The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Ideas for Reports and Papers
by Douglas Adams

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Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Much of the technology described in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as being science fiction is now part of our daily lives. Pick one of these three inventions—digital watches, hydroboats (vehicles which hover above water without touching it), and virtual reality games—and research the development of it.

2. Adams has described his main character, Arthur Dent, as a semi-autobiographical character. Research the real life accomplishments of Adams and discover the similarities between the author and Arthur.

3. Just about the only action Arthur Dent ever initiates takes place in the first chapter when he lies down in front of the bulldozer. Research at least one person who advocated initiated passive resistance in modern history. Relate the circumstances which inspired it, and discuss the results of the disobedience.

4. Ford Prefect's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was published on a "sub meson electronic component." Investigate electronic publishing today, including the contemporary Rocketbook, and the arguments for and against this form of publishing.

5. Carl Sagan was a controversial scientist. Compare his views of the origin of the universe to those given in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

6. For inventing the Infinite Improbability Drive a student scientist is awarded the Galactic Institute's Prize for Extreme Cleverness. Pick a Nobel Prize winner in one of the science or medicine categories. Research what contribution or discovery earned him or her such renown.

7. Marvin is a robot of unique qualities. Compare and contrast his capabilities, personality, and programmed functions to other famous robots such as Robby the Robot of "Lost in Space" television fame, R2D2 and C3PO of the "Star Wars" movies, or Hal in Stanley Kubrick's film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

8. Investigate references in the Gospels that Adams parodies when Deep Thought announces it is only the second largest computer in the universe.

9. Read selections from the "Monty Python" television scripts and the books of Jonathan Swift and Kurt Vonnegut. Compare and contrast Adams to each of them.

10. Obtain The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in radio script and/or television script form. Compare and contrast the effectiveness of these forms to the book.