The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is the title of the first of six books in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy comedy science fiction "trilogy" by Douglas Adams (with the sixth being written by Eoin Colfer). The novel is an adaptation of the first four parts of Adams's radio series of the same name. The novel was first published in London on 12 October 1979.
The namesake of the novel is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a fictional guide book for hitchhikers (inspired by the Hitch-hiker's Guide to Europe) written in the form of an encyclopedia.
The book begins with contractors arriving at Arthur Dent's house, in order to demolish it to make way for a bypass. His friend, Ford Prefect, arrives while Arthur is lying in front of the bulldozers, to keep them from demolishing it. He tries to explain to Arthur that he is actually from a planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse and that the Earth is about to be demolished. The Vogons, an alien race, intend to destroy Earth to make way for a hyperspace bypass.
The two escape by hitching a lift on one of the Vogon demolition ships. This is, however, against Vogon regulations, and when the pair are discovered, they are tortured...