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Mostly Harmless Hardcover – October 13, 1992


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Mostly Harmless + Life, the Universe and Everything (Hitchhiker's Trilogy) + The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker's Trilogy)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 5 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; 1st edition (October 13, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517577402
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517577400
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (214 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #884,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ford Prefect, of the planet Betelgeuse, and Earthman Arthur Dent began their whimsical odyssey in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. In Adams' latest book, Ford relies on serendipity and his own quick wits to protect a powerful new edition of the Hitchhiker's Guide from the loathsome, sluglike Vogons. Ford's pal, Arthur, misses his planet and his old flame, Tricia McMillan. The rootless traveler from Earth finds his metier, however, on Lamuella, a world whose people subsist on Perfectly Normal Beast. Adams sets a rapid pace that becomes even more hectic when Arthur is unexpectedly joined by Tricia; her peevish teenage daughter; Ford Prefect; and the travel guide to the stars. The book once looked like a hand-held computer; now it takes the shape of a mechanical talking bird. Using new techniques, this floating device can whisk users through space and time. Thus the scene shifts back to Earth, where the past, present and future braid together. Adams may depend too much on the cliffhanger form. But his ingenious wit still captivates, and his characters frolic through the galaxy with infectious joy.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

“Hitchhiker fans rejoice! . . . [Here’s] more of the same zany nonsensical mayhem.”—New York Times Book Review


“It is Mr. Adams’s genius to hurl readers into a plot that seems to go everywhere and nowhere, then suddenly drop the pieces into place, click, click, click, like tumblers in a lock. . . . Delightful.”—Baltimore Sun



From the Trade Paperback edition. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

More About the Author

Douglas Adams (1952-2001) was the much-loved author of the Hitchhiker's Guides, all of which have sold more than 15 million copies worldwide.

Customer Reviews

And yes, I do like happy endings, and this book does not have one.
Joshua Stein
I just re-read this after re-reading the other books in the series, and I really didn't remember much about it from the first time.
John Howard
Why, you get Mostly Harmless, the fifth book in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams.
Mike

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 24, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It is impossible not to have some mixed feelings about this novel. It does stand as a return to the wild frivolity and cuttingly biting humor of the first three books, yet it is certainly less than upbeat, all things considered. Despite all kinds of evidence to the contrary, I always had the feeling that things would work out, even for poor Arthur Dent-the universe might not make a bit of sense, of course, but these characters I love so much would ultimately at least find a sense of peace if not happiness in some forgotten corner of the cosmos. It's something of a downer to find out this is not really the case. Two characters who very much made up the heart of the series for me, Marvin and Zaphod, are not even present in these pages. Then you have Fenchurch from the fourth book, a character I really came to love, thrown out of the saga like so much spoiled Perfectly Normal Beast meat. It's nice to have Trillian back, albeit in a couple of transdimensional forms, as well as Ford and Arthur, but it's hard to say who the story is really about. Arthur's new life as a Sandwich Maker on a remote planet his ship crashed on is rather pitiful but totally Dent-like. Ford's attempts to undo the tragic consequences of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy company having been taken over by unscrupulous business men is interesting. The introduction of a Tricia McMillan who did not leave the party with Zaphod because she decided to go back for her handbag ends up just muddying the waters of the fictional time stream. Then there is Random, the biological daughter of Arthur Dent by Trillian; she is even more mixed up and generally confused about life than the father she only meets as a teenager dumped by her too-busy mother.Read more ›
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Kettlewell on December 31, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Always a lovely read - Adams is very user friendly. He seems to almost have his own genre of which he and Pratchett are the leading exponents. I can't say I laughed out loud too often (although the picture of a drunken Zaphod sticking a birdcage over his second head and badly pretending to be a pirate is hilarious), but it was a very pleasant ride - even if the conclusion is surprisingly bleak for what feels like a light comedy. Like Pratchett (and there are so many `like Pratchett's, although that's probably in the wrong comparative order) Adams throws in some agnostic themes with his humour, although here the ultimate meaninglessness of life is treated a little less whimsically.

It's an interesting hotchpotch of action (and cutting between various cliff-hanger scenes), philosophy, stand-up comic perspectives of the everyday, domestic sit-com, satirical SF, and Douglas' own pleasure in blithely hurling his characters through six impossible things before breakfast. The plot is surprisingly coherent although occasionally incidental.

I still would almost be surprised if Adams didn't cite Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 as a thematic and stylistic influence. Here he lets his sensible and considerate astrologer state the theme that it doesn't matter so much what you believe in (`truth' is irrelevant), but you need something as a structure, a lens, to enable you to live satisfactorily. Adams unsurprisingly explains this much better:
"I know that astrology isn't a science ... of course it isn't. It's just an arbitrary set of rules like chess or tennis ... The rules just kind of got there. They don't make any kind of sense except in terms of themselves.
Read more ›
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36 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
If there were some laser device I could use to eradicate the memory of this entire novel from my brain, I would use it. I, too, love all of the previous books in the series. When the fact that I loved _So Long and Thanks For All the Fish_ the most is taken into consideration, anyone who's read this will understand why I HATED this one! I have no problem with miserable, defeatist endings (and that's a bit of an exaggeration when applied to this book) but when compared to the whimsical, light-hearted, good-humored satirical tone of the first four this just doesn't fit. It seemed uneccesary to me. I think there should be a warning on the cover...a sort of anti-DON'T PANIC label that lets people who are expecting what the series seemed to be leading to that this is not at all what they were expecting! My advice is, if you loved _So Long...._ for the same reasons I mentioned above, don't bother with this one. Pretend the series ended with number four. And anyone who has read it and feels as bereft as I do, any leads on that memory eradification device?
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Alan Caylow on May 24, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Don't let my 2-star rating for "Mostly Harmless" fool you---I miss Douglas Adams very much. He was a brilliantly funny author, and I'm a huge fan of his first four "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy" books, his pair of "Dirk Gently" books, and his writing for the "Doctor Who" TV series. But sadly, I must confess, I'm not a fan of Adams' final "Hitchhiker's" book, "Mostly Harmless." The reason is simple: the fifth book, in my opinion, is totally unnecessary. Adams originally intended for the fourth book, "So Long And Thanks For All The Fish," to be the definitive final book in the "Hitchhiker's" saga. There's a *reason* why the fourth book has a farewell title to it, folks! And, like the three books that came before it, I totally loved it---I read the entire "So Long And Thanks..." book in a single day, and I thought that it was a marvelous "conclusion" to the adventures of Arthur Dent & company.Then along came "Mostly Harmless," which, by Adams' own admission, he only wrote on a whim---just for fun, in other words. He came up with a way to extend the series for one more book, which I'm sure delighted some "Hitchhiker's" fans, but I, personally, was so disappointed with the direction of it. Arthur's ladylove, Fenchurch, is gone, and now it turns out that he & Trillian had a daughter (though not by natural means), and that's just for starters. Oh, Adams' writing is still sharp, but despite a very humourous adventure with Ford Prefect & a companion robot toward the beginning, the fifth book, to my dismay, turns surprisingly serious. What can I say---this is simply not how I wanted the "Hitchhiker's" saga to end.Read more ›
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