Just grab a towel and relax because this review has 'Don't Panic' written on it!
I believe that the Hitchhiker's Guide has been a very famous and well known SF-classic for years now. Among my friends there are multiple running jokes concerning The Question of Life, Universe and Everything, dolphins and a sperm whale.
I remember that, as a kid, I used to translate stuff into English with a translate machine called Babelfish (It was a shitty translator, even compared with Google Translate meagre translations). I never knew why it was called like this, until I read this book.
So many things became clear. Just in order to 'get' the jokes I would recommend this book. But it is so much more. Some things have become funny, even though they weren't meant to be (like all this stuff over - OMG só state of the art - Digital watches (no, they didn't have a WIFI connection or anything fancy)).
This, and so much more. When I was reading it, there were many scenes I had to read multiple times, because people wanted to know just why I was laughing so hard.
Note: There used to be a Dutch radio show of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Dutch readers may find it interesting to know that Ford was called Amro Bank! =)
Note: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is part 1 in the Hitchhiker's Guide Series by Douglas Adams. (A sixth instalment has been written after Adams' death by Eion Colfer (known for Artemis Fowl))