The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Starting in December 2017, Mythgard Academy will present a free seminar series on the The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the quintessential humorous science fiction novel by Douglas Adams. Despite a popular and persistent rumor, Dr. Corey Olsen will not spend 42 weeks on this book (though, he may spend 42 minutes on each slide), nor are we moving the weekly chats to Thursdays.

This book represents an expansion into the realm of classic science fiction novels studied in the Mythgard Academy, including Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed, Frank Herbert’s Dune, and Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. In addition, it is the first primarily humorous book we are exploring as part of this series. Another first for the Academy is the exploration of a book that was not originally a book! First aired as a radio BBC broadcast in 1978, The Hitchhiker’s Guide is a lesson in the growth of a multimedia franchise from a time before such franchises really existed. It has been adapted into various formats including (of course) novels, television shows, films, and even a computer game. And who doesn’t love playing the ever popular 42 puzzle?

Hitchhiker’s Guide tells the story of life, the universe and everything, focusing in particular on the adventures of a man named Arthur Dent, who wakes up on a particularly hapless Thursday and winds up becoming an unwitting (and sometimes unwitful) traveler throughout space and time, leaving the Earth behind to be destroyed as part of a Vogon public works project. Fearing that we’ve already spoiled the story by giving away too many details, we will leave off there and let you read the rest of this tragic tale of intergalactic errantry on your own.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

Mythgard Academy welcomes all attendees at no charge. Each week during the seminar, the first 100 participants will be able to attend live. Don’t worry if you can’t join us live, though – you can access the recordings for no charge on our iTunes U course and on the Signum University YouTube channel.

These sessions on speculative works are made possible due to the generosity of Mythgard Institute supporters. Those who contribute can vote for which books we explore in our discussions. In 2017, we have continued our journey through The History of Middle-earth series with two volumes, Return of the Shadow and The Treason of Isengard, and pausing for a brief interstice to discuss … well, life, the universe, and everything … with the condemned Boethius in The Consolation of Philosophy.

Hitchhiker’s Guide was chosen by the newest iteration of the Council of the Wise under 2018 rules. I’m excited to see us looking at more science fiction before we get back to the steady progress through the HoME series with War of the Ring in the new year. If you want to be a part of the nomination and voting process for the books we look at after these two, visit our annual fund page to join the Council today!
– Dr. Corey Olsen

Participation Welcome!

To help participants support each other, Mythgard provides the following interaction opportunities:

  • A live chatroom is available at the bottom right of this page where you can converse with other session attendees in real time.
    • There is a little icon on the bottom left pane of the chat widget to open the chat in a separate window, which you should find useful.
  • Also, we have a Mythgard Academy forum where donors can discuss topics related to this seminar. (Registration required.)

Also, please “like” the Mythgard Academy Facebook page and follow us on Twitter to get updates and reminders about each session. If you live-tweet the discussions, please use the hashtag #MythAcademy.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is available on Amazon.


The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy discussions will be held on Wednesdays at 10:00 pm Eastern Time

Week 1: On the Construction of Bypasses

Read: Preface – Chapter 3
Attend: November 29, 2017

Week 2: Abroad in the Galaxy

Read: Chapters 4-7
Attend: December 6, 2017

Week 3: The Heart of Gold

Read: Chapters 8-14
Attend: December 13, 2017

Week 4: The Economists’ Myth

Read: Chapters 15-24
Attend: December 20, 2017

No session on December 27: Merry Christmas!

Week 5: 42

Read: Chapters 25-35
Attend: January 3, 2018

No session on January 10: Corey will be traveling to TexMoot!

Week 6: Bonus Book Discussion

Read: Whatever you haven’t read yet
Attend: January 17, 2018

Week 7: The Origin Story

Listen: 1978 BBC Broadcasts, Episodes 1-4 – available at Amazon (and possibly elsewhere)
Attend: January 24, 2018

Choose Future Seminar Topics

Do you want to support the work that the Institute does for fantasy and other imaginative literature? Would you like to help choose the books we discuss in future seminars? Donate today!