Mostly Harmless (Hitchhiker’s Guide, #5)

ISBN: 0345418778
ISBN 13: 9780345418777
By: Douglas Adams

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About this book

The fifth book in the increasingly inaccurately named The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy.Douglas Adams is back with the amazing, logic-defying, but-why-stop-now fifth novel in the Hitchhiker Trilogy. Here is the epic story of Random, who sets out on a transgalactic quest to find the planet of her ancestors. Line drawings.

Reader's Thoughts

Ana Méndez

Buena serie! Los primeros tres me parecieron los mejores, el resto no fueron tan buenos, aunque también tuvieron lo suyo y el final del último libro no me gustó para nada. Me pareció que terminó a destiempo y de malas.Ford fue durante todos los libros mi personaje favorito. Las mejores partes de la serie en general tienen a Ford y Arthur. Este último libro es el que me pareció menos bueno que el resto. Los mejores libros de la serie son los primeros dos (o tres)Como sea, toda la serie me pareció genial, bastante divertida y fluida. Muy recomendable sobre todo para personas que disfruten del humor inglés.

Ivonne Rovira

Sadly, the five-part Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy “trilogy” ends not with a bang, but a whimper. With four storylines — displaced earthman Arthur Dent, reckless Hitchhiker’s Guide correspondent Ford Prefect; Trillian, the earth woman once named Tricia McMillan who dumped Arthur at a party to go into space with Zaphod Beeblebrox, and Tricia McMillan in a parallel universe where she stayed on earth — Mostly Harmless reads like a frenzied ride on the bumper cars, with storylines beginning and starting almost at random.In addition, Arthur Dent returns to his whiny and mostly dazed persona that made him insufferable in Life, the Universe and Everything, and while all four storylines eventually converge, the denouement simply isn’t that satisfying. Take my advice: Stop after the fourth book, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, and end on a high note.


Dei libri che compongono questa "trilogia in cinque volumi" Praticamente innocuo è sicuramente il più dismesso e malinconico. Le parti con Ford Prefect sono sempre piuttosto scoppiettanti, ma anche lui si lascia andare a nostalgiche fantasie sul periodo in cui la Guida era ancora in stadio embrionale, e sui suoi sogni perduti e mai realizzati. Arthur Dent vola di paese in paese cercando disperatamente qualcosa di familiare e quando gli pare di averlo trovato viene raggiunto da Trillian che mette in moto una serie di eventi inevitabili che infrangono la sua precaria serenità. Tricia (nella dimensione alternativa) rimpiange la sua occasione con Zaphod mentre Trillian (nella dimensione in cui accettò l'invito di Zaphod) è comunque insoddisfatta e malinconica. L'atmosfera nostalgica dona al romanzo, che ne guadagna in coerenza, finale incluso. Passate le mattane dei primi due volumi e le incertezze dei due successivi, mi sembra che questo sia quasi un romanzo maturo. E in ogni caso, "qualunque cosa che accade, accade".

MJ Nicholls

I read an excerpt of this in a shop last week and audibly chuckled on every half-glanced page. I felt compelled to write a few words in its defense. This beautifully melancholy book is oft-panned, and pointlessly, as Adams is at the peak of his sardonic savagery and ingenious brain wizardry in this bleak end to the trilogy of five. I love his riffing on New York and the dreamy pathos of the whole book. I must read it again.


The Hitchhiker's Guide Trilogy is like looking through a magnifying glass, then a microscope, and at the end of it, an electron microscope. The scope transforms, yet a linear narrative of sorts is present. I highly doubt Adams had the ending of this "trilogy" mapped out when he started out with the first book. The ending is probably fitting, but if you're at all human, you won't like it.


(mild spoilers ahead)It's terribly amusing that the majority of reviewers have tossed this fifth part to the trilogy aside, banished it from their mental schemata of the series so as to acknowledge only that which ends well. I think it says a lot about the readership that they took in the entirety of the first four books without picking up on the melancholy and nihilistic subtext to Adams' writing. I mean, the first book ends with the discovery that the meaning of life is 42.... how much clearer does it need to be in order convey the ultimately meaningless adventure that Adams saw life in this universe to be? More importantly, at what point did that fact ever stop him from telling a spectacular story?It is the journey, more than the end, that defines us and the worlds we live in. I think Arthur's encounter with the man on the pole in Hawalius can be taken as a pre-emptive response to those who would invariably decry the novel to be "too bleak": humans seek to be protected from knowing the things we don't want to know about, and it leads us to miss a great deal of understanding, experience, and acceptance, sometimes with dire psychological consequences. A reader may not want to know how the story of Arthur and his companions ultimately ends, or how any story that goes on long enough must end, but it's a blind and willful ignorance that serves no purpose but to save us seeing reality, in all its complicated and multidimensional depth of cause and effect and pure probability.Personally, I found this book to be a brilliant and thought-provoking conclusion to a sharp, touching, and gloriously honest series. The ending of the novel, with Arthur at peace and Ford laughing wildly, is the most honest part yet. I pity any reader who doesn't get that.


I don't rate many books with a 5. I think the Hitchhiker books are brilliant in the way I believe Ron Wesley means something is brilliant that he is referring to in the Harry Potter books.Memory is a bit hazy because I am getting a little long in the tooth. But, I first heard about "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" in 1981 or 1982 when I was a freshman at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo. I had a friend who enthused about it. I don't remember if he carried on about the book before or after he got his handwritten letter from Douglas Adams. Regardless, my friend had written Douglas Adams a fan letter because he had loved the book so much. And Adams responded with a handwritten response (It was at least 2 pages, maybe 3 or 4 long)because my friend's letter had been the first fan letter he had ever received.Well, I had never heard of the book, and wasn't even interested in looking at the letter because my friend was in the habit of enthusing about things that ended up leaving me disappointed.But, I did read "Hitchhikers". I thought it was Okay, and have often wondered if I didn't see what was there just because I was digging my heels in, or what. When it came out I skimmed "Restaurant". Owned a copy of the 3rd book and never read it.About 10 years ago I reread "Hitchhikers" a couple of times and was finally won over. I think it is brilliant but could not bring myself to return tot he trough for the rest of the books.A few months ago my 14-year-old borrowed my copy, wanted me to check out the rest of the books for her and she recommended that I read them. Well, what else do you do other than read the rest of the books.I will happily admit that my friend was right, I was wrong. I would eat crow if I could read the words on that letter. I know, I know...there are probably real Adams fans out there who would salivate over this story.Me, when I heard about Adams' death all of those years ago, after his phenomenal success, I was sorry that he was finished. I also thought about my friend and his great good fortune, though, I am positive he would have traded it for the great man getting to live a few more decades.

Crosly Anderson

Let me just say that 'Mostly Harmless' totally shocked me out of my chair.I read the first four books and pretty much loved the humor, storytelling and not to mention the characters.Some new characters are made in 'Mostly Harmless', and if I had to choose a favorite new character, it would be Random. Random as in her name IS LITERALLY RANDOM.The irony of the whole story made me really, really excited. The whole tale goes in a roundabout of time and space and ends up where we started.The ending was totally mind blowing. i couldn't believe it. If you read it, you'll know what I mean.Bravo, Douglas Adams!!!! You have done the improbable--to break my heart and make me sob at the end. Only very few books have manged to make me cry at the end(e.g: Artemis Fowl book 8, Sarah's Key...)Lots of irony and lots of very funny jokes, RECOMMENDED!!!And the reason why I gave it four stars?DO YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW?Spoiler alert..(view spoiler)[Because every single main character died at the end. (hide spoiler)]:) Even though the books over, I still go hitchhiking the universe with my trusty towel.Good luck to all you!!And remember.THE UNIVERSE IS A LOT SAFER IF YOU HAVE A TOWEL WITH YOU.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>


Carefully read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, then imagine that the most horrible, depressing conclusion possible to the whole affair could happen. That is what happens in Mostly Harmless. It wraps every loose end up most completely, but it wraps things up the way a car compactor packages your favorite vehicle. The atrocities the author commits towards his characters in this book significantly impact my enjoyment of the rest of the series. The first few pages start out depressing and it just gets worse until by the end it left me aghast and in tears -- and not in the way good books do that to me. It is single-handedly the most depressing book I've ever read, in part because the first four books create such an engaging, likable universe filled with delightful characters.There's a theme of loss laced through this book. It goes from the sudden loss of someone you care about, to losing your child's youth through over-work, to losing even more. (I won't spoil it.) It's a depressing theme. It isn't something the character learns from, or grows through. It is just loss and pain and misery.Do yourself a favor and avoid this book.

Gina Denny

I'm not sure if I'm better off having read the essays by Gaiman and Adams about how these books came to be. I feel like knowing Adams' story gives me insight into why the books are uneven, but then I'm not sure if that's a really great thing to know... Whatever. These books are satire at its finest, even when the books themselves don't make a ton of sense. PARENTAL ADVISORIES (For the overall series, since I didn't do reviews for the in-between books)Sex 1/5: Vague allusions to personal relationships or to the existence of prostitutes. Language 3/5: This one was really difficult. I think there are 3 f-bombs in the entire series (five books plus a short story), and maybe five other PG-level swears throughout the whole thing. So there's very, very, very little swearing, but when one does pop up, it's kind of a bad one. Violence 2/5: It's all cartoony-spaceship kind of violence. No combat, no gore. Substance Abuses 1/5: Some social drinking, mentions of hallucinogenic drugs.

David Waterman

The sixth and final (and perhaps my favorite) installment of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, "Mostly Harmless" mirrors the story of the first four books in that Arthur Dent, who has finally found a place that is comfortable for him, is once again ripped from his comfort zone and thrown into another harrowing situation. This isn't just Arthur's story though. The other main characters pertinent to the story at this point in the timeline are slowly and inexorably drawn towards each other although they don't realize it. What most impresses me about this book is the subtlety by which it directs all of the open-ended questions and plot points of the story steadily towards each other. The culmination of this book is so profoundly unexpected that I actually had to take time to recover from it. This final book alone makes the rest of the series worth reading.

Brandon Collinsworth

Well I would be remiss if I did not mention the ending before anything else. First of all this isn't technically the ending of the series, Douglas Adams just died before he wrote anymore Hitchhiker books, that being said this makes this the series ending for all intents and purposes. So with that in mind this is the worst ending of a series that could have ever possibly been conceived. In truth this shouldn't have been the ending of a book. If you are the kind of person that is all about the ending. Then this book will infuriate you. But the book is better than So Long and Thanks for All the Fish. Adams deals with the problems of that book from the outset, and they are all gone maybe not so cleanly. There are two things wrong here, first anytime you add children to a book, movie, or tv show things are going bad. And the kid is not going to correct it. Usually what happens is what happens here the kid is an annoying distraction that drives off the few hardcore fans that have stuck around. Luckily the kid doesn't stick around for the whole story, but Random, the kid's name, is just as annoying as Fenchurch, Arthur's love interest from So Long. Second, this goes to the heart of the serious. I think the problem is Douglas Adams lost his vision for clever and witty social commentary. It was just not in the last two books of the series. The stories were okay, but lacked that cutting wit that makes you laugh at the world. I will always have fond memories of this series, but they would have been fonder if I had stopped after Life, The Universe, and Everything. And that is what I am recommending to everyone.


I feel like the bad guy after a break-up. It's not that this book was terrible, but I gave up after reading 2/3 of it. I started my relationship with the book without a lot of trust - the reviews I've read and heard have been overwhelmingly negative, and I really disliked the previous book in the series. But I figured that maybe my friends were all wrong, and no one could appreciate the book but me, and I just needed to give it some time. And then it let me down. It's not that it did anything all that wrong - the characters were more frustrating than ever, I think there were alternate reality things happening that were on a slow burn, there were a few ill-advised action sequences, and Adams kept forgetting to make it funny, but nothing was offensively awful on its own. I just lost hope. The first two books were so wonderful, and I devoured them with giddy joy, then I had to put a little more effort into liking the third book, and it paid off, then the fourth book let me down, and finally this last book kept failing to meet even my low expectations. Maybe the last third of it is genius, and Random becomes a character I can like even a little, but I didn't see any signs of that in the pages I read, and I'm going home as a quitter. Sorry, Mostly Harmless, it's not you, it's me. Except it's you too.

Nathan Mathews

Blechh! Worst. Ending. Ever! I've heard that Douglas Adams wrote this book during a bad time in his life (hey, we all have 'em), but this book more or less stinks. I have chosen to forget that this book was ever written, and that the series ended on a definite high note with "So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish". Those of you who have not had your minds poisoned with this bit of tripe would do well to skip it altogether.


Being the fifth book in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I was hoping to get a few laughs as I did with the other books in the series but unfortunately I was a tad let down in that department. I didn’t really laugh at all. I just felt that Mostly Harmless had a more serious tone to it.I thought that Mostly Harmless was an alright book. It had some interesting parts but for the most part it just didn’t capture my attention too much. I also got a bit confused by the parallels in the book because I wasn’t sure what was going on. I managed to get my head around it toward the very end of the book.It was good to see a new character in the series, Random, who is rather random and quite a surprise.I don’t have much else to say about Mostly Harmless. I thought it was quite an interesting story but I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I did any of the other books in the series. If you’ve read the other books in the series, however, this one is worth reading to finish the series.

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