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

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!

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.com

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.

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.

Troy Blackford

Wow! I knew I would be reading this book one day, as friends had been talking about it since I was in middle school, but I didn't know it would be so great! Written in a very unique tone, ("The ships hung in the sky in precisely the way a brick doesn't.") this book is full of laughs, headscratchers, and unique ruminations on the human condition. I will definitely be moving on to the next books in the series. Enjoyable, witty, and very -very- different.

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.”

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?

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)

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.

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.

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.

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.

David

Okay, I can understand how somebody might not absolutely love The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It does after all combine a few things—such as scifi and screwball comedy, for instance—that not everyone can deal with. In other words, the nerd quotient is high here, and people who aren't wired that way might end up perplexed. BUT--and this is a big ol' BUT: I don't understand how anybody can HATE this book. In fact, if I weren't such a saintly, even-keel, kittenish kind of guy, I might say that I'm tempted to hate haters of this book. How can you hate such a genial, well-meaning book? I mean, Douglas Adams just saunters in, gives his readers the glad hand, rolls up his sleeves, and gets down to business—summoning every gag in his repertoire just to keep you curmudgeons entertained. And does he succeed? In my opinion, yes. Most definitely. I should probably tell you, by way of disclaimer, that I have some hardcore nostalgia invested in the Hitchhiker books. (There are five in all, but I never read the fifth Mostly Harmless.) This may be the first non-film novelization full-length book that wasn't strictly intended for kids that I ever read. That's an accomplishment for a kid who was raised on reruns and talking to himself in the tool shed in the backyard. I kind of hated reading for the most part before I got out of college. (I know! I was one of those people! Endlessly grasping for the channel changer and being ruined by the media.)Since I was maybe twelve or thirteen when I read this, I'm sure some of the dry humor flew right over head, but the slapstick, sight gags, and ridiculous plotting sure didn't. There are so many absurdist details in this ricocheting narrative that presenting you with a thorough summary would be tough. Suffice it to say that it centers on an Earthling named Arthur Dent who narrowly escapes the destruction of the planet when it is destroyed to build a galactic superhighway. He ends up hitching a ride on a stolen spaceship with the (two-headed, three-armed) president of the galaxy.If you're rolling your eyes, you are (1) a killjoy and (2) not the intended audience for this book. Go read Jane Austen or one of those books about cats that live in libraries. If you're smart and have good taste, read this book. It's kind of like a slightly lowerbrow Woody Allenesque scifi farce, if you can imagine such a thing. (Well, there was Sleeper, so I guess maybe you can.) The plot, like those in Allen's earliest films, is a little flimsy and haphazard, but the Child Version of Me insists that you will enjoy it anyway unless you're a complete asshole.

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.

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.

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