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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
31,64259754 (4.21)1 / 1219
After Earth is demolished to make way for a new hyperspatial expressway, Arthur Dent begins to hitch-hike through space.
  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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English (563)  Italian (8)  French (5)  Dutch (3)  German (2)  Danish (2)  Slovak (2)  Finnish (2)  Spanish (2)  Portuguese (1)  Polish (1)  Catalan (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Hebrew (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (595)
Showing 1-5 of 563 (next | show all)
Seriously I have been begged by friends to read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for years. I initially tried to watch the movie and got bored and never finished it years ago. This book is the equivalent of watching a dark comedy. I laughed out loud several times and though the lack of character development by the two leads, numerous information dumps, and the issue with reading the footnotes on my Kindle were problematic, I did not lower my rating for the book and just kept it at five stars.

For those that don't know, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was created as a radio comedy broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1978, it was later adapted to other formats, and over several years it gradually became an international multi-media phenomenon.

The plot of this book is kind of all over the place but it works if you don't delve too deeply into things. The main characters are Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect. Arthur is an earthling from England and Ford is an alien who conducts research for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Along the way we meet some other characters but in my opinion Arthur and Ford are the two main characters. When we initially meet Arthur we have him arguing against having his house bulldozed and is whisked away by Ford. What happens afterwards is just a really good time.

I will just say that usually if a book had the problems I mentioned above I would rate it probably a 2.5 or 3. However, the dark comedy aspect of this book saves it. It goes from drama to humor and a fuse of both at certain times that you feel sad and then want to laugh.

First, we are pretty light in terms of character development for Arthur and Ford. I still don't get Ford's motivation to help and save Arthur. Also we don't really get a chance to know Arthur since we have so much other stuff happening.

Second, the book is broken up by excerpts from the Guide with explanations of aliens or terms. It was a clever way to info dump readers but after the first few times the novelty wore off.

Third, since I was reading this book via my Kindle there are some footnotes to this book that when I clicked on them took me right away to the footnote. However, when I would try to click back I couldn't. So I had to go back and find my place each and every time which got on my nerves.

This book was really funny to me and I enjoyed it. I know that there are additional books in this series and maybe when I have time I will read and finish them ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
i am not the audience for this, so i guess i liked it about as well as could be expected considering that. there are some positives, for sure, but this isn't the kind of thing i usually go for, and british humor is generally largely over my head. i do like that buried in it are some real philosophical questions, but at the same time those don't seem the point of the book. (it kind of seemed that there wasn't a point to the book at all. although i guess, really, his point is that there isn't a grand point to life, to the universe. that we try to make something - meaning - out of random occurrences that really don't mean anything) maybe i would have liked it better with some actual character development, or if it was held more tightly together by the characters and the plot. it's a bit too loose and disconnected for me as it is. some of the writing, though, i did like, and i suspect it's what most appeals to other people in this book. the sort of circular thinking that comes up here and there reminded me of catch-22, in a good way (although catch-22, of course, is the master class in that kind of writing).

i thought it was interesting that he basically predicted wikipedia (except a talking version) way back in 1979, so that's pretty cool.

the idea of the philosophers going on strike because computers could solve all the questions of the universe actually made me laugh. that's probably my favorite part, imagining that. and it was funny that he made fun of the coincidences that pop up throughout literature. i do like some of what he's doing here, and i suspect that i'll like this better when i'm away from it, as it was pleasant enough, but there isn't much of a real purpose to it otherwise. i like it much more in theory than in reality.

"...it invariably delivered a liquid that tasted almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea."

"...I always think that the chances of finding out what really is going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is say hang the sense of it and just keep yourself occupied." ( )
  overlycriticalelisa | Jun 29, 2020 |
Fast paced comedy!

Fairly enjoyed this first part of the series. The comedy throughout reminded me of Terry Pratchett's Discworld, very fast paced & witty. I enjoyed all the characters especially Marvin the depressed, paranoid Android.

Would recommend to anyone who wants a fast paced read. ( )
  kymisan | Jun 23, 2020 |
I've tried to read this a couple of times in the past and failed, simply because I just don't think it's as great as its reputation would suggest. This time I was determined to finish, but doing so didn't change my overall opinion of the book. I agree that it's clever in places, but sometimes it feels like it's trying too HARD to be clever.

That said, I am extremely hard to please when it comes to fantasy and sci-fi fiction, so my opinion should probably be taken with a grain of salt.
1 vote Tara_Calaby | Jun 22, 2020 |
Shorter than I remembered, and I think I get the plot mixed up with the plot from the movie, but still so delightfully hilarious and thoughtful. So many lines that stick out in my mind through time, and are still funny and striking however many years later. Just really lovely to revisit this story and laugh all over again. ( )
  aijmiller | Jun 18, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 563 (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, DouglasAuthorprimary 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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Don't Panic
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.
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?
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.


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