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 heard of by any Earthman.
Nevertheless, a wholly remarkable book.
In fact, it was probably 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 God Went Wrong, Some More of God’s Greatest Mistakes and Who is this God Person Anyway?
In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern 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 respects.
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.