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The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide by Douglas…
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The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide (original 1992; edition 1996)

by Douglas Adams

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,114362,599 (4.36)10
Member:mentatjack
Title:The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide
Authors:Douglas Adams
Info:Wings (1996), Edition: Complete & Unabridged, Hardcover, 832 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:None

Work details

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy : A Trilogy in Five Parts by Douglas Adams (1992)

Recently added byaligeekay, Anjalibk, Breanne_Long, antao, aligarf, private library, SoreHead, _ImAnAdult, NikolajL
  1. 90
    Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett (ShelfMonkey)
  2. 60
    The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time by Douglas Adams (jabberwockiness)
    jabberwockiness: Published posthumously - drabbles from Douglas Adams himself. Enjoy!
  3. 30
    Douglas Adams's Starship Titanic by Terry Jones (dagnirath)
  4. 20
    Going Bovine by Libba Bray (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: Improbable road trips while dealing with the End of Everything.
  5. 10
    Astrotruckers by Mikael Niemi (andejons)
    andejons: Similarly absurd stories set in space, even if Niemi has more grime.
  6. 10
    Don't Panic: The Official Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Companion by Neil Gaiman (antihero)
    antihero: This is a great book about the life of Douglas Adams, with a focus on all things Hitchhiker.
  7. 00
    Dimension of Miracles by Robert Sheckley (pratchettfan)
    pratchettfan: Dimension of Miracles of Miracles and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy share the same mindset of strange, intelligent and witty sci-fi. If you loved one of them you'll love the other too!
  8. 00
    The Ultimate Inferior Beings by Mark Roman (rretzler)
    rretzler: Science fiction with a dry wit.
  9. 00
    Smith by Mike Devlin (tottman)
    tottman: Both have a wacky, offbeat sense of humor and adventure. They tell tales of fish-out-of-water earthmen on hilarious romps across the universe.
  10. 01
    Wilt by Tom Sharpe (kullfarr)
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English (30)  Swedish (3)  Norwegian (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All languages (36)
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
The way I (probably mistakenly) see it, the answer 42 represents a view of cheery perfection. It's almost as though it is trying to be as divisible as possible simply to be helpful. Even its name is annoyingly perky. It is the number which represents what the established order (notably religion) has told us represents the universe. It is the number of order, sense and reason. Neither 6 nor 9 nor 54 are particularly welcoming numbers. Douglas Adams seems to like this view of the world. Just like Sirius Cybernetics, we're sold the idea of something being perfect and flawless whereas we all know (even if we are reluctant to truly accept it) that the reality does not match it.

I also wrote the “perfect sonnet”:

Sonnet 42

That thou hast her, it is not all my grief,
And yet it may be said I loved her dearly;
That she hath thee, is of my wailing chief,
A loss in love that touches me more nearly.
Loving offenders, thus I will excuse ye:
Thou dost love her, because thou knowst I love her;
And for my sake even so doth she abuse me,
Suffering my friend for my sake to approve her.
If I lose thee, my loss is my love's gain,
And losing her, my friend hath found that loss;
Both find each other, and I lose both twain,
And both for my sake lay on me this cross:
But here's the joy; my friend and I are one;
Sweet flattery! Then she loves but me alone.

By MySelfie, the Flatulent Shakespeare

(Bought in 1994)

NB: At the risk of being jumped on and beaten up by everyone who hates such things being mentioned, there is another lovely coincidence here to do with the number 42, and that is that in cultures all over the world 42 is the number of Creation. The Jews believe 42 is the number of permutations of the letters of the name of God with which the Universe was brought into being and in China, both the Tao Te Ching and the I Ching discuss the creation of the Universe in their 42nd chapters. In ancient Egypt, 42 was the number linked to the Goddess Maat (Wisdom) who was the personification of the idea of balance and harmony the Egyptians thought upheld the Cosmos. I offer this up as a piece of anthropological information which makes a nice coincidence for Douglas Adams, whose books I have loved since a child, and not as something which suggests we should all bow to the Pope, become orthodox Jews or take up Taoism, in case anyone starts frothing at the mouth. I just thought it was fun that Adams, in thinking he had come up with a joke comment on the futility of trying to come up with an answer to the question of the meaning of the Universe landed upon the one number which traditionally has been all about the meaning of the Universe! I had always believed that Douglas Adams chose "42" since it was (but no longer is) the Hubble constant. If the number was below 42 then the universe ends in big crunch, greater than 42 we expand into infinite nothingness, but at 42 the universe will reach a state of equilibrium. However the number has been subject to revision and is steadily crawling closer to 43 which (imho) is the ultimate number .... ( )
  antao | Sep 12, 2018 |
yup... it's a five book trilogy! ( )
  tenamouse67 | Jul 21, 2018 |
At the time it was published (1985) this was the complete collection of the book version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, consisting of the original book versions of The Hitchhiker's Guide, followed by The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, followed by Life, the Universe and Everything. Even when this omnibus was published, more material was in the works, and eventually there were additional volumes. Also, as Douglas Adams explains in a very helpful introduction, these books were only loosely based on the original scripts of the wonderful BBC radio shows, and by the time this collection came out there was also a TV version which followed the framework of the radio shows but incorporated material from the books Things only got more complicated after that. However, the key point is that all the various forms of the story were wildly funny, though occasionally bittersweet. The beginning involves a man named Arthur Dent trying to stop his house being bulldozed for a bypass, only to be told by his neighbor Ford Prefect (who happens to be an alien) that the entire planet Earth is to be demolished to make way for an interstellar bypass. The two of them just manage to escape and are off on a series of bizarre adventures, sometimes illuminated by the Guide, for which Prefect is a researcher for a potential updated edition.. ( )
  antiquary | Dec 27, 2017 |
To this date, I've read this "trilogy" three times, and I've never read it any other way than an omnibus like this edition. One of the charming things about Douglas' writing is the subtle humor of it... it never gets old. A thick edition of Dent-Arthur-Dent's story is not daunting. The only thing that bothers me about it is when I want to re-read just the bit about the Rain King, I can never remember if it's in [So Long and Thanks for all the Fish] or [Life, the Universe, and Everything]....

That said, even if you aren't keen on Arthur or Trillian or Random, you'll love the minor sub-characters. This "trilogy" is fun, engrossing, and worthy of a re-read or two. One of my personal favorites. ( )
1 vote Morteana | Dec 4, 2015 |
I re-read book 1 in January 2015, followed by book 2 in August, and books 3 and 4 in October. I read the fifth book, which I hadn't read before, in January 2016.

The added extras after each book are interesting, but I had to my read them on my iPad mini as they included press clippings in fonts too small to read on my Kindle.

1) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (5 stars)

'If I asked you where the hell we were,' said Arthur weakly, 'would I regret it?'
Ford stood up. 'We're safe,' he said.
'Oh good,' said Arthur.
'We're in a small galley cabin,' said Ford, 'in one of the spaceships of the Vogon Constructor Fleet.'
'Ah', said Arthur, 'this is obviously some strange usage of the word safe that I wasn't previously aware of.'


I've been a fan of HHGG ever since listening to the original radio series on BBC Radio 4. It has been one of my favourite books ever since, and although I chose a quotation from early in the book, it is equally funny all the way through.

2) The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (4 stars)

‘Here we are,’ continued Zaphod doggedly, ‘standing dead in this desolate . . .’
'Five star,’ said Trillian.
'Restaurant,’ concluded Zaphod.
'Odd, isn’t it?’ said Ford.
'Er, yeah.’
‘Nice chandeliers though,’ said Trillian.
They looked about themselves in bemusement.
‘It’s not so much an afterlife,’ said Arthur, ‘more a sort of après vie.’


The second book in the series is a slow starter and I found Zaphod's trip to the Frog Star really quite tedious, but it gets a lot more amusing when they arrive at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, and ends strongly after Zaphod and Ford foolishly decide to steal a strange black ship with black controls that are labelled in black and light up black when you press them.

3) Life, the Universe and Everything (3.5 stars)

"One of the interesting things about space," Arthur heard Slartibartfast saying to a large and voluminous creature who looked like someone losing a fight with a pink duvet and was gazing raptly at the old man's deep eyes and silver beard, "is how dull it is."
"Dull?" said the creature, and blinked her rather wrinkled and bloodshot eyes.
"Yes," said Slartibartfast, "staggeringly dull. Bewilderingly so. You see, there's so much of it and so little in it. Would you like me to quote you some statistics?"
"Er, well..."
"Please, I would like to. They, too, are quite sensationally dull."
"I'll come back and hear them in a moment," she said, patted him on the arm, lifted up her skirts like a hovercraft and moved off into the heaving crowd.
"I thought she'd never go," growled the old man. "Come, Earthman . . ."


This is my least favourite book in the series, as the Krikkit/cricket/Wikkit Gate/wicket stuff gets a bit tedious at times, and although Slartibartfast is always good value, I prefer it when the four main characters are together.

4) So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (5 stars)

There was no mistake, there couldn’t have been. The Earth had definitely been destroyed. Definitely, definitely. Boiled away into space. And yet here – he activated the Guide again – was his own entry on how you would set about having a good time in Bournemouth, Dorset, England, which he had always prided himself on as being one of the most baroque pieces of invention he had ever delivered. He read it again and shook his head in sheer wonder. Suddenly he realized what the answer to the problem was, and it was this, that something very weird was happening; and if something very weird was happening, he thought, he wanted it to be happening to him. He stashed the Guide back in his satchel and hurried out on to the street again.

I had completely forgotten which book the lorry driver rain god was from, so I was delighted to come across him giving a lift to Arthur. This is one of my favourite books of the series as Arthur tries to pick up his old life again, but finds it all rather a bit dull, until he meets a girl who doesn't think that the Vogons destroying the earth was a shared hallucination.

5) Mostly Harmless (4 stars)

‘You don’t understand! There’s a whole new Guide!’ ‘Oh!’ shouted Arthur again. ‘Oh! Oh! Oh! I’m incoherent with excitement! I can hardly wait for it to come out to find out which are the most exciting spaceports to get bored hanging about in in some globular cluster I’ve never heard of. Please, can we rush to a store that’s got it right this very instant?’ Ford narrowed his eyes. ‘This is that thing you call sarcasm, isn’t it?’

This is the only book in the 'trilogy' that I hadn't read before, although I vaguely remembered Random and the two Trillians from the radio series. After years travelling the galaxy, Arthur finally settles down and finds a job that really suits him, but some old friends come calling, and his new life is turned upside down. The ending is downbeat and a surprisingly sad way to end one of the funniest series ever written. ( )
1 vote isabelx | Jan 21, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Adams, Douglasprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lindgren, NilleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Markkula, PekkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saarikivi, JukkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tidholm, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Jonny 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 sun.
Quotations
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Collected Books 1-5 Only. This omnibus does NOT include the short story "Young Zaphod Plays it Safe". This is NOT the Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide.
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Book description
Set including 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy', 'The Restaurant at the End of the Universe', 'Life, The Universe and Everything', 'So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish' and 'Mostly Harmless'.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0739410121, Hardcover)

Contents: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; The Restaurant at the End of the Universe; Life, the Universe and Everything; So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish; Mostly Harmless.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:07 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Guided by the greatest reference book in the Universe, "The Hitch Hiker's guide to the Galaxy", Arthur Dent travels through the universe in his dressing gown, accompanied by Ford Prefect and Marvin the Paranoid Android, in a random search for the meaning of life.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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