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

ISBN: 0345453743
ISBN 13: 9780345453747
By: Douglas Adams

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

About this book

At last in paperback in one complete volume, here are the five classic novels from Douglas Adams's beloved Hitchiker series. "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"Seconds before the Earth is demolished for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is saved by Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised Guide. Together they stick out their thumbs to the stars and begin a wild journey through time and space."The Restaurant at the End of the Universe"Facing annihilation at the hands of warmongers is a curious time to crave tea. It could only happen to the cosmically displaced Arthur Dent and his comrades as they hurtle across the galaxy in a desperate search for a place to eat."Life, the Universe and Everything"The unhappy inhabitants of planet Krikkit are sick of looking at the night sky- so they plan to destroy it. The universe, that is. Now only five individuals can avert Armageddon: mild-mannered Arthur Dent and his stalwart crew."So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish"Back on Earth, Arthur Dent is ready to believe that the past eight years were all just a figment of his stressed-out imagination. But a gift-wrapped fishbowl with a cryptic inscription conspires to thrust him back to reality. So to speak."Mostly Harmless"Just when Arthur Dent makes the terrible mistake of starting to enjoy life, all hell breaks loose. Can he save the Earth from total obliteration? Can he save the Guide from a hostile alien takeover? Can he save his daughter from herself?

Reader's Thoughts

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

Sandy Tjan

This review is for the first two books only.I have a confession to make: I am allergic to sci-fi. The kind that has as its hero a humanoid who lives in 23345 AD on a dystopian red planet, where he must fight slimy insectoid aliens whose sole purpose in life is to lay and hatch their filthy eggs on human bodies. The guy is barely human anyway, with half his face swathed in shiny robotic gear with glowing red eyes that look like the battery-powered tip of my 10 year old’s toy laser gun. Or instead of being half-android, he is half Vulcan or Neptune or whatever and thus has the emotional life of a plant. He would speak in pseudo-scientific jargon, something like, “ I must get the quark-photon-intercellular battery on my jet-propulsion pack to work so that I can get back to my Hyper Drive Interstellar Pod and shoot off to Alpha Centauri XYZ2345 in 10,000 times the warp speed along the space-time continuum”. I could feel my brain slowly turn to mush after barely ONE page of dialogue like that. He would have a robotic sidekick that looks like my Brabantia Dome Lid Waste Container with a string of blinking Christmas light around it, except that it can also speak in a metallic voice that somehow sounds like my mother-in-law in one of her bad days. Oh, and there will be other more sympathetic alien life forms that look like the misbegotten offspring of a camel and an orangutan, or some rubbery stuffed toy that the dog had chewed to bits. In short, I just can’t see why I should care about the fate of these monstrous, barely human creatures. Why waste precious time reading about some trash can android or an alien that looks like the Elephant Man on a bad hair day while there are perfectly normal, realistic HUMAN characters out there?My favorite genre is historical fiction; you know, those books about human beings who either have been dead for centuries, or never existed at all, written by people who cannot possibly have any first-hand knowledge of the period that they’re writing about? Nothing could be more different than science fiction, something that I have not touched in 20 years or so.So, what am I doing with The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Omnibus, 832 pages of sci-fi drenched in techno babble and redolent of the smell of a million alien armpits?Well, for one thing, it’s included in the BBC’s 100 Big Reads, which for some reason has become my guide to a worthwhile reading list that is not solely composed of the classics. The other thing is that it’s supposed to be one of the funniest books ever written ---I can always overlook the sci-fi for the funnies. And the characters are recognizably human, or at least sort of human, although one of them is called Zaphod Beeblebrox, (which, incidentally would make a good brand name for a laxative) and has two heads and three arms. The other two are genuine human beings from Earth --- or carbon-based ape-descended life forms --- take your pick, and the other one is a human looking alien with ginger hair (a hideous genetic mutation that should be bred out in real humans). And he is conveniently named Ford Prefect. No need to memorize ridiculous alien names when a simple English one will do. And now that we are superficially acquainted with the protagonists, it’s time to summarize the plot of this sprawling intergalactic tome --- except that there is no real plot to speak of. Well, actually there is something about looking for the Ultimate Question --- ‘What is the meaning of life?’ --- which is of interest to all life forms in the universe, at least to those that have the brain capacity to ponder such things. But mostly they just bounce around from one bizarre planet to another, having weird adventures in which they meet, among others, a paranoid android, rebellious appliances, a comatose intergalactic rock star and a megalomaniac book publisher. Ultimately, the barely there plot is nothing but an excuse for an absurdist farce through which Adams pokes fun at organized religion, meat-eaters, politicians, big businesses, environmentalists, the publishing industry and other pet peeves. Some parts are brilliantly funny, especially in the first book, while others had me scratching my head and wondering whether he was high on something when he wrote them. Certain sections are mind-numbingly boring and confusing in that special sci-fi way. Oh, and the constant smugness and non-stop zaniness are grating after the second book or so, and I just lost interest completely after finishing it.At least I know now that ‘babel fish’ is not just a strangely named online translation program. And that it is possible to write a book about what is essentially nonsense and have it become a major pop culture icon. But I’m also mightily relieved that I can stop hitchhiking through THIS universe, which is probably too cool and too clever for me to completely understand.And this shall be my last sci-fi book for the next 20 years.

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.

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.

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.

Lowed

- whew!! kept me singing that old song that goes ♫♪"i just can't get enough!" ♫♪

Arnaud

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

Liz

It doesn't get any better than this. Best books ever.

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.

Beth

I don't think I've ever gotten all the way through this five-books-plus-a-short-story trilogy, but it still remains fond in memory as part of my British sci-fi TV phase in high school that also included Dr. Who and Blake's 7. (A good looking actor or two, and the scripts, had about equal influence on teenager-me's interest level.)*Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: it has to have been since I was in high school that I read this one, since I would have recognized the Monty Python nods that pop up here and there from hanging out with nerds through college and beyond. Our universe here has a white maleness about it, but calling that out feels ungracious in the face of something that still made me laugh, even after having been through the story many times over the years in TV, book, and movie form. *(More as I move through this anthology.)

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.

Aryn

Often muddled, completely confusing and contradictory and utterly ridiculous, The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy offers a singular perspective on well...Life, the Universe and Everything and at least four barrels of laughter along the way.And perhaps that's the whole point. Life is completely confusing, contradictory and utterly ridiculous. So, why should this trilogy in five parts be any different?The more iconic moments are, of course, more towards the beginning. It gets muddled in the middle and in the end, it starts to make some kind of sense (and we feel like we might finally getting a grip on things but then gets blasted to smithereens). It is not incredibly linear. It's wildly hilarious, but things never really seem to progress forward. This is not an epic, despite its length. There is no overall lesson to be learned. There's barely a story to follow. If anything it is a string of very funny scenes that are more-or-less vaguely and totally unrelated to the previous ones. The language is clever and sharp. The concepts are mind-altering. The humor is the kind that makes me laugh out loud and startle everyone else unfortunate enough to be occupying the same room as I am. I'm giving it three stars: One for humor, one for wit, one for becoming such an iconic part of my life. However, I think if no more than two books had been written, things would have...well, made more sense.

Amelia, the pragmatic idealist

In my opinion, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is the best in the series. I can only imagine what it must have been like to read a first-edition of the novel when it was originally published back in 1979, or to have listened to the original radio broadcast even earlier. The story was highly original, zany (sometimes even incomprehensibly silly), the characters lovable and bizarre at the same time, and the concept...out-of-this-world original. I mean, the creator of Vogons (and their poetry!) ought to get a 5-star rating all the time, every time.Unfortunately for me, I do not have the same endearing feelings for the subsequent books - The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, and my least-favorite, Mostly Harmless. As a radio/TV concept, the material for stories seems endless. But I don't know, that longevity didn't work for me in novel format. So while I love having an omnibus copy of all the books in the series (loving this larger, more compact edition more than the single-volume Hitchhiker's...), I still prefer the first story to the others in the series. And now...a poem I wrote!See, see the Type-A skyMarvel at its big turquoise depths.Tell me, Bertha do youWonder why the monkey ignores you?Why its foobly staremakes you feel irritable.I can tell you, it isWorried by your wackity facial growthThat looks likeA pineapple.What's more, it knowsYour snog potting shedSmells of snail.Everything under the big Type-A skyAsks why, why do you even bother?You only charm socks.

sologdin

Really liked these as a kid. Upon rereading, I note that:Volume I and Volume II still hold up to where I had placed them in nostalgia. Happy Ent is right that Bakker's Inchoroi are the Golgafrinchan B Ark--and I'd add that the sperm whale suddenly called into existence by the Infinite Improbability Drive in part I looks like the original source for Bakker's No-God:This is a complete record of its thought from the moment it began its life till the moment it ended it.Ah...! What's happening? it thought.Er, excuse me, who am I?Hello?Why am I here? What's my purpose in life?What do I mean by who am I?(95). And so on. Bakker is essentially writing a dyssatircal gloss on Adams.Volume III keeps the tone but changes the subject matter of the first two installments, taking on subject matter that was not present for the earlier bits, but also seeming to abandon the narrative of the first two.No idea what the point of Volume IIII is. Volume V, alright, but meh. It looks like it ends a cliffhanger similar to the sixth Dune or Farscape season 4. Still a good sense of humor throughout, and definitely a major component of the geocentric aliens subgenre.Recommended for slugs with rocket launchers, people who wondered where Elvis went, and depressed robots.

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