This book contains five books and a short story. Below is a summary of each book:
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy
Arthur Dent is having a very bad day. When he wakes up there is a man from the county council at his home to inform him that he has a bulldozer there to demolish his house to make way for a bypass, his friend, Ford Prefect, announces that he is really an alien “from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse,” and then the Earth is unexpectedly demolished to make way for a hyperspace express route.
But, not to worry for Dent and Prefect manage to make their escape onboard one of the alien spacecraft and are soon tossed out an airlock only to be picked up by a passing spacecraft piloted by Ford’s semi-cousin and the only human woman left alive aboard a ship powered by the Infinite Improbability Drive, a ship that can make seemingly impossible things happen… like being picked up by Ford’s semi-cousin and the last human woman just moments before dying in the vacuum of space.
Soon, they are all on their way to Magrathea, a planet that, eons ago, engaged in the trade of making other luxury planets, where Arthur learns something quite shocking. There the gang to try to find the Ultimate Question Of Life, The Universe, And Everything and to try to figure out just why Zaphod (Ford’s Semi-Cousin) scrambled his brain.
The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe
This novel picks up right where The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy left off. The gang has left the planet Magrathea trying to escape from Vogons trying to finish the job of demolishing the Earth by killing Arthur Dent and Trillian.
They run into Zarniwoop van Harl who works in the offices of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy and sets Zaphod the task of figuring out who really runs the universe. Our adventurers manage to escape from him and end up at Milliways, The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe, which has been projected through time to the literal end of the universe so that people can go and enjoy it with dinner and a show.
On the way out they steal Disaster Area’s stunt ship only to find that will put them into greater peril. So, they try to escape with Zaphod and Trillian landing back on the Heart Of Gold and Ford and Arthur landing on a strange ship full of cold bodies. Where they soon make some more startling discoveries.
Life, The Universe, And Everything
Living on a primitive planet is something that Arthur Dent has gotten quite used to and then Ford Prefect has to show up and pull him into a time space eddy where they land on Earth a few days before its destruction and are attacked by a squad of robots. Then, they are rescued by Slartibartfast where he reveals that the robots are from the planet Krikkit. A planet which was cut off from the rest of the universe due to a thick dust cloud and the inhabitants never knew about the existence of the universe until a spaceship crashed on their planet and they decided the rest of the universe “would have to go.”
They very nearly obliterated the rest of the universe until they were locked on their planet… And now there is the threat of them escaping to start it all again. Naturally, the only ones Slartibartfast can think of to save the universe are Ford and Arthur.
So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish
Arthur has been aimlessly hitchhiking his way across the galaxy when he lands on a planet that oddly enough seems to be the Earth… but it was destroyed by the Vogons.
Apparently, on this Earth everyone believes the Vogons were just a “mass hallucination” and oddly enough all the dolphins have disappeared leaving every human a fish bowl that has an inscription that reads, “So long, and thanks for all the fish.”
Arthur meets a girl named Fenchurch who does not believe in the “mass hallucination” theory and they go to investigate what happened to the dolphins. They come across Wonko The Sane a man who believes the rest of the world is insane and has built his house inside out in order to keep the rest of the world in “The Asylum.”
Soon. The pair is off with Ford and the others to try and find out what “God's Final Message to His Creation” says.
After everything that happened in So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish Arthur decides to take Fenchurch around the galaxy when she suddenly just disappears while sitting next to Arthur. So, he settles on a planet and becomes a “sandwich maker.” There he learns he has a daughter with Trillan because she impregnated herself using his DNA.
Meanwhile, Ford goes back to the offices of The Guide only to discover that there has been a takeover and someone is planning something dreadfully evil. So, he has to try and find Arthur and Trillian so they can prevent it.