The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Seconds before Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.Together, this dynamic pair began a journey through space aided by a galaxyful of fellow...

Title:The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0345418913
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:193 pages

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Reviews

  • Jon

    In my experience, readers either love Adams' books or quickly put them down. I, for example, quite literally worship the words Adams puts on the page, and have read the Hitchhiker's Trilogy so many times that I have large tracts of it memorized. But both my wife and father couldn't get past book one: the former because she found it too silly, and the latter because he found the writing to be more about "the author's personality" than plot and character.

    Whatever.

    The first three books in the Hitc

    In my experience, readers either love Adams' books or quickly put them down. I, for example, quite literally worship the words Adams puts on the page, and have read the Hitchhiker's Trilogy so many times that I have large tracts of it memorized. But both my wife and father couldn't get past book one: the former because she found it too silly, and the latter because he found the writing to be more about "the author's personality" than plot and character.

    Whatever.

    The first three books in the Hitchhiker's Trilogy--

    ,

    , and

    --are inspired lunacy. The ideas, plots, puns, jokes, and phrases that fill their pages have influenced an entire generation of not only writers, but people from all fields. For instance: the Babel Fish software that translates foreign websites for you is named after a species of fish that Adams created in book one; you can find dozens of recipes online for Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters; the chess computer Deep Thought that lost two matches to Gary Kasparov in 1989 was named after a computer in book one; and seriously, who hasn't heard that the answer to life, the universe, and everything is 42? (For more of these, consult wikipedia.org's entry on "

    Cultural References".) Chances are, if you're reading these books for the first time, you'll be surprised to see how many everyday things were named after Adams' creations.

    The books aren't, of course, without their problems. Adams himself admitted that the Trilogy had, and I paraphrase, a long beginning, a long conclusion, and not much in the middle (though I can't remember where I read that). He was also regularly accused of writing for the sake of cranking out one-liners. The books as a whole jump about like a manic puppy on methamphetamines, and there are at least a few jokes in there that will completely fly over the heads of any readers who lack a basic comprehension of quantum physics.

    Despite this, the Hitchhiker's Trilogy remains as the single most entertaining and enjoyable series of books I've ever read--a position they've occupied for some fifteen years. Adams' wit and wisdom still baffle me in their greatness, and he remains to this day one of only two authors who can regularly, consistently make me howl with laughter (the other being Terry Pratchett). Readers beware: if the Adams bug infects you, you will have it for life. And you'll never be sorry you let it bite.

  • Tom

    Another classic. If you don't like this series, you probably put your babel fish in the wrong hole. You are the reason that human beings are only the third most intelligent species on earth behind mice and dolphins. So long, and thanks for all the fish!

  • Stephen

    What does

    , a

    mechanic and this

    have to do with

    ?

    ...you

    it to yourself and your family to find out.

    With the plethora of

    already written for this book by my fellow GRs, I decided instead to provide some helpful,

    on why reading this book might benefit my fellow goodreaders. Therefore, as both

    and a

    , I have compiled my:

    What does

    , a

    mechanic and this

    have to do with

    ?

    ...you

    it to yourself and your family to find out.

    With the plethora of

    already written for this book by my fellow GRs, I decided instead to provide some helpful,

    on why reading this book might benefit my fellow goodreaders. Therefore, as both

    and a

    , I have compiled my:

    .

    .

    : It’s a pleasant diversion to keep your mind occupied and pass the time while you are getting electrolysis to remove those

    of unwanted hair:

    , somebody please get that man a

    .

    : The book is smart, funny, well-written and full of wonderful commentary on the human condition and clever humor:

    This gentleman

    appear in the book:

    Seriously, isn’t the absence of

    reason enough to give this book a chance?

    North Korea's

    hates this book

    ...and the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    And finally….

    Understanding the deep, nuanced meaning at the heart of this novel will help better prepare you should you ever find yourself in a situation like this:

    Don’t wait until it’s too late…for yourself and your loved ones, read

    today.

    If through sharing the above bit of

    wisdom, I have: (i) introduced someone to a worthwhile read, or (ii)provided a means of dealing with the agonizing pain of having chunks of fur ripped from their body, or (iii) shown people a picture of a man in a thong changing a tire, or (iv) pissed off a despotic assclown, or (v) simply provided a safety tip regarding avoiding unsolicited sexual advances in the guise of impromptu gift-giving, than I feel I have accomplished something.

    I only did this because

    I care.

    3.5 stars.

  • J.G. 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

    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. Demanding 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 some of us are in on it.

  • Emily May

    This is not the best book ever written. It is unlikely to affect you on any deep emotional level and you probably won't spend sleepless nights just thinking about it.

    But it's a simple, humourous sci-fi adventure. It won't do something for everybody but I'm a massive fan of Douglas Adams' and his sense of humour. Come on, like it or not, Adams' has some awesomely quotable sayings (not all of these are from this exact book):

    This is not the best book ever written. It is unlikely to affect you on any deep emotional level and you probably won't spend sleepless nights just thinking about it.

    But it's a simple, humourous sci-fi adventure. It won't do something for everybody but I'm a massive fan of Douglas Adams' and his sense of humour. Come on, like it or not, Adams' has some awesomely quotable sayings (not all of these are from this exact book):

  • Alejandro

    Please, before anything...

    .

    I think that one of the things that one has to keep in mind while reading this book is that it was written in 1979. Having this important factor in perspective, it's quite astonishing the vision of Douglas Adams, the author, presenting a lot of visionary elements, starting with the very "book inside the book", I mean

    , since it's presented as an electronic book. which now it's

    Please, before anything...

    .

    I think that one of the things that one has to keep in mind while reading this book is that it was written in 1979. Having this important factor in perspective, it's quite astonishing the vision of Douglas Adams, the author, presenting a lot of visionary elements, starting with the very "book inside the book", I mean

    , since it's presented as an electronic book. which now it's a very common way to read a lot of books now. Also, he mentioned stuff like "touch-sensitive screens" that yet again, it's now something introduced in our daily lives. Science-Fiction, the good science fiction is defined by being visionary in the moment to be published and a fact, years later. Just like Verne's work predicting events like space rockets and nuclear submarines.

    Obviously, beside the mesmering tecnology stuff that he predicted, the signature style here is his remarkable sense of humor,

    sense of humor. In literature and pop culture in general, there were been unforgettable examples of computers like the cold HAL from

    and the noble K.I.T.T. from

    , also robots like the loyal R2-D2 from

    and the logical robots from

    short story collection. However, nothing of that can prepare you to the experience of meeting "Eddie", the Main Computer of the Heart of Gold spaceship or Marvin, the Paranoid Android. This is one of the best traits of Douglas Adams' wit in the development of artificial intelligence. I wasn't surprised since some months ago, I read

    by Gareth Roberts but based on the

    's unaired script written by Douglas Adams where you find another priceless example of a computer with a personality that only Adams is able to develop. You laugh and laugh with them

    not only because they's funny but also they are truly logical as artifical intelligences in their way to react to situations. Adams' impact of how presenting artificial intelligence can be found too in another novel of

    ,

    by Jonathan Morris, where the author showed how well he learned Adams' lessons.

    I believe that Douglas Adams' involvement in the production of the iconic British sci-fi TV series

    as script editor and writer of three stories, it was fated since I found remarkable similarities on the premises of both works, this novel and the TV series. Both has a peculiar fellow who stole certain machine and along with companions is travelling around. So, it wouldn't a surprise that he got some inspiration since

    was widely known since 1963 specially on its native country, England. Of course, his participation on another British TV institution like

    was a relevant point for Adams to explode his humoristic potential.

    It's possible that people unfamiliar with Adams' work could think that since this is a novel with comedy, they could think that it can't be a "serious" science-fiction book. However, the brilliance of this novel is its capacity of offering smart humor while using scientific concepts like the theory of faster-than-light objects. Even you won't be able to fight against his priceless explanation behind the UFOs' sightings.

    Without spoiling anything, I think that my only reason of getting off a star in my rating of this great novel was its lacking a proper closure. I understand that this the first book in a trilogy of five books (yes, you read correctly, it wasn't a mistake) so the adventures and mysteries will continue in the second book

    . However, it was quite unsettling when you are having the time of your life reading it and the book just stopped to have words. I describe it like that since I didn't feel an ending. It was indeed just like the impossibility of not finding more words in the book. What I can give to Adams is that that was quite

    but in my opinion, quite unlikely way to just "ending" this book.

    Certainly I want to read the rest of this great

    of

    books. (Yes, yet again, you read well, and it isn't a mistake)


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