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

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."

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.”

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.

Carole

I hated this book. It was required in one of my English Lit. classes in college. The time spent reading this book is time that I will never get back. I think this book may have shortened my life; it was such a waste of time.

Keely

The universe is a joke. Even before I was shown the meaning of life in a dream at 17 (then promptly forgot it because I thought I smelled pancakes), I knew this to be true--and yet, I have always felt a need to search for the truth, that nebulous, ill-treated creature. Adams has always been, to me, to be a welcome companion in that journey. Between the search for meaning and the recognition that it's all a joke in poor taste lies Douglas Adams, and, luckily for us, he doesn't seem to mind if you lie there with him. He's a tall guy, but he'll make room.For all his crazed unpredictability, Adams is a powerful rationalist. His humor comes from his attempts to really think through all the things we take for granted. It turns out it takes little more than a moment's questioning to burst our preconceptions at the seams, yet rarely does this stop us from treating the most ludicrous things as if they were perfectly reasonable.It is no surprise that famed atheist Richard Dawkins found a friend and ally in Adams. What is surprising is that people often fail to see the rather consistent and reasonable philosophy laid out by Adams' quips and absurdities. His approach is much more personable (and less embittered) than Dawkins', which is why I think of Adams as a better face for rational materialism (which is a polite was of saying 'atheism').Reading his books, it's not hard to see that Dawkins is tired of arguing with uninformed idiots who can't even recognize when a point has actually been made. Adams' humanism, however, stretched much further than the contention between those who believe, and those who don't.We see it from his protagonists, who are not elitist intellectuals--they're not even especially bright--but damn it, they're trying. By showing a universe that makes no sense and having his characters constantly question it, Adams is subtly hinting that this is the natural human state, and the fact that we laugh and sympathize shows that it must be true.It's all a joke, it's all ridiculous. The absurdists might find this depressing, but they're just a bunch of narcissists, anyhow. Demanding the world make sense and give you purpose is rather self centered when it already contains toasted paninis, attractive people in bathing suits, and Euler's Identity. I say let's sit down at the bar with the rabbi, the priest, and the frog and try to get a song going. Or at least recognize that it's okay to laugh at ourselves now and again. It's not the end of the world.It's just is a joke, but some of us are in on it.

Sarah

I understand why this book has such a large fanbase. I can see that it's clever. I can see that it's unique. There were many parts in it that I found slightly amusing. But it doesn't change the fact that in my opinion, space is unquestionably, unconditionally, positively BORING. I would have given the book two stars, but I gave it three just for being one of the few space books I have read that hasn't made me fall asleep before I made it through the first chapter.

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

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"...

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.

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!

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.”

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.

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?

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.

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.

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