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

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

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.

Arnaud

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

Nicholas

OK. Where do I start with this one. It's a doozy.Let's first of all say that I think this is one of the best uses of the English language. It's right up there with, well, anything else. I mean, just read the sentences. He is a lot like Tolkien, in that he makes the words themselves the art. But where Tolkien will take English and make it into a lush, broad canvas, Mr. Adams turns English into a plaything. Let's put my last sentence another way: The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy is the literary equivalent of juggling chainsaws. You read it through the first time, and you have no freaking clue how he did that with those words. OK, we got that out of the way. How bout the story now? Sure, that sounds good, Nick.There is no plot. For all of you who need one, I'm very very sory. But frankly, it's better that way. Life doesn't have a plot, right? You just sort of muddle through your week doing the best you can with what Life can throw at you. Well, that's the point with this. He takes the most regular guy, the guy you'd like to hang out with, someone decent that you can introduce to your sister. And then Adams throws him out into space and just sees what happens.Certain parts of this book, especially at the beginning, are an adaptation of the BBC Radio programme aired in 1977, which was also written by Douglas Adams. And he wrote H2G2 episodically, but also with no clear goal in mind. So when his characters come to a problem, Adams had no idea what would happen to them until he wrote the solution. Some rather large pieces of the story stuck in H2G2 this way. This is most true in the earlier books in the Trilgy (yes, it's five books in a series; The trilogy is inaccurately named), when the writing is fresher and better.But the best part of H2G2 (and all of DNA's books, frankly, even Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency) is his worldview. Basically, it's all about taking what life gives you with patience, humor, and tea. Yes, he was an Atheist (Yes, I'm a Christian whose favorite thinker/writer/guy was an Atheist. Calm down, calm down.), and he disliked people using ideas and beliefs as a crutch. This is the part where it's hard to really write a coherent review for me, because so many loved ones of mine (hi Mom and Dad) would see this as a Very Bad Idea. So why don't you shoot me an email, and we can have a discussion about it? Maybe sit down, and have some coffee and some nice nosh and chat? You'll get more and better ideas out of me that way. Anyways, I've just lost my train of thought, so I'll just say you'll love the part about the Vogon poetry. And H2G2 is an inaccurately named trilogy, because it is composed of five books. I recommend reading them all at once, even though there's no plot and things in one book will sometimes contradict things in another. Anyways, this trilogy is still one of my favorites.

Phil Zimmerman

I started this book with great trepidation. I have been hearing my entire life, bits of the jokes contains, and the generally awesomeness of these books. I was afraid, that reading them would be like seeing a nostalgic movie too late in life. It might lose something or perhaps a lot! I will write about each book as I finishThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - This first book was pure joy. I laughed out loud, I was amazed, and even the parts I sort of knew were still awesome. I am glad I am not stopping here and this book definitely does not represent a full story. Arthur, Ford, Zaphod, and Marvin have drawn me in and I cant wait to see what happens next.Restaurant at the End of the Universe - Wow this book goes everywhere, literally. Distance and time and size are non-limiting factors in this second installment. It is in no way as good as the first, but Zaphod as the lovable idiot is wonderful stuff. Also, the captain of the ship that Arthur and Ford end up on is comedic gold.Life the Universe and Everything - Didn't enjoy this one at all. Seemed to be weird just for weird sake.So Long and Thanks for all the Fish - Great read, loved Fenchurch as well as Wonko the Sane. My second favorite in the series.Mostly Harmless - A decent installment. Arthur and Ford back together again. This book has far less dialogue than the others. So glad to be done with all of these. Maybe reading them in a row was a bad idea. I would rank them in number of stars 5.4.2.4.3

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.

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.

Lowed

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

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. :)

Catherine

This comic gem of a book was very different from the movie- Douglas Adams (I believe he wrote the screenplay long before it was set to the screen) doesn't like to write the same story twice, so it is not to be overlooked just because you saw the movie. It is amazingly written and quite funny. Not to be missed!

Vishy

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy When I was studying in college, the smart guys in my class used to read a particular kind of books. Some of these books were ‘The Lord of the Rings’ by JRR Tolkien (before it became a movie and was read by everyone else), novels by P.G.Wodehouse, ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, ‘2001 : A Space Odyssey’ by Arthur C. Clarke, ‘One, Two, Three…Infinity’ by George Gamov, ‘The Fountainhead’ by Ayn Rand and ‘Zen and the Art of Motocycle Maintenance’ by Robert M. Pirsig. (In case you are curious, I have read the first part of the first book of ‘The Lord of the Rings’, a few novels by P.G.Wodehouse, ‘One, Two, Three…Infinity’ and ‘2001 : A Space Odyssey’ in later years, many years after I finished college. I haven’t read the others yet.) One of these books was Douglas Adams’ ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’. It looked to me like a book which combined science fiction and humour and I wondered how that combination might work. But I never got around to reading it. Later, after I went to work, I saw all the books in the Hitchhiker’s series in one omnibus volume. I read the blurb and the premise of the series was quite interesting and so I thought I will get it. I carried it with me as I moved cities and countries, but never read it. Finally all the stars got aligned last week. The book club that I am part of, decided to read this book this month, and so I took it down from my shelf and read it. I finished reading it yesterday. Here is what I think.What I thinkArthur Dent, a mild-mannered guy who works at the local radio station, gets up one day morning and discovers that there are bulldozers at his front door. When he talks to the person who seems to have brought them, he discovers that his home is going to be razed down to make way for a bypass. He lies down in front of one of the bulldozers and prevents those newcomers from doing their jobs. Dent’s friend, Ford Prefect, suddenly appears on the scene. Ford, though he says that he is an out-of-work actor, is actually an extra-terrestrial, who has come to Earth to study about the planet and about the beings there. Ford suddenly discovers that day that the Earth is going to be demolished that day, by the officials of the Galaxy, to make way for a hyperspace bypass. It is ironical, that while the local bureaucracy is trying to raze down Arthur’s home without worrying about how it will affect his life, the Galactic bureaucracy is planning to raze down Earth without worrying about what Earth’s inhabitants will feel about it. Ford tries to explain this to Arthur, but Arthur finds it difficult to believe all this. It seems like too many fantastic things are happening in a very short space of time. The spaceships which have come to demolish the Earth, are run by Vogons, extraterrestrial beings who are not highly evolved, but who know how to get a job done. The Vogon ships announce the news to the Earth’s inhabitants and the Earth is destroyed. Meanwhile, Ford finds a way of taking Arthur with him and getting into a Vogon ship with the help of the cooks there, who like doing things which annoy the Vogons. However, unfortunately, the Vogons discover the presence of stoways in the ship and arrest them and eject them into space. Meanwhile the action shifts to the another part of the Galaxy, where the President of the Galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox inaugurates a new ship called Heart of Gold which uses the Improbability Drive and can travel vast distances in very less time. And before the audience present at the inauguration event know it, Zaphod steals the ship and escapes away and the whole Galactic police is after him. And by pure chance, the Heart of Gold rescues our old friends Arthur and Ford, while they are being ejected from the Vogon ship. Interestingly, Zaphod has a human companion on the ship, a woman named Trillian. Zaphod goes on a mission to a distant planet Magrathea, where untold of wealth is supposed to lie. What happens to our old friends and their new ones while they go on this journey forms the rest of the story.I found ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ quite interesting. I don’t think I have read a sci-fi book which combined humour, like this, before. I think Douglas Adams was a pioneer in combining humour with science fiction. Science fiction novels are mostly fantastic – in the sense that they assume that enormous leaps of technology have been made and it is possible to travel across a galaxy in reasonable time, aliens exist etc. Such assumptions are there in this book too. But the interesting things I discovered were the small things that Adams says, which probably foreshadowed developments in technology which happened a few decades later. For example he talks about a device which Ford Prefect has in his knapsack, the description of which goes like this :...he also had a device that looked rather like a largish electronic calculator. This had about a hundred tiny flat press buttons and a screen about four inches square on which any one of a million “pages” could be summoned at a moment’s notice. It looked insanely complicated.To me it looked like a description of a modern tablet or a reading device like the iPad or a Kindle with which one could browse the internet and use the Google search engine. In another place, Adams says this about screens : For years radios had been operated by means of pressing buttons and turning dials; then as the technology became more sophisticated the controls were made touch-sensitive – you merely had to brush the panels with your fingers; now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components and hope. It saved a lot of muscular expenditure, of course, but meant that you had to sit infuriatingly still if you wanted to keep listening to the same program.I liked this passage very much because it talks about touch screens and more sophisticated user interfaces of electronic devices, which have come into being today, more than thirty-three years after the book was written. There were no touch screens or Kinect-like interfaces, even a few years back. When I first saw Kinect, I was amazed. I think it still feels like magic. And it is surprising and amazing that Adams has written about these things so many decades back.I also like the subtext in the novel, using which Adams comments on different things. For example, he says this about the position of the President of the Galaxy, while indirectly taking a dig at political leaders in general and the Presidential form of government in particular. The President in particular is very much a figurehead – he wields no real power whatsoever. He is apparently chosen by the government, but the qualities he is required to display are not those of leadership but those of finely judged outrage. For this reason the President is always a controversial choice, always an infuriating but fascinating character. His job is not to wield power but to draw attention away from it. On those criteria Zaphod Beeblebrox is one of the most successful Presidents the Galaxy has ever had – he has already spent two of his ten presidential years in prison for fraud. Very very few people realize that the President and the Government have virtually no power at all, and of these few people only six know whence ultimate political power is wielded. Most of the others secretly believe that the ultimate decision-making process is handled by a computer. They couldn’t be more wrong. My favourite scene in the story is, of course, when two people ask a supercomputer called ‘Deep Thought’ what is the meaning of life, the universe and everything and it asks them to come back after seven-and-a-half million years for the answer. And when the descendants of these two people come after all those years and ask the computer for an answer, it gives them an answer, which is totally surprising and unexpected. And humorous also, in a way :)The book also makes interesting commentaries on the boring aspect of everyday life, on dead-end jobs where people feel that they are just a cog-in-the-wheel and have no idea of the overall picture, on how scientists, eventhough they create and invent and discover new things, still bow down to political leaders who don’t know much, how we miss the small things and not the big ones after they are gone (particularly in this passage, where Arthur Dent feels nostalgic about the earth after it has been destroyed – “New York has gone. No reaction. He’d never seriously believed it existed anyway. The dollar, he thought, has sunk for ever. Slight tremor there. Every Bogart movie has been wiped, he said to himself, and that gave him a nasty knock. McDonald’s, he thought. There is no longer any such thing as a McDonald’s hamburger. He passed out.”), on how the lowest people in a research team sometimes make the most important discoveries and how this pisses off the powerful guys in the team and on how though we think we are the centre of the universe we might actually be an unimportant and irrelevant part of it. Adams also touches humorously on the many-worlds theory, on whether prime numbers are infinite or there is a highest prime number, and asks philosophical questions, in a humorous way, on what would happen and what it might mean if we were all really parts of a gigantic creature or a computer, like coral polyps are parts of a coral reef. ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ is humorous, funny and a fast read. It is also surprisingly deep, philosophical and asks all the big questions in an understated, humorous tone. I loved it. I can’t wait to read the second book in the series now.I will leave you with some of my favourite passages from the book.Mostly Harmless “If you’re a researcher on this book thing and you were on Earth, you must have been gathering material on it.” “Well, I was able to extend the original entry a bit, yes.” “Let me see what it says in this edition then, I’ve got to see it.” “Yeah, okay.” He passed it over again. Arthur grabbed hold of it and tried to stop his hands shaking. He pressed the entry for the relevant page. The screen flashed and swirled and resolved into a page of print. Arthur stared at it. “It doesn’t have an entry!” he burst out. Ford looked over his shoulder. “Yes, it does,” he said, “down there, see at the bottom of the screen, just above Eccentrica Gallumbits, the triple-breasted whore of Eroticon 6.” Arthur followed Ford’s finger, and saw where it was pointing. For a moment it still didn’t register, then his mind nearly blew up. “What? Harmless? Is that all it’s got to say? Harmless! One word!” Ford shrugged. “Well, there are a hundred billion stars in the Galaxy, and only a limited amount of space in the book’s microprocessors,” he said, “and no one knew much about the Earth, of course.” “Well, for God’s sake, I hope you managed to rectify that a bit.” “Oh yes, well, I managed to transmit a new entry off to the editor. He had to trim it a bit, but it’s still an improvement.” “And what does it say now?” asked Arthur. “Mostly harmless,” admitted Ford with a slightly embarrassed cough. “Mostly harmless!” shouted Arthur.Positive Attitude “Just don’t say things like that,” stammered Ford. “How can anyone maintain a positive mental attitude if you’re saying things like that?” “My God,” complained Arthur, “you’re talking about a positive mental attitude and you haven’t even had your planet demolished today. I woke up this morning and thought I’d have a nice relaxed day, do a bit of reading, brush the dog…It’s now just after four in the afternoon and I’m already being thrown out of an alien spaceship six light-years from the smoking remains of the Earth!” “All right,” said Ford, “just stop panicking!” “Who said anything about panicking?” snapped Arthur. “This is still just the culture shock. You wait till I’ve settled down into the situation and found my bearings. Then I’ll start panicking!”On being stupidOne of the major difficulties Trillian experienced in her relationship with Zaphod was learning to distinguish between him pretending to be stupid just to get people off their guard, pretending to be stupid because he couldn’t be bothered to think and wanted someone else to do it for him, pretending to be outrageously stupid to hide the fact that he actually didn’t understand what was going on, and really being genuinely stupid.On being safe “Is it safe?” he said. “Magrathea’s been dead for five million years,” said Zaphod, “of course it’s safe. Even the ghosts will have settled down and raised families by now.”On problems “You think you’ve got problems,” said Marvin, as if he was addressing a newly occupied coffin, “what are you supposed to do if you are a manically depressed robot? No, don’t bother to answer that, I’m fifty thousand times more intelligent than you and even I don’t know the answer. It gives me a headache to think down to your level.”Going to have a look “What happened?” said Arthur. “They stopped,” said Zaphod with a shrug. “Why?” “Dunno, do you want to go and ask them?” “No.” They waited “Hello?” called out Ford. No answer. “That’s odd.” “Perhaps it’s a trap.” “They haven’t the wit.” “What were those thuds?” “Dunno.” They waited for a few more seconds. “Right,” said Ford, “I’m going to have a look.” He glanced round at the others. “Is no one going to say, No, you can’t possibly, let me go instead?” They all shook their heads. “Oh well,” he said, and stood up. On being too fast The aircar rocketed them at speeds in excess of R17… R is a velocity measure, defined as a reasonable speed of travel that is consistent with health, mental well-being and not being more than, say, five minutes late. It is therefore clearly an almost infinitely variable figure according to circumstances, since the first two factors vary not only with speed taken as an absolute, but also with awareness of the third factor. Unless handled with tranquility this equation can result in considerable stress, ulcers and even death. R17 is not a fixed velocity, but it is clearly far too fast. Have you read ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’? What do you think about it?

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.

Josh

An absolutely fantastic read. Seriously can not believe I had not read these earlier in my life. Douglas Adams takes you on a ride in a majestic, profound and captivatingly surreal universe, one that is totally unrestricted by the imagination. After reading the entire set, I watched the flick and was utterly disappointed. Someday, someone will capture a glimpse of what Adams portrayed in his descriptive writing and share it with us in an epic film series like Star Wars, etc. But until that day, and even beyond it, these books will inspire much thought and project your mind to the bounds of time and space. A must read: 10 out of 5

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.

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!

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