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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Genres

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

Suzy

It's that book you pick up and feel obligated to love, if only to escape grievous fan persecution. Well. Here goes. Let's start with the humour. Yes, it's everything that humour should be. For a while, you are oh-so-amused and impressed...but then you weary of being so amused. Akin to being kept on the edge of your seat for a good few hours - something's going to get sore. It's just such a strain. I skipped ten or so pages near the middle but I'm sure those ten pages were, like the rest of the book, terribly witty and sickeningly clever.The plot takes twists like...ah, what's a good analogy? A snake on LSD? That'll do. Don't get me wrong, they're good twists and Adams is admittedly superb at making the inherently illogical seem orderly and precise, but they just don't stop coming. And after a while, the worst happens and the reader just stops caring. I can see why this book has achieved its cult status. It deserves its cult status in many ways. There are moments of startling originality that knock you back and spin your world to a crazy new angle, but when the whole book is all but filled with these moments, the crazy new angle begins to make you dizzy and irritated. At the end, I'm still feeling oh-so-amused and impressed, but also oh-so-relieved I can stop.

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.

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.

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.)

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"]>

Mike

The coolest five-book trilogy ever. Seriously some of the best and original science fiction ever written, and it just happens to be hilarious. Not too many people have the balls to write a trilogy that starts off with the absolute destruction of earth for no other reason than the fact that it was in the path of a hyperspace highway that was soon to become obsolete with the advent of the improbability drive. Speaking of which, the technology in these books is easily more imaginative than anything that George Lucas has thought of in the last twenty years. I look forward to the day when I can receive all of my nutrients through a towel. Painting myself pink has yet to be attempted, but I have no doubt that I would become somebody else's problem. My goal in life is to create Disaster Area's completely frictionless ship that gets launched into a nearby star at the climax of their planet-wide concerts. Someday.... Reading these books is essential for living. If you appreciate anything from Monty Python (Adams worked with the Pythons on occasion) or want to read something original, read this iconic trilogy. You will not be sorry.

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.

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. :)

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.

Lowed

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

Liz

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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