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.Donster
This just might be the most over-rated book ever. Don't get me wrong; I liked it and thought it was funny. Clever and funny, in fact. But that's all it was. A surprisingly large number of people seem to think this is The Greatest Book Ever Written, or something close to it. In fact, it's funny at a high school level (meaning rather puerile), and clever only in its use of absurdity, but Adams doesn't really have anything deep or important to say. It's also somewhat diminished by multiple, increasingly stale sequels that are pretty much carbon copies of the original. Douglas Adams was very much a one trick pony. My brother sometimes describes immature adults as "the kind of people who still think Douglas Adams is really funny when they're 40". He's right. Twenty years after reading this book it just isn't that great anymore. It's just silly. And there's nothing wrong with silly, it's just not what great literature is made from. So go ahead, read the Hitchhiker's Guide. Laugh out loud and enjoy it. But don't expect too much. Shakespeare, it isn't. It's not even Vonnegut.Alan
Absolute genius. His deliberate construction of interesting, often grammatically tortuous, always rewarding prose was fantastic.I listened to the radio series.I bought the books.I taped the radio series and listened endlessly; especially to the second series.I bought the LPs!I bought the Marvin the Paranoid Android single!!I did NOT like the TV series; maybe the technology wasn't up to itI liked the film.I liked the fact that every single version was different!!Marvin
Written for the Celebrity Death Match Review Elimination TournamentThe Bout: The Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy vs. The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie-The-PoohZaphod Beeblebrox: Trillian! Start up the Infinite Improbability Drive!Trillian: Infinite Improbability Drive is on!Zaphod: Anything Improbable yet?Arthur Dent: A odd fat yellow bear with a honey pot has just materialized in front of us. How interesting.Trillian: How Cute!Ford Prefect: Why, the odds of that happening is 678,999,999 billion to one.Arthur: Now a purple dinosaur has appeared. O My God! He's eating the bear!Trillian: EWWW!Zaphod: And what is the odds of that happening?Ford: About 756 Billion Trillion to one.Zaphod: I knew I should have visited my bookie today.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."midnightfaerie
The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams is in a class all by itself. I have never read anything like it, and for that reason alone I recommend it. A science fiction comedy, it’s about a man’s adventures after being taken from earth by an alien. Not being a big fan of science fiction, I can say that it’s an easy read comparitively when looking at other typical science fiction. I loved the humor and sarcastic wit of the characters and the pure silliness of it. I usually have a hard time remembering all the weird names and places in science fiction books, but this was easy to follow. With a cult-like following, this book has a huge fan base and after reading it, it’s not hard to see why. Even for those who don’t like science fiction, I implore you to give it a try. You might be surprised. Because it is like nothing I’ve ever read and tops the list in it’s genre, I would put this on my “to be considered a classic” list. ClassicsDefined.comTina
Original post at One More PageWhen I was new with my current job, one of my colleagues told me about his favorite book, one that, according to him, made him laugh like a crazy loon by himself. I didn't really take note of it, since our reading genres were very different, and even when he lent me a copy of the book, I still didn't give much thought about it. When I first met my new friends at the book club, I saw one of them carry this big black book that looks like a dictionary...or a Bible, even. Just like that, I found myself encountering that same book again.Of course, I still didn't read it, because I just wasn't interested. But ever since we started a 100 Favorite Books list in our book club, and ever since we all decided to discuss books face to face, I had run out of excuses. After years and years of not paying attention to the book, I finally picked up a copy and read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.How do I describe what this book without spoiling things, or without thinking everything I am writing is absolutely ridiculous is a bit of a problem, so I will just not write about that. Instead, I'll write about what this book has: the end of the world. Oh, but not the Mayan kind with natural disasters. There's also a poor guy who just happened to be at one place at a certain time who may not be so poor now because he practically becomes the last human being everywhere. And then there were aliens. Spaceships, too. And finally, the Ultimate Question. Or, not.My friend was right, though -- this book was very funny. I found myself giggling every now and then to this book, often times while I was on my commute to work or some other place. I've always been wary about sci-fi stuff because I feel like my brain cannot comprehend much of it, but I found The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy quite readable even if it was absolutely absurd at some point. Maybe that's really the point.It's funny, yes, but I didn't really find it absolutely hilarious. It's good, but I don't really have the urge to get the next ones and read it immediately (although they did say it gets better there). I enjoyed it, but perhaps not quite as much as my friends enjoyed it.However, I did enjoy discussing this book with my book club over breakfast. With questions about favorite characters, what we'll do in case the world ends and if we'll allow ourselves to have a babel fish (of course - very useful for travel!). Having a group of friends to discuss a book about in detail makes me like the book a little bit more, possibly because I tend to associate the memories with the book.Goodreads Filipino Group - Face to Face Book Discussion # 3 (Photo c/o Kwesi)And because it had to be commented: what kind of answer is 42, anyway?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?Robert
I once believed I was an alien life form, albeit I was in third grade at the time, and thus subject to the ramifications of peer pressure, which sometimes contradicts common sense. Having watched enough cartoons, along with enough animated movies and not so animated ones, I even resorted to the beep-beep noise used by The Road Runner and unintelligent Martians. It was not one of my prouder moments, but looking back on it now, probably showed my ability to suspend disbelief, and helped sprout the seeds of my imagination. Since then, I’ve developed the spine of a porcupine, I can spit nails, and I have the hard exterior shell of a Plexiglas spacecraft, so I guess the cycle is complete and all is right with the cosmos.But there are definite glitches in our universe, as evidenced in THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY. First, we have the demolishment of the Earth for a galactic freeway or hyperspace bypass. We find out our intelligence level has been exceeded by mice and dolphins, and that dolphins tried to warn us multiple times of our impending doom, but gave up when their form of communication was not acknowledged and accepted our offerings of fish instead. Ford Prefect is alive and well, is not to be confused with the failed Ford model, and in multiple cases, his intelligence exceeds that of the protagonist, Arthur Dent. The plot becomes a bit discombobulated and farfetched at times and sometimes powered by the Infinite Improbability Drive, but that only adds to the wackiness and pleasure of the overall experience.Even towels are magically transformed to “the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.” And you just might need one to stifle your laughter, grins, and outright guffaws at some of the hilarious discussions presented in this fun, quirky read. Where, in the end, “I came for a week and got stuck for fifteen years.”“Resistance is useless!” So you should just sit back and enjoy yourself, albeit from another planet like Mars or Pluto, and where the future is not mired by a hyperspace bypass. Of course, there’s always the possibility that introverts may rule this particular universe, and this brings me to one of my favorite lines of this tale: “If they don’t keep on exercising their lips, he thought, their brains start working.” So, in that regard, I will continue to exercise my brain through the absence of moving my lips, except when I have something intelligent, relevant, or interesting to say, or when I occasionally forget that my mouth is moving.If you have a wickedly morbid, sarcastic sense of humor, this book is definitely for you. Since I laugh so often I sometimes don’t even know why I’m laughing, I rather enjoyed this read. And you can too, for the measly sum of less than thirty Altairian dollars a day. “So long and thanks for all the fish.”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.Tim "The Enchanter"
Idiocy Meets Intellect - 3 Stars This entertaining romp through the absurd is mildly reminiscent of the absurdity of a Monty Python sketch. There is plenty of dry and absurd humour for the British humour enthusiast. If British humour is not your cup of tea *pun alert* then you will want to skip this one. This hardly needs another lengthy review so I will avoid the temptation and will keep it short.This silly story of Arthur Dent and his secretly alien friend, Ford, escape earth moments before it is destroy to make way for a galactic bypass. There is plenty of idiotic banter with humour arising when characters state the obvious. While the story is funny and the writing sharp, it fails to have the coherence of say a Monty Python movie (I am a bit biased in favor the MP) as it often finds humour in the creation of absurd non realities as opposed to satire.That said, much of the ridiculous humour has an intelligent basis. Whether or not the crazy ideas in the story have a basis in scientific fact, it manages to give the impression that it could be based loosely on scientific principle. Additionally, while some humour is silly some humour is dense and requires concentration. When I notice it, it makes me feel highly evolved and inflates sense of heightened intellect. If you didn't find this funny, you were simply to dense to understand the humour :)I understand that this was first a radio program. The pacing and tone of the story makes it suited for the audiobook format. In this case Stephan Fry does an admirable job narrating but imagine a radio production would be even better.I liked it but did not love it. I am sure I will read the next in the series but I won't be starting it immediately.Paul Dura
Don't PanicIf ever there was more helpful a phrase in the history of all that is written, that phrase should be terminated. "Don't Panic" should be reason enough to give this book a five star rating, but since you're probably not going to read it solely on that bit of information alone I will be forced to expound on the subject. (And I'm not quite so happy about that)Douglas Adams presents us with Arthur Dent, your proverbial "every man". This makes Arthur Dent very ordinary, very accessible, but otherwise very boring to the majority of readers like me who need merely to wander to the local pub to find a dozen of these fellows and instantly lose interest. However, should any of those fellows at the pub raise their thumb in an expert pose and suddenly be whisked away into the oblivion of the cosmos to argue with paranoid androids, endure the abusive prose of very, very, very, very, very horrible Vogon poets, and you'd have something altogether not quite unlike a cup of tea. Or this book.If you enjoy British humor of the unbelievably silly and clever nature then you should find yourself right at home with this book on your lap in your...well...home. My recommendation? Go out and grab this story of the universes general mish-mash, brew a cup of tea, and enjoy the tales of Arthur Dent. He's just a regular guy stuck in a rather irregular and unhealthy universe.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.”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.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!