Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker's Guide ("A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have") and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox--the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod's girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.
Where are these pens? Why are we born? Why do we die? Why do we spend so much time between wearing digital watches? For all the answers stick your thumb to the stars. And don't forget to bring a towel!
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Facing annihilation at the hands of the warlike Vogons is a curious time to have a craving for tea. It could only happen to the cosmically displaced Arthur Dent and his curious comrades in arms as they hurtle across space powered by pure improbability--and desperately in search of a place to eat.
Among Arthur's motley shipmates are Ford Prefect, a longtime friend and expert contributor to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; Zaphod Beeblebrox, the three-armed, two-headed ex-president of the galaxy; Tricia McMillan, a fellow Earth refugee who's gone native (her name is Trillian now); and Marvin, the moody android who suffers nothing and no one very gladly. Their destination? The ultimate hot spot for an evening of apocalyptic entertainment and fine dining, where the food (literally) speaks for itself.
Will they make it? The answer: hard to say. But bear in mind that the Hitchhiker's Guide deleted the term "Future Perfect" from its pages, since it was discovered not to be!
"What's such fun is how amusing the galaxy looks through Adams' sardonically silly eyes."
Life, the Universe and Everything
The unhappy inhabitants of planet Krikkit are sick of looking at the night sky above their heads--so they plan to destroy it. The universe, that is. Now only five individuals stand between the white killer robots of Krikkit and their goal of total annihilation.
They are Arthur Dent, a mild-mannered space and time traveler, who tries to learn how to fly by throwing himself at the ground and missing; Ford Prefect, his best friend, who decides to go insane to see if he likes it; Slartibartfast, the indomitable vicepresident of the Campaign for Real Time, who travels in a ship powered by irrational behavior; Zaphod Beeblebrox, the two-headed, three-armed ex-head honcho of the Universe; and Trillian, the sexy space cadet who is torn between a persistent Thunder God and a very depressed Beeblebrox.
How will it all end? Will it end? Only this stalwart crew knows as they try to avert "universal" Armageddon and save life as we know it--and don't know it!
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
Back on Earth with nothing more to show for his long, strange trip through time and space than a ratty towel and a plastic shopping bag, Arthur Dent is ready to believe that the past eight years were all just a figment of his stressed-out imagination. But a gift-wrapped fishbowl with a cryptic inscription, the mysterious disappearance of Earth's dolphins, and the discovery of his battered copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy all conspire to give Arthur the sneaking suspicion that something otherworldly is indeed going on. . . .
God only knows what it all means. And fortunately, He left behind a Final Message of explanation. But since it's light-years away from Earth, on a star surrounded by souvenir booths, finding out what it is will mean hitching a ride to the far reaches of space aboard a UFO with a giant robot. But what else is new?
It’s easy to get disheartened when your planet has been blown up, the woman you love has vanished due to a misunderstanding about space/time, the spaceship you are on crashes on a remote and Bob-fearing planet, and all you have to fall back on are a few simple sandwich-making skills. However, instead of being disheartened, Arthur Dent makes the terrible mistake of starting to enjoy life a bit–and immediately all hell breaks loose.
Hell takes a number of forms: there’s the standard Ford Prefect version, in the shape of an all-new edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and a totally unexpected manifestation in the form of a teenage girl who startles Arthur Dent by being his daughter when he didn’t even know he had one.
Can Arthur save the Earth from total multidimensional obliteration? Can he save the Guide from a hostile alien takeover? Can he save his daughter, Random, from herself? Of course not. He never works out exactly what is going on. Will you?
The story is a prequel to the events in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and has the young Zaphod Beeblebrox working as a salvage ship operator. He guides some bureaucrats to a crashed spaceship that may be leaking some dangerous materials, radioactive, toxic and otherwise hazardous by-products which were destined to be thrown into a black hole. The bureaucrats swear that it is "perfectly safe." When asked why they want to see it if that is true, they claim that they "like looking at things that are perfectly safe."
Since this was before Zaphod blocked off sections of his own brain for the presidency, readers are able to glimpse what his original personality was like. His general speech patterns and goof-off personality are the same, but he seems to have moral views and is more likely to go off on life-threatening and exciting quests for the greater good.
Throughout the story, it is emphasised that there is something particularly dangerous on board that ought to have been utterly destroyed, but is feared to have escaped.
Ultimately, it is revealed that the something was actually three identical "Designer People". The personalities seem totally benign, which is what makes them so dangerous. The ship is filled with substances so dangerous that they are safe because no one who would actually use them would be let near. The personalities, products of a Sirius Cybernetics Corporation project, however, have custom personalities that could not naturally exist. There is "nothing they will not do if allowed, and there is nothing they will not be allowed to do." Since no one will recognise that they are capable of mass destruction (despite their good intentions), no one will stop them from doing the unspeakable.
El Alcalde de Zalamea by Pedro Calderón de la Barca
Faith, Freedom, and the Future: Religion in American Political Culture by Jennifer W. Appel
The Midwife's Advice by Gay Courter
Marianela by Benito Pérez Galdós
The Shorter Homeric Hymns by Lee T. Pearcy