Secondary Character Saturday — Ford Prefect (Hitchhiker’s Guide)

Ford and Arthur

Ford Prefect and Arthur Dent in the TV series.

Who: Ford Prefect

From: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy cover art

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy cover art (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Written by: Douglas Adams

Date of Publication: The BBC Radio 4 series started running in 1978; The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (book) was published in 1979. Ford has appeared in all the subsequent Hitchhiker books. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (1980), Life, the Universe and Everything (1982), So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (1984) Mostly Harmless (1992) and And Another Thing… (2009) [The last book was written by Eoin Colfer of Artemis Fowl fame.]

Why: Ford is cool. He’s a good friend to have around when needing a lift from a flying saucer, or, in general, when exploring space for the first time. Ford Prefect is a roving researcher for “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” After a decade and a half research period (he was stranded on Earth for 15 years) he succeeded in expanding the Guide’s entry for Earth form “Harmless” to “Mostly harmless.”

He was not conspicuously tall, his features were striking but not conspicuously
handsome. His hair was wiry and gingerish and brushed backwards
from the temples. His skin seemed to be pulled backwards from the nose.
There was something very slightly odd about him, but it was dicult to say
what it was. Perhaps it was that his eyes didn’t blink often enough and
when you talked to him for any length of time your eyes began involuntarily
to water on his behalf. Perhaps it was that he smiled slightly too broadly
and gave people the unnerving impression that he was about to go for their
neck. [Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams, Ballantine Books,  pg 10]

Pros: He’s persuasive, friendly, he’s always prepared with his copy of the guide and a bath towel. He’s quick thinking

Cons: Can’t recognize sarcasm, somewhat self-absorbed.

Mos Def played Ford in the 2005 movie version of the novel.

Mos Def played Ford in the 2005 movie version of the novel.

Ford is a great foil to Arthur Dent’s very human character. Where Arthur freaks out (justifiably) Ford calmly goes with the flow — for the most part. So those moments when Ford fails to follow the Guide’s first rule (“Don’t Panic”) it’s all the more fun for the reader.

In the unlikely happenstance that you have not read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy here it is as a pdf… h2g2

Clicking HERE will take you to the Amazon page where you can get a Kindle version for $7.99, or various print and audio versions.


About ritalovestowrite

Freelance writer, graphic designer, musician, foodie and Jane Austen enthusiast in Northern Baltimore County, Maryland. As a writer I enjoy both fiction and non fiction (food, travel and local interest stories.) As an advocate for the ARTS, one of my biggest passions is helping young people find a voice in all the performing arts. To that end it has been my honor to give one-on-one lessons to elementary, middle and high school students in graphic design and music. And as JANE-O I currently serve as the regional coordinator for JASNA Maryland and am working on a Regency/Federal cooking project. View all posts by ritalovestowrite

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