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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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


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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!

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.


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"]>


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

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.

Justin Birdsong

Great read, and a brilliant example of British satire and comedy.


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!


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.)


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.

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