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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by…
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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1979)

by Douglas Adams

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
31,50859153 (4.21)1 / 1216
After Earth is demolished to make way for a new hyperspatial expressway, Arthur Dent begins to hitch-hike through space.
Recently added byprivate library, SavRaine, brew, gvau, edgecase, BChris1981, tdwatson2, danielcureton, FooBoo732
Legacy LibrariesJuice Leskinen
  1. 312
    Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency / The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams (gandalf_grey)
  2. 2710
    The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (ut.tecum.loquerer, coliemta)
    coliemta: One's more literary and the other more science-fiction-y, but they're both bizarre, hilarious and similar in feel. Most people who like one will enjoy the other.
  3. 151
    The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy : Science Fiction :: The Color of Magic : Fantasy
  4. 163
    Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Good Omens is uneven in writing quality, but the flippant interactions between some of the angels and demons very much reminds me of Douglas Adams.
  5. 153
    The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut (girlunderglass, catfantastic)
    girlunderglass: before The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - more than 20 years before it - there was THIS book about space travel, time travel, and the "ultimate answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything". Adams certainly borrowed a lot from Vonnegut.
  6. 121
    Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers by Grant Naylor (Konran)
  7. 101
    Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi (mcenroeucsb)
  8. 127
    The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett (Nikkles)
  9. 1611
    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (souloftherose)
    souloftherose: Although Neverwhere and The Hitchhiker's Guide (THHG) are different genres (the first is urban fantasy, the second comic science-fiction) I felt there was a lot of similarity between the characters of Richard Mayhew (in Neverwhere) and Arthur Dent (in THHG). Both are a kind of everyman with whom the reader can identify and both embody a certain 'Britishness'. And they're both stonkingly good books by British authors.… (more)
  10. 21
    Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett (SandraArdnas)
  11. 32
    John Dies at the End by David Wong (fundevogel)
  12. 77
    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (wvlibrarydude)
    wvlibrarydude: Satire and humor that will split your gut. Read if you want to laugh at humanity.
  13. 11
    The Sheriff of Yrnameer by Michael Rubens (MyriadBooks)
  14. 00
    The Probability Broach by L. Neil Smith (fulner)
    fulner: Probability broach is the story of a 20th century PI who investigates a murder that stumbles him into a place that isn't quite what it appears to be. The broach is equivalent to a Stargate or a demonstrate traveling whale.
  15. 00
    Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente (Cora-R)
  16. 01
    Alles außer irdisch by Horst Evers (Camaho)
  17. 01
    Year Zero by Rob Reid (aethercowboy)
    aethercowboy: Year Zero is a humorous science fiction book that pokes liberal fun at the current state of music copyright, but also tells a hilarious story in the process about aliens obsessed with Earth music (except for North Korea).
  18. 01
    Doorways in the Sand by Roger Zelazny (WildMaggie)
  19. 01
    Martians, Go Home by Fredric Brown (fougny)
  20. 01
    Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams (Waldstein)
    Waldstein: Douglas Adams's true masterpiece, albeit one of non-fiction. Far wittier and more profound than The Guide.

(see all 35 recommendations)

1970s (1)
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Showing 1-5 of 558 (next | show all)
It's easy to see why this book is a classic. I loved it, and can't figure out why I waited this long to read it. ( )
  FooBoo732 | Jun 5, 2020 |
I'm a firm believer that every budding reader ought to read this book first so they can be utterly and completely ruined for literature for the rest of their lives.

Of course, if you're an older reader, with experience and verve when it comes to words, you might also be completely ruined for literature for the rest of your life, too, but I'm not counting you. In fact, I don't care about you.

I have a towel.

And I know how to USE IT. It's almost, but not quite entirely unlike having a clue.


Fortunately, I, myself had been totally ruined for literature early on my life and I think I might have read this book around seven or eight times before I got the idea that nothing else I would ever read would quite stack up to it and afterward, I just decided to become Marvin and assume that the whole world was not quite worth living.

But, again, fortunately, I remembered that I was an Earthling and I could replace most of my cognitive centers with "What?" and get along quite nicely. So that's what I did and ever since I've been reading normal books and saying "What?" quite happily.

You SEE? Happy endings DO happen. As long as you're not a pot of Petunias. Of course, that story would take WAY too long to tell.

I think I want to grab a bite to eat. Maybe I ought to meet the meat.

( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
A true classic and finally a chance to read it. Loved it. Nothing else needs to be said. ( )
  cgfaulknerog | May 28, 2020 |
What is the Earth? A rock, out in the middle of nowhere, on which you may Know (various things that don’t matter). And what is the meaning of life? Well, if you wanted to know, you’d have to ask a computer, and get a number back. (“I can even work out your personality problems to ten decimal places if it will help.” Your problem is 42!) In other words, there is no meaning. And why not? Could this be the greatest of “God’s Greatest Mistakes”? It’s certainly a very painful verisimilitude (‘his laughter tasted of his tears’ Michael Card) that offers itself to our eyes.

Adams is officially an atheist, if you haven’t guessed; specifically he’s the kind that denies meaning in everything—“a whole string of pretty meaningless coincidences”, “all hyper-spatial express routes unnecessary”, etc. Oh, and through the Improbability Drive, meaninglessness actually drives the plot!

Yes, I’ve always taken comedy seriously, even when it was my favorite genre, and that’s weird. Granted. I liked figuring out why people accepted or rejected you, and the teary happiness at the end, although I seldom laughed. Actually, I once read this book and liked it, in my 24-news cycle phase. That was before I decided that I hated trying to find meaning in politics, although I am very serious.

Anyway, the major theme is clearly meaninglessness. Fate is in the hands of unfeeling bureaucrats—there’s a veritable succession of them; there are many many characters who are “bureaucratic, officious and callous”. The best response, it seems, is to make fun, to care nothing for everything. Adams uses humor as a distancing technique, thus turning personal pain into a more grandiose cosmic thing. There’s a whole galaxy full of unfeeling bureaucrats who care nothing for you.

Too much meaninglessness though, makes you numb, so that the destruction of the whole world starts to look like just one big laff.

It’s a little bit like a drink, I know, and some people like to laugh over their drink.

And many people are skittish about meaning, because of the danger of false meaning, and people who come across as liars with bad tempers, or wannabe tyrants.

But even the meaningless: I mean, this sort of thing, the official atheist’s guide to the scientifically entertaining, does mean something to many new wave sorts of people, so in that sense it’s meaningful. “I’m the rock star president of the galaxy, and I’m a neurotic robot, and I’m British. Oh my. Well, whatever.” But it’s still somebody’s statement about themselves.

I’m going to cut a paragraph or two about the abstract value of meaning and skip to my more indirect treatment.

I like the Narnia books, as you might have guessed. I wanted a different flavor of adventure story; the next time I want that I might re-read Harry Potter as it’s almost as secular as this (racism is bad) and not nearly as meaningless (racism is bad!). Or maybe one of Graham Greene’s spy stories—I don’t believe in classifying stories by their technological particulars. Zaphod and Trillian belong in a spy story, actually; it’s the meaningless story of the President of the Galaxy and his girl, the One Woman, the ‘ten’! Actually, Tricia McMillan—great name for a pretty girl, I guess—isn’t so much a girl as a voice in a guy’s head, like Number Six from “Battlestar Galactica”. Actually, that showy sci-fi-atica of it, the fake science—Adams, I don’t remember enough to say about Ronald D. Moore, really—but yeah, ‘Zaphod Beeblebrox’ and all the intentionally ugly and meaningless names, is a real pill. Realism of externals is not the issue for me, and for ‘adventure’ a certain sort of departure is the goal, but flat characters are a problem. Indeed, since there’s no real danger, no emotional danger, and therefore no development, basically all he does is juxtapose one cipher for himself after another and repeatedly declare, All is meaningless. (He repeats it as nauseam, and he never faces down the specter of meaning, so to speak, the way other stories face down the specter of meaninglessness.)

Of course, I’m not trying to generalize, as the argument would naturally be weaker if many or most of the details were different. Maybe some other official atheist wrote an adventure story and made it work, although I doubt that it was about meaninglessness and I doubt still more strongly that it had the same contempt for the things in the old high school literature book, (“poetry”), and all that sort of thing. Probably not so much about drinking, too, or at least not in such an angry, dismissive way.

I mean, the whole book, (aside from being a meaninglessness manifesto), is essentially a long list of things he doesn’t like, everything from both not being pleasant (not a gourmet) to being pleasant (like a computer).

Basically, don’t be old wave (cop/secretary/literary critic). Drink!

And I know what he’s trying to say, but some people are officious and do like food and drink. What’s the point of being a doctor—part of it is to eat at great restaurants. I’m not commenting on whether they’re great people or not, but as to whether it’s great writing—well, it’s a laff over a stereotype.

“How did he think of so many throwaway lines? The genius!”

It’s actually a lot like “Family Guy”. (Maybe Family Guy is better; one just reminds me of the other.) “Brian, this is a lot like the time the Vl’hurgs went to war.” *twenty minutes later* “Stewie, what does that have to do with the story.” “C’mon Brian, there’s no story; you know that.”

Why not? Sorry, you just can’t ask those questions.... Say, do I get paid now?

It’s also not great food writing.
  goosecap | May 20, 2020 |
Highly amusing classic sci-fi about what happens to the lone Earthman left alive after the destruction of the Earth. Full of fun geek quotes, but also incredibly well crafted. The one thing I was taken aback by is that I had forgotten how abruptly it ends. ( )
  ca.bookwyrm | May 18, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 558 (next | show all)
Humorous science fiction novels have notoriously limited audiences; they tend to be full of ''in'' jokes understandable only to those who read everything from Jules Verne to Harlan Ellison. The ''Hitchhiker's Guide'' is a delightful exception, being written for anyone who can understand the thrill that might come to a crew of interstellar explorers who discover a mysterious planet, dead for five million years, and then hear on their ''sub etha'' radio a ghostly voice, hollow, reedy, insubstantial: ''Greetings to you. ... This is a recorded announcement, as I'm afraid we're all out at the moment. ...''
 

» Add other authors (31 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Adams, Douglasprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burton, JonathanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cross, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davies, Russell TForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fry, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Irineu da Costa, CarlosTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, TerryIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Markkula, PekkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Molnár, IstvánTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schwarz, BenjaminTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Serra, LauraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stamp, RobbieAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thole, KarelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tidholm, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wright, IanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
潤, 風見Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Don't Panic
Dedication
for
Johnny Brock and Clare Gorst
and all other Arlingtonians
for tea, sympathy, and a sofa
First words
Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow star.
Quotations
Don't Panic
If there's anything more important than my ego around here, I want it caught and shot now.
The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't.
For thousands of years, the mighty ships tore across the empty wastes of space and finally dived screaming on to the first planet they came across—which happened to be the Earth—where due to a terrible miscalculation of scale the entire battle fleet was accidentally swallowed by a small dog.
Life! Don't talk to me about life.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
[Book 1 Only] "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" is the title of the first in a series of novels (as well as the first in a series of radio dramas). The five works in the series are generally referred to as "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" or "The Hitchhiker Trilogy", as is the series of radio dramas. Though there are unabridged audio recordings of these works, the radio dramas are considerably different from the printed works. Eoin Colfer, of "Artemis Fowl" fame, contracted in 2008 to write the next volume of the "Trilogy." Do not combine it with the graphic novel adaptation.
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Information from the Hungarian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Haiku summary
Arthur's drab lifestyle/The answer is forty two/What is the question?
(hreilly)
Wet, McKenna muttered
A curse up to God;
The clouds laughed.
Shall we hitchhike space?

Let's, for to stay here on Earth

Is mostly harmless.

(benscripps)

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