The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker’s Guide, #1)

ISBN: 0345391802
ISBN 13: 9780345391803
By: Douglas Adams

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Classics Currently Reading Fantasy Favorites Fiction Humor Sci Fi Science Fiction Scifi To Read

About this book

Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker's Guide ("A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have") and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox--the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod's girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.

Reader's Thoughts

Kate

Mostly harmless. That’s the entirety of the entry for Earth in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Of course, it hardly matters now, since Earth was destroyed half an hour ago to make way for a hyperspace express route. Now Arthur Dent is stuck on a stolen spaceship with the two-headed, three-armed President of the Universe, Zaphod Beeblebrox, and the girl he stole from right under Arthur’s nose. Arthur Dent is having a very bad day—and that’s even before he has to deal with the hypochondriac, suicidally depressed robot, Marvin.With no home to go back to—his house was demolished minutes before the Earth was vaporized—Arthur has no choice but to continue on his adventure. Before he’s finished, he’ll know three things—what is the meaning of life, which species was really in control on Earth, and that he should never, ever be without his towel.

Stephanie

I absolutely HATED this book. I usually read books before seeing the movie when it's released in theaters, and so I read this book. If there was a point in all his rambling disguised as prose, I missed it. Don't waste your time reading this book. And if possible, the movie was worse.

Emily May

This is not the best book ever written. It is unlikely to affect you on any deep emotional level and you probably won't spend sleepless nights just thinking about it.But it's a simple, humourous sci-fi adventure. It won't do something for everybody but I'm a massive fan of Douglas Adams' and his sense of humour. Come on, like it or not, Adams' has some awesomely quotable sayings (not all of these are from this exact book):"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move." "For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.""The Guide says there is an art to flying", said Ford, "or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.""A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools." "Would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?" "The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't."

Sally Linford

While it had some funny moments, even some clever moments, I can't recall any of them, and I can only remember this as one of the stupidest books I've ever read.

Tom

Another classic. If you don't like this series, you probably put your babel fish in the wrong hole. You are the reason that human beings are only the third most intelligent species on earth behind mice and dolphins. So long, and thanks for all the fish!

Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh

Wonderfully absurd. Rather than a review this is a sampling of the humour you can expect. You decide:)Concise: “The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't”Deep: “They discovered only a small asteroid inhabited by a solitary old man who claimed repeatedly that nothing was true, though he was later discovered to be lying.”Timeless:“And so the problem remained; lots of people were mean, and most were miserable, even the ones with digital watches.”Relevant:“This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which was odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.”

Henry Avila

Arthur Dent, is having a bad day, his home is being demolished. A new highway bypass is needed, progress you know, it's for his own good, so goodbye house. On the bright side(by the way), it does not matter. Earth too, will no longer be . The powers of the galaxy, have decided this little, insignificant, dull planet, at the edge of the Milky Way, must go! A byperspatial express route, is being built. Earth is in the path, no big deal, to the rest of the galaxy, just a few souls, will disappear . His friend drops by, Mr.Ford Prefect, and finds Arthur lying in the mud, in front of the bulldozers, and asks him what's new ? And can he go to the local pub, for a drink, they need to talk... Seems okay to Dent, but first, the intelligent man, gets a gentleman's solemn promise, from a bureaucrat(who shall remain nameless), that his house will still be standing. When he gets back! Even has Mr.Prosser, replace him in the dirt(I can never keep a secret). After a few drinks, which relaxes Arthur, Ford tell's his friend, that he's an alien from a planet, in the vicinity of the great star Betelgeuse, just 600 light-years away. Dent always thought Prefect was an eccentric man , but this being England, perfectly permissible. Goes on to explain, he's a researcher for something called, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". A weird sound emulates from the outside, disrupting this enlightening discussion. Arthur jumps up , runs out the door and sees that there are no more gentlemen, in the world. Home gone, but the over excited man , starts calling the wrecking crew, unkind names. Such language(I will not repeat them, in mixed company, besides this is a family site!). People should be , calm, always calm, nothing to be concerned about, remember you are English! Looking up, odd yellow streaks, in the sky, Dent wonders, Ford did say the Earth would be destroyed today , but he is strange...Stiff upper lip ...But something is occurring, though. Ford arrives and the noise level rises also...A short time later, the waking, Dent...Mr.Dent, comes to in the dark, in an alien spaceship , one of those that vaporized his not quite beloved planet, with Ford... Evil green, and very ugly aliens, the Vogons. Who like to torture people by reciting bad poetry, I mean really bad Vogon poetry, that captives welcome death, rather than listen to another word... Captain Jeltz, hates hitchhikers, and Ford had a devise, to enter the ship, secretly. But the clever friends , say that they loved the excruciating poem, of the captain's. Obvious lying, the angry poet, has the two rudely thrown off the craft, into space, without spacesuits. These aliens, are barbarians! They can hold their breaths for thirty seconds. A miracle, on the 29th second, they're saved by the President of the galaxy's stolen vessel. And the runaway politician(not exactly honest), Zaphod Beeblebrox, is on board, so is his two heads and three arms. With his girlfriend Trillian and Marvin, the paranoid robot(don't talk to it, he's very depressing, you would want to crush him, with your bare hands ). As the semi cousin(what's that?), of the president, Ford Prefect, is in luck. All the galaxy, are after the Heart of Gold, the new spaceship, that can cross the Milky Way, in a flash. On ship,the greedy, seek the legendary, lost and fabulously rich planet, Magratha. In the vastness of the whole endless Universe, everything's is possible, except an android like Marvin...Remember the Guide's motto, "Don't Panic"...

Mary Elizabeth

I was quite afraid I wouldn't take to the book considering how many people close to me -- as well as at parties -- would rage, rage, RAGE at my never having read Hitchhiker's Guide. What would the fallout be? Would I be shanked at the next party I went to if, when asked about my liking of the book, I were to shrug? Oh, the anxiety! But I'm happy to report I did like it. A lot, too, once the sperm whale and petunia chapter came up, and then all the more when the old world builder (or award-winning fjord artist) wandered in. And then I felt as if I might come to possibly have a crush on the book after Zaphod gave his monologue about how he thinks. The absurdity in the story and its world was of the specific kind I care about -- an absurdity that manages to parallel this world's absurdity but tinged with mystery, whimsy, and wonder, of course. It's the kind of absurdity that exists in the stupendous Doctor Who, which makes sense, and exists somewhat in Dead Like Me. I don't find much purpose for the other kind of absurdity. You know the kind, that ragged, empty, cold, fraught, and menacing absurdity that lives in the Batman's Joker and performance art projects by people with bold, asymmetrical hair cuts. Shudder. It's all right. I've found my way back. I'll now take joy in reading Chris's hefty and timeworn Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide, rather than approach it with the dread of potentially being shanked. Which is a good thing, no?

Jon

In my experience, readers either love Adams' books or quickly put them down. I, for example, quite literally worship the words Adams puts on the page, and have read the Hitchhiker's Trilogy so many times that I have large tracts of it memorized. But both my wife and father couldn't get past book one: the former because she found it too silly, and the latter because he found the writing to be more about "the author's personality" than plot and character. Whatever.The first three books in the Hitchhiker's Trilogy--The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, and Life, the Universe and Everything--are inspired lunacy. The ideas, plots, puns, jokes, and phrases that fill their pages have influenced an entire generation of not only writers, but people from all fields. For instance: the Babel Fish software that translates foreign websites for you is named after a species of fish that Adams created in book one; you can find dozens of recipes online for Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters; the chess computer Deep Thought that lost two matches to Gary Kasparov in 1989 was named after a computer in book one; and seriously, who hasn't heard that the answer to life, the universe, and everything is 42? (For more of these, consult wikipedia.org's entry on "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Cultural References".) Chances are, if you're reading these books for the first time, you'll be surprised to see how many everyday things were named after Adams' creations.The books aren't, of course, without their problems. Adams himself admitted that the Trilogy had, and I paraphrase, a long beginning, a long conclusion, and not much in the middle (though I can't remember where I read that). He was also regularly accused of writing for the sake of cranking out one-liners. The books as a whole jump about like a manic puppy on methamphetamines, and there are at least a few jokes in there that will completely fly over the heads of any readers who lack a basic comprehension of quantum physics. Despite this, the Hitchhiker's Trilogy remains as the single most entertaining and enjoyable series of books I've ever read--a position they've occupied for some fifteen years. Adams' wit and wisdom still baffle me in their greatness, and he remains to this day one of only two authors who can regularly, consistently make me howl with laughter (the other being Terry Pratchett). Readers beware: if the Adams bug infects you, you will have it for life. And you'll never be sorry you let it bite.

Lorenzo Berardi

Dear Isaac, Ray and Philip K,don't you think you're taking your job a bit too much seriously? Please, relax for a while. Listen, I've got this book called "The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy" to suggest you. Though I'm not sure you will appreciate it I think you should have a look at it.You will discover a new planet called sense of humour.Universally yours,Lorenzo

Emanuela

Negli anni settanta c'era una certa abitudine a fare l'autostop, come si dice: erano altri tempi. Si incontravano spesso ragazzi e ragazze con il pollice fuori o il cartello che indicava la direzione desiderata. Io allora ero teenager e con una mia amica, nell'estate del '73, ci siamo fatte scarrozzare in giro per l'Italia chiedendo passaggi, viaggiando su auto, camion e a volte facendo lunghi percorsi a piedi. La cosa non ci spaventava più di tanto perché così facevan tutti e lo stesso Bob Dylan invitava a fare l'esperienza: "How many roads must a man walk down...". Il Fattore di Improbabilità ci ha portate in cima al trampolino di salto con gli sci di Cortina d'Ampezzo e a dormire nella sala dei telefoni della stazione Termini di Roma, ma anche a regalare una sveglia ad un orologiaio di La Spezia. Situazioni strane.Gli eroi di Guida galattica per gli autostoppisti si trovano in situazioni altrettanto bizzarre, un po' più estreme delle mie oserei dire, catapultati, nel vero senso della parola, in Universi dove il Fattore di Improbabilità gioca in questo modo: Quelli che studiano la complessa interazione di cause ed effetti nella storia dell'Universo, dicono che questo genere di cose succede continuamente, ma che noi siamo impossibilitati ad impedirlo. -Così è la vita- dicono.Cercano qualcosa? No. Hanno uno scopo? No. Si pongono domande? No. Sono altri che hanno già una risposta da spendere a cui devono trovare a tutti i costi una domanda plausibile. I più saggi ritengono che quella di Dylan vada più che bene.Lettura divertente.

Chris

I picked this up at a book fair in seventh grade, which is the perfect time to stumble across the Hitchhiker trilogy (yes, trilogy; I deny the last 2 or three books), and the next week I was kicked out of independent reading because I was laughing so loud that I disturbed the others. I don't like a lot of wacky humour books (I can't stand "Good Omens"), but Douglas Adams has the perfect blend of over-the-top craziness and dead-pan ("the space-ships hung in the air exactly the way that bricks don't"). I spent the next four years driving my English teachers nuts by trying to write like him.

Alejandro

Please, before anything... DON'T PANIC. This review is harmless, well mostly harmless.I think that one of the things that one has to keep in mind while reading this book is that it was written in 1979. Having this important factor in perspective, it's quite astonishing the vision of Douglas Adams, the author, presenting a lot of visionary elements, starting with the very "book inside the book", I mean The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, since it's presented as an electronic book. which now it's a very common way to read a lot of books now. Also, he mentioned stuff like "touch-sensitive screens" that yet again, it's now something introduced in our daily lives. Science-Fiction, the good science fiction is defined by being visionary in the moment to be published and a fact, years later. Just like Verne's work predicting events like space rockets and nuclear submarines.The President of the Universe holds no real power. His sole purpose is to take attention away from where the power truly exists...Obviously, beside the mesmering tecnology stuff that he predicted, the signature style here is his remarkable sense of humor, smart sense of humor. In literature and pop culture in general, there were been unforgettable examples of computers like the cold HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey and the noble K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider, also robots like the loyal R2-D2 from Star Wars and the logical robots from I, Robot short story collection. However, nothing of that can prepare you to the experience of meeting "Eddie", the Main Computer of the Heart of Gold spaceship or Marvin, the Paranoid Android. This is one of the best traits of Douglas Adams' wit in the development of artificial intelligence. I wasn't surprised since some months ago, I read Shada by Gareth Roberts but based on the Doctor Who's unaired script written by Douglas Adams where you find another priceless example of a computer with a personality that only Adams is able to develop. You laugh and laugh with them BUT not only because they's funny but also they are truly logical as artifical intelligences in their way to react to situations. Adams' impact of how presenting artificial intelligence can be found too in another novel of Doctor Who, Festival of Death by Jonathan Morris, where the author showed how well he learned Adams' lessons.Resistance is useless!I believe that Douglas Adams' involvement in the production of the iconic British sci-fi TV series Doctor Who as script editor and writer of three stories, it was fated since I found remarkable similarities on the premises of both works, this novel and the TV series. Both has a peculiar fellow who stole certain machine and along with companions is travelling around. So, it wouldn't a surprise that he got some inspiration since Doctor Who was widely known since 1963 specially on its native country, England. Of course, his participation on another British TV institution like Monty Python's Flying Circus was a relevant point for Adams to explode his humoristic potential.To boldly split infinitives that no man had split before...It's possible that people unfamiliar with Adams' work could think that since this is a novel with comedy, they could think that it can't be a "serious" science-fiction book. However, the brilliance of this novel is its capacity of offering smart humor while using scientific concepts like the theory of faster-than-light objects. Even you won't be able to fight against his priceless explanation behind the UFOs' sightings.Without spoiling anything, I think that my only reason of getting off a star in my rating of this great novel was its lacking a proper closure. I understand that this the first book in a trilogy of five books (yes, you read correctly, it wasn't a mistake) so the adventures and mysteries will continue in the second book The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. However, it was quite unsettling when you are having the time of your life reading it and the book just stopped to have words. I describe it like that since I didn't feel an ending. It was indeed just like the impossibility of not finding more words in the book. What I can give to Adams is that that was quite improbable but in my opinion, quite unlikely way to just "ending" this book. Certainly I want to read the rest of this great trilogy of five books. (Yes, yet again, it isn't a mistake)

Manny

They stumbled out of the Heart of Gold and looked around them. It was very quiet among the tall buildings. The ground was covered with brightly-colored objects that, from a distance, looked a little like paperback novels. Trillian picked one up."It's a paperback novel!" she said, surprised. "Long Hard Ride, by Lorelei James." She flipped through it. "Hm, who'd have thought that the late inhabitants of Frogstar Z would have been into women's erotica?"She picked up some more. "Be With Me, by Maya Banks... Dangerous Secrets, by Lisa Marie Rice... A Little Harmless Pleasure, by Melissa Schroeder. They're all women's erotica!The rest of this review is in my book What Pooh Might Have Said to Dante and Other Futile Speculations

Melina

I read this book about 51,017 times when I was in seventh grade. I wore my copy out. That was a time in my life when I very much would have preferred to belong to some alien species, trapped here through no fault of my own. Also: "The ships hung in the air in much the same way that bricks don't." How can you improve on writing like that? Q: What's so bad about being drunk?A: Just ask a glass of water. ahhh, good times.

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