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)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.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.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"...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.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.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.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.comManny
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 SpeculationsTim "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.Tina
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?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.”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.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!Felicia
What can I say? I wish I had been in the movie, although it was bad and I guess I should be happy about NOT being in it.