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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
38,49771758 (4.2)2 / 1335
After Earth is demolished to make way for a new hyperspatial expressway, Arthur Dent begins to hitch-hike through space.
  1. 402
    Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency / The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams (gandalf_grey)
  2. 233
    Good Omens 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.
  3. 2911
    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.
  4. 181
    The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy : Science Fiction :: The Color of Magic : Fantasy
  5. 194
    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. 131
    Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers by Grant Naylor (Konran)
  7. 131
    Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi (mcenroeucsb)
  8. 138
    The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett (Nikkles)
  9. 51
    Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett (SandraArdnas)
  10. 1713
    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)
  11. 20
    Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Douglas Adams's true masterpiece, albeit one of non-fiction. Far wittier and more profound than The Guide.
  12. 43
    John Dies at the End by David Wong (fundevogel)
  13. 10
    The Frugal Wizard's Handbook for Surviving Medieval England by Brandon Sanderson (XRayBlaster006)
  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. 11
    The Sheriff of Yrnameer by Michael Rubens (MyriadBooks)
  16. 01
    Martians, Go Home by Fredric Brown (fougny)
  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. 34
    The Wish List by Eoin Colfer (missmaddie)
    missmaddie: Follow the unlikely hero through a tongue-in-cheek, sci-fi adventure
  20. 89
    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (wvlibrarydude)
    wvlibrarydude: Satire and humor that will split your gut. Read if you want to laugh at humanity.

(see all 37 recommendations)

1970s (2)
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» See also 1335 mentions

English (672)  Italian (10)  French (5)  Portuguese (Brazil) (3)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (3)  German (2)  Finnish (2)  Danish (2)  Norwegian (1)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  Slovak (1)  Hebrew (1)  Portuguese (1)  Polish (1)  All languages (709)
Showing 1-5 of 672 (next | show all)
Always worth a re-read every so often. :) ( )
  jilldugaw | Jan 27, 2024 |
3.5⭐️ This book is like the screwiest of screwball comedies, set in space and complete with a robot that has the personality of Eeyore. There really isn’t much plot or character development but the writing is so hilarious and full of little brain tickles that I didn’t really mind. ( )
  erindarlyn | Jan 25, 2024 |
Rereading this book a second time some ten years later, I did not like it at all. ( )
  MXMLLN | Jan 12, 2024 |
I don't understand why this book is so hyped in nerd culture. It has its moments, but it's not really amusing. ( )
  snare | Dec 13, 2023 |
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is the first of five books in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy comedy science fiction series written by the one and only Douglas Adams. The novel is an adaptation of the first four parts of Adams' radio series of the same name. It is perhaps one of the most beloved British science-fiction books of all time, one that combines humor with absurd but often acute observations on issues of materialism, the nature of existence, and the role of bureaucracy. You probably know the plot of its somewhat meandering story of Arthur Dent and Ford Perfect, the famous space wayfarers of the series.

In any incarnation, the Guide follows a befuddled and homeless earthling named Arthur Dent as he tries to navigate a universe filled with hyperintelligent but depressed androids, sentient mattresses, multiple dimensions, extremely bad customer service, mice trying to steal human brains to figure out the ultimate question that will explain the meaning of life the universe and everything, and so on and so forth. It's wacky, brilliant, and often, as all satire does, sheds light on the human condition: mainly how we can be so naive and futile.

The series is beloved and, for all its absurdity, predicted several bits of modern technology with spooky prescience. The Guide the series is named after sounds a lot like Wikipedia. The Babel Fish software that translates foreign websites for you is named after a species of fish that Adams created to help travelers of space translate alien languages.

The book is even insightful into the nature and intersection of celebrity and politics . Adams doesn't muck about with how Beeblebrox became president (and he only stays president long enough to steal a spaceship), but the impression is that everyone was shocked by the whole affair, not least Zaphod. Still it was and is a way to feed his hippie ego. "I freewheel a lot. I get an idea to do something, and, hey, why not, I do it. I reckon I'll become President of the Galaxy, and it just happens, it's easy," he says at one point. "It's like having a Galacticredit card which keeps on working though you never send off the checks." Sounds a bit like Donald Trump and numerous other politicians if you ask me.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a classic. If you haven't read it, give it a shot. It's not everyone cup of tea but if you love British humor, Science Fiction, satire, inspired lunacy, etc. you might just love it. Best enjoyed while drinking a pint of beer and clutching a towel.

remember: DON'T PANIC. ( )
  ryantlaferney87 | Dec 8, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 672 (next | show all)
British humor infuses classic, complex space adventure.

added by vibesandall | editCommon Sense Media, Matt Berman (Feb 6, 2005)
 
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 (30 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Adams, DouglasAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burton, JonathanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cross, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davies, Russell TForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fry, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gaiman, Neilsecondary 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, KarelIllustratorsecondary 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 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.
The house stood on a slight rise just on the edge of the village.          (Chapter 1)
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
This novel "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" is the first novel of a series of novels, and the series has the same title.

The original version of this story is the first series (first broadcast 1978) of the radio programme written by Adams (the radio programme which also has the title "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"). For this 1979 novel by Adams, only the first four episodes of those six episodes were adapted.

Please do not combine it with the graphic novel adaptation.
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After Earth is demolished to make way for a new hyperspatial expressway, Arthur Dent begins to hitch-hike through space.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Seconds before the 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 begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker's Guide ("A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have") and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox--the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod's girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.

Where are these pens? Why are we born? Why do we die? Why do we spend so much time between wearing digital watches? For all the answers stick your thumb to the stars. And don't forget to bring a towel!
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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