 80’s. Not sure how that happened. Read all the iconic books of the 60’s and 70’s, and I loved science fiction / fantasy back in those days. This fall, saw the Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide (all 5 novels + a story) in my grandson’s room, and brought it home.
These are funny / unexpected / wildly twisting stories. Seems like the writer just started wandering over his keyboard and someone on the other side of the room shouted out the latest weird happening from the Times in London. The writer then invented the name of a race of people to whom this had happened, sat the whole story on a planet with unpleasant characteristics, and threw in the mention of various foodstuffs at random.
The notion that the Earth being blown up to make room for a bypass in outer space turns out to be funny at some point in the book, after you’ve already lived through it, and been with Arthur Dent and Ford Procter, Zaphod and Trillian, and Marvin the gloomy robot for a while. Nothing is ever allowed to stay normal for longer than 2-1/2 pages, by my count.
It is still a wickedly good book, and still provides biting social commentary. If you’ve never read it, or haven’t read it in a while…now would be a good time!