It’s been 42 years since ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide’ answered the ultimate question

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British author Douglas Adams, left, and Nick Landau read Adams’ book The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy in October 1979.

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While the series can parody life on a larger scale, it’s also moved fans on a personal level.

For Amit Oz, a chef in Hong Kong, the book helped him when he moved from Israel to China when he was young.

«The fact that life is just an adventure and the goal is to have fun. You’re there to make the most of what’s around you and be a good person while you do it,» Oz says. «And I think that’s grounding when your world is becoming an adventure.»

The chef’s favorite part of the Hitchhiker’s series is Milliways, the restaurant at the end of the universe where visitors can witness the reverse Big Bang as they enjoy a meal. The familiarity of food and dining in the books resonates with him.

«It’s funny because aliens from everywhere are coming in to do something that is very human, which is sit around and eat,» he says.

«If you are hitchhiking around the universe and you can sit down in a spaceship or on another planet and have some noodles with a friend, a new friend or an old friend, it suddenly doesn’t feel that distant or that far away or scary anymore.»

The influence of the Hitchhiker’s Guide «is everywhere,» says Marcus O’Dair, author of The Rough Guide to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

«We can see it in culture, where Adams’ story is rumoured to have inspired everything from the band Level 42 to comedy show The Kumars at No. 42,» he says. «We can see it in tech: in the real-life ‘knife that toasts,’ for instance, or in-ear translation services reminiscent of the Babel fish. The most visible sign of its ubiquity, though, might be the fact that we can celebrate its anniversary not at 40 or 50 years but at 42 — and everyone knows why.»

So no matter how you choose to celebrate, remember to bring your towel.

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