The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy #1-5)

ISBN: 0517149257
ISBN 13: 9780517149256
By: Douglas Adams

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Classics Currently Reading Fantasy Favorites Fiction Humor Sci Fi Science Fiction Scifi To Read

About this book

It's safe to say that The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is one of the funniest science fiction novels ever written. Adams spoofs many core science fiction tropes: space travel, aliens, interstellar war--stripping away all sense of wonder and repainting them as commonplace, even silly.This omnibus edition begins with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, in which Arthur Dent is introduced to the galaxy at large when he is rescued by an alien friend seconds before Earth's destruction. Then in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Arthur and his new friends travel to the end of time and discover the true reason for Earth's existence. In Life, the Universe, and Everything, the gang goes on a mission to save the entire universe. So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish recounts how Arthur finds true love and "God's Final Message to His Creation." Finally, Mostly Harmless is the story of Arthur's continuing search for home, in which he instead encounters his estranged daughter, who is on her own quest. There's also a bonus short story, "Young Zaphod Plays It Safe," more of a vignette than a full story, which wraps up this completist's package of the Don't Panic chronicles. As the series progresses, its wackier elements diminish, but the satire of human life and foibles is ever present.

Reader's Thoughts

Nick Black

Parts were and at times remain the height of funny, but there's a lot of trash in there (wtf was going on with the last book?). Certainly an old friend, read and reread literally countless times. Back when I ate a lot of acid, I'd curl up with this big hardback as the sun rose and those horrible hours of introspection, self-loathing and promises to improve oneself tried to kick in. Everyone ought read it, but that also means everyone *can* read it, which kind of reduces the allure.

Margarita

[image error]This mammoth of a book was a hell of an undertaking. After being harassed into reading it for 2.5 years, I have to say I am glad I did it, but gladder it's over and I can now read something I truly want to...and something not set somewhere along the space/time continuum.I found there to be constant peaks and troughs, some chapters or parts were brilliant and others were laborious to get through (I did have some significant and glorious naps while I read this!), and every time I thought I would just give it up it got better again. Then when I noticed how much into it I was, it dipped and was simply ridiculous to the point of annoying me and toying with the idea of throwing it out the window or at the tv.Everyone goes on about how genius it is, the humour, the imagination, the non-sequitors etc., but it seemed full of nonsense in some bits and almost as if Adams had no mental filter, thus resulting in verbal diarrhoea. Some parts are quite humorous but it rapidly descends into silliness and after about 300 pages of this roller coaster, it is soul-destroying. As soon as I've reached this conclusion it gets much better and I feel like I've been too harsh and my interest is maintained for 60 pages only to be thrown about again for another 40.I can see how the Hitch Hiker's Guide can be so absolutely loved by many, but in all sincerity it is not my cup of tea.

Cherie

Wow!!!! What the... Did that... But.... Huh????Dx oh my gosh!! This book has the CRAZIEST structure ever! And it's just insane how Douglas Adams can create an ending to this that just takes everything and fits it together like a puzzle. I have to admit I was beginning to get really frustrated with this series because it's everywhere... One moment they are on one planet and then a chapter later they are on another.. Then there are plots that make you wonder what the hell they have to do with anything... (Not to mention that sometimes all you can think is "What the fuck are you talking about?!?")... But at the end it all just makes sense. I adore the characters and the dialogue and interactions between them. This book was hilarious beginning to end and it was just so much fun to read. A bit exhausting after a while, but completely worth it. :)

Evan Leach

This collection includes all five of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker novels in one volume, along with a short story and a nice introduction by Neil Gaiman. Some brief thoughts about the five books (which I’ve reviewed individually):The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Wildly funny, the first book is a true classic of both comedy and science fiction. One of my all-time favorites that I cannot recommend highly enough. 6 stars!The Restaurant at the End of the Universe: Even more random and chaotic than the first book, but still hilarious. If you enjoyed the first book in the series, you’ll really like this one. 4 stars.Life, the Universe and Everything: Book three has a much more coherent plot than the first two entries. Not quite as funny as one and two (in large part because the gang is split up for much of the story), but still well worth reading. 3.5 stars.So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish: The series takes a turn at this point. Most of the action takes place in England, and some of the key characters from the first three books are missing. Much less zany than the earlier books, book four is more of a love story and served as a fitting conclusion to the series (until book five came out). 4 stars.Mostly Harmless: The weakest entry in the series, according to most readers (including me). The final installment is famously bleak, but still very funny at times. If you enjoyed the first four books, you’ll probably find plenty to like in the finale. 3 stars.The short story, Young Zaphod Plays It Safe, is a brief (14 page) Zaphod tale that takes place before the five novels. It basically builds up to one big joke: (view spoiler)[Ronald Reagan was actually a deeply dangerous synthetic construct (hide spoiler)].Comedy is a subjective thing, and not everyone is going to enjoy Adams’ particular brand of humor. Personally, I have blown through this series three times and while I enjoy some of the books more than others, the whole series is extremely froody as far as I’m concerned. If you want to learn the answer to life, the universe, and everything; if you want to read about hyper-intelligent mice and deeply depressed robots; if you want to learn about Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters and meet the man who rules the universe, this collection is an absolute treat. I remember the first time I read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as a kid and being absolutely delighted that somebody had written this wonderfully funny, silly, insane book – and being overjoyed when I learned there were four more stories to go. If you’ve never had the pleasure of reading Douglas Adams, I hope you have a similar experience. Dive right in, don’t panic, and remember to bring a towel. 4 stars, highly recommended!Reread in 2012.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

Max

These five novels of wild space adventures offer a pointed satire of life here on earth. The fact that Adams calls the five a trilogy should give you an idea of the writing style. Voyages through the cosmos provide a scaffold for run-on comic sequences and one-liners. Some of the jokes hit home but get repetitive and some are better left in distant parts of the galaxy. As disjointed as the plots are, they do have their moments and I did develop feeling for the main characters. The last book, “Mostly Harmless” nicely brings closure to the series. The novels read easily and are best enjoyed with as little thought as possible. So while I couldn’t derive much of value from Adams’ work, it did serve what must have been its intended purpose, a respite from something meaningful.

Chelsea

Just as funny as advertised, but I made the mistake of reading the collection of all five novels, and - what's more - trying to read them all in one go. Once I got about halfway through Life, the Universe, and Everything, it had stopped being funny and had gotten a little confusing. Adams is excellent at humor, not so much at plot.So, for clarification: 5 stars for the original Hitchhiker's, 4 for The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, and 3 stars for the others.

Kim

I wish I had read this book when I was younger and technology hadn't moved so far past what it was at the time it was written. Really a fun, quick read, with all sorts of great characters and clever scenarios.

Joe S

Why does British humor rely so much on the use of indifference? Just something I've noticed.So the Earth is destroyed. In an indifferent manner, which makes it hi-larious. A bloke is saved and, unmoored in the Universe, is dragged through a series of droll hijinx. One formulaic hijinx after another, which are really just vehicles for terribly self-satisfied one-liners. And then the novel stops at a seemingly arbitrary point -- though I suspect it's actually the point of diminishing returns. At around the third novel (this is a collection of five plus a short story, remember; I expect my medal to arrive any day now), Adams begins to lick himself uncontrollably and lifts entire chapters from his earlier books. I find this utterly distasteful.The first two novels collected here ( The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and The Restaurant at the End of the Universe) are tolerable if you enjoy dry humor. The rest is offal.

Madeline

Douglas Adams is either the craziest, most creative and funniest author I've ever read, or he's just on crack. Or maybe it's a little of both.The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and the books that follow it are all completely insane and impossible to summarize, so I'm not even going to try. They're books that can't be taken too seriously, so just sit back, relax, and enjoy the portrait of insanity Adams so expertly paints.

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. Demnading 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 only some of us are in on it.

Arnaud

The perfect way to forget how long a roundtrip ATL-CDG is That is all :-)Please, proceed!

Jimmy

What to say about the bible of mankind? This is the best, the greatest, the uber, the wonder, the rainbow, the sun, moon, satellite, planets, stars, universe.... This... is... 42!!!!I have read these five books of the triology seven or eight times, and will read it at least once a year for the rest of my life!If you haven't read it yet, stop reading this and run for your life to get your own copy, or borrow it from a friend! Because believe me, your life now won't seem like life at all after you've read it.Although, if your copy is sitting beside you, and you are waiting for someone to fetch your pipe and whiskey before you start reading it, by all means, keep reading, but I warn you, some spoiling may occur. You see, as soon as I say Arthur Dent, och Ford Prefect, I have begun the spoiling!This is namely how the first book starts. Ford Prefect who isn't at all from earth comes home to his old friend Arthur Dent to get him to drink some beer and eat some peanuts before the world ends. Somehow Ford is completely uninterested in the fact that Arthur's home is about to be demolished to make way for a new highway, due to the fact that the Vogon's are one their way to demolish earth to make way for an intergalactic highway.You will find laughter, love, wonder, understanding of the universe and severe head pain while reading these books, as reading them is, in my own opinion close to drinking a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. Please comment this when you know what I'm talking about!I have lots more to write, I know to much and to little about the universe as interpreted by Douglas Adams, but I do not want to. I'd love to speak at length about The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy with anyone whom please, but as for now, I have only one thing to say;DON'T PANIC.... and... don't forget your towel!

Debbie

Knew someone who had a theory that you could open this book to a random page, put your finger down and within that paragraph would be something witty. Interesting

Epicurus

"I give up!"I exclaimed this very proudly. Just as proudly as Arthur exclaimed, "I will go mad!" At the beginning of the third book. I enjoyed the first two books and the beginning of the third but decided that I have nothing to gain from reading the rest of this series. I was wrong! If you are going to read Douglas Adams then my advice to you is to read them one book at a time and not in The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide. I grew tired of Douglas Adams' roundabout jokes that took on an identical spin by the time I reached the third book. Maybe it's because I'm American. What do you think? Is this British Monty Python humor? At times I read it and quite enjoyed it. At times I read it and quite loathed it.Go ahead, read the first book. That one doesn't bite much. You'll quite like it I'm sure. I'm quite sure I'm done now. 14 of 15 books completed this year. .933 isn't such a bad batting average.

Eugene

The reader Suzy down below says it best: "Terribly witty and sickeningly clever" Basically, the Hitchhiker series is the equivalent of Douglas Adams using some sort of godless magic to conjure pure unconcentrated "Funny" into the form of a hideous, many-spiked, eight ton iron mace, which he then proceeds to viciously and remorselessly beat you with for several hours or until you give him your package of store bought cookies, which he believes are his because you both bought the same brand and happen to be sitting at the same table that day, but his are unwittingly hidden underneath his newspaper and so he's assumed you've stolen them.That's why I've taken to reading this compilation by flipping to a random page and only reading a chapter at a time. "HG to the G" is like a well crafted roux - on its own it's much too potent to eat, but as a sauce spread thinly upon your otherwise dull and eventless day, it is delicious.

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