Sci-fi, Monty Python-style--as West England villager Arthur Dent becomes the only survivor of Earth, rescued by Ford Prefect of Betelgeuse, a roving researcher for The Hitchhiker's Guide: when Earth is destroyed (demolished by the Vogons to make way for a hyperspatial express route), the two of them escape into a Vogon spaceship. The hideous Vogons torture our heroes by reading poetry to them, but then they're miraculously picked up by the Starship Heart of Gold--which is powered by "the Infinite Improbability Drive," commanded by Galactic President Zaphod Beeblebrox, and staffed by an epically depressed robot named Marvin with a smart-aleck computer that sings "You'll Never Walk Alone." They're all headed for the legendary planet Magrathea, where roaming Arthur discovers Slartibartfast, the guy who originally made Earth ("Norway. . . that was one of mine. Won an award, you know. Lovely crinkly edges") and is now working on Earth Mark Two. And finally there's a confrontation with the Magrathea rulers--Benjy mouse and Frankie mouse--who want to mince Arthur's Earthling brain. Lots of pure silliness, too many English references for U.S. readers, but--like moviegoers who sat through Life of Brian for the sake of a few good chuckles--fans of absurd deadpan parody will happily flip through this likable send-up in order to extract a couple of dozen fine giggles.