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Young Zaphod Plays it Safe

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Young Zaphod Plays it Safe is a novella by Douglas Adams set in his The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy universe. It doesn't appear as a standalone work, but is included with several collections. It first appeared in The Utterly Utterly Merry Comic Relief Christmas Book (1986) which Adams also co-edited. It also appears in the UK edition of The Salmon of Doubt and has recently been reprinted in US versions of The Hitchiker's Guide Omnibus, albeit in a slightly altered form.

The story is a prequel to the events in The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy and has the young Zaphod Beeblebrox working as a salvage ship operator. He guides some bureaucrats to a crashed spaceship which may be leaking some hazardous materials. The bureaucrats are determined to "make it safe". The comic asides in the story include some of the time travel paradoxes which are a common running theme in Adams' SF work, and plenty of material about lobsters.

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