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.”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.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.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.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.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.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)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?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,LorenzoTom
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.comChris
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.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.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.