Customer Reviews


205 Reviews
5 star:
 (71)
4 star:
 (52)
3 star:
 (27)
2 star:
 (32)
1 star:
 (23)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mostly funny, but rather grim in the end
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...
Published on December 24, 2002 by Daniel Jolley

versus
36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A horrific catastrophic experience
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...
Published on June 6, 1999


‹ Previous | 1 221 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mostly funny, but rather grim in the end, December 24, 2002
This review is from: Mostly Harmless (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) (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. It might be said that this is Random's story, but all she really does is provide the means by which the principal actors Ford, Arthur, and Trillian are eventually brought together for the final conclusion.
Adams did do an impressive job of bringing things together in the end-characters and situations not only from this novel itself but from the start of the whole Hitchhiker's saga (think Vogons). Why a pesky number of loose threads were allowed to hang out, though, while so much work went into resolving other looming storylines, is beyond me and did much to mar the satisfaction I got from the rather abrupt, unfortunate conclusion. I am particularly bothered by the fact that Fenchurch, a character important enough for Adams to have written the entire fourth novel about, is summarily dismissed with little thought and even little grief from Arthur Dent himself. I should not complain about the way Adams chose to end this delightful series of novels of his own imaginative creation, yet I cannot help feeling disappointed if not a little cheated by the way in which everything ended. All in all, while I did enjoy parts of this book immensely, I would rather have ended things with the happy note of So Long, and Thanks For all the Fish, and be left free to imagine what kinds of messes Ford and Arthur might be getting themselves into somewhere in the universe and wondering what really ever happened to Trillian and Zaphod.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A horrific catastrophic experience, June 6, 1999
By A Customer
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?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Action, humour, SF satire and post-modern philosophy, December 31, 2003
This review is from: Mostly Harmless (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) (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. But when you start to exercise those rules, all sorts of processes start to happen and you start to find out all sorts of stuff about people. In astrology the rules happen to be about stars and planets, but they could be about ducks and drakes for all the difference it would make. It's just a way of thinking about a problem which lets the shape of that problem begin to emerge. The more rules, the tinier the rules, the more arbitrary they are, the better. It's like throwing a handful of fine graphite dust on a piece of paper to see where the hidden indentations are. It lets you see the words that were written on the piece of paper above it that's now been taken away and hidden. The graphite's not important. It's just the means of revealing the indentations. So you see, astrology's nothing to do with astronomy. It's just to do with people thinking about people."

`Discuss', huh.

Yet another author struggles to reconcile loss of faith in major, particularly religious, concepts of truth with the inner conviction that there are important, good and beautiful things all around - that it's not all just meaningless.

And it is a struggle, as in the climax (spoiler warning) Trillian explains to her traumatised daughter who desperately wants to know who she is, where her home is, where she `fits':
This is not your home ... You don't have one. We none of us have one. Hardly anyone has one anymore. The missing ship I was just talking about. The people of that ship don't have a home. They don't know where they are from. The don't even have any memory of who they are or what they are for. The are very lost and very confused and very frightened.

Yeah, ha ha, good one Douglas - hardly Wodehouse light humour. Human condition anyone? I wonder if Adams and Pratchett self-consciously have wanted to be taken `seriously'? I could see that it could be frustrating for them to be dismissed as merely lightweight because they're so popular. They often contain more articulate thought than works by more academic writers, and shouldn't be seen as lesser merely because they happen to also be very good at amusing and entertaining (quite the opposite). That being said, their books should also come with a flyleaf caveat: "Warning - strong post-modern agenda permeates the following jokes".
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Looks pretty harmfull to me..., August 12, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Mostly Harmless (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) (Mass Market Paperback)
It all started so great, sigh.... The original Hitchhicker's guide was awesome. My mom hates Sci-Fi and even she picked that one up. "Mostly Harmless", though, is something entirely different. I guess that Adams should have stopped with the series after "So long and thanks for all the fish". The first parts with Ford Prefect and his exploits with Collin the security robot were rather good, but after he met up with Arthur Dent again things took a turn for the worst, although things had alread gone bad after Trillian and Arthurs daughter showed up. In the main part of the book the great, typical Adams sense of humor is replaced by a weak attempt to write a semi-serious(family) drama with random outburst of rather corny jokes.
In short: this novel is a greater disaster than the final destrucion of planet/supercomputer Earth woul be. Do yourself a favor and don't buy this book. If you have already bought it, burn it and burry it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars With Love To DNA, This Book Is Mostly Unnecessary, May 24, 2002
This review is from: Mostly Harmless (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) (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.I have on my bookshelf a "complete" hardcover edition of "The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy" that only goes up through "So Long And Thanks For All The Fish." That's fine with me. To me, "So Long" IS the definitive ending of the series. I just don't feel it was necessary for Douglas Adams to extend the story any further. Don't get me wrong, I greatly mourn the man, and I will always treasure his other works of genius, but "Mostly Harmless," for me, came up short. My advice: read the "Hitchhiker's" series through book four ONLY, and you will get a much more satisfying conclusion. But the misstep that is "Mostly Harmless" takes nothing away from the man's great literary gifts---and great laughs---that he gave us throughout his incredible writing career. So long, Douglas, and thanks for all the fish.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars My rating is one, because there is no zero rating., April 22, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Mostly Harmless (Audio Cassette)
This book is the most mindnumbing, hackneyed, putrescent piece of garbage I have ever read. I read this book with an expectation that Douglas Adams at his worst is merely wildly entertaining. This book has actual negative value. Not only was the time spent reading it wasted, but it retroactively wiped out all of my enjoyment of the other books in the series. I don't know why he wrote this book. He took a wonderful quirky set of stories and turned them into a moral that no one wants to here: "The evil, stupid bureaucrats always win." If you love the Hitchhiker's stories, avoid this book at all costs.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars the King, the Sandwich Maker and the Restaurant Critic..., July 30, 2002
This review is from: Mostly Harmless (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) (Mass Market Paperback)
After the grand final act of "So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish," I had a foreboding about even picking up the new finale--"Mostly Harmless." My foreboding served me well.
Do not think for a second that I would wish to have even one less sentence from the hand of the late Douglas Adams...heavens no. I only wish this had been another Dirk Gently book instead of a sometimes hilariously funny, yet all-too serious demolition of the happy ending of "So Long and Thanks for All the Fish."
Alas.
Gone are Marvin (who dies at the end of the fourth book) and Fenchurch. In their stead we gain another Trilian (Patricia Macmillan actually), her daughter--Random Dent, and an unshakably happy robot named Colin. While I like Colin quite a bit, I could do without the other two.
In fact, I love the whole Ford Prefect storyline. Anything to do with Random is weighed down by too much maddened grimness (I think I just invented a word there...no matter).
The King, The Sandwich Maker,the Restaurant Critic and the credit card almost make this story bearable. They do not, however, make for a fitting conclusion to the Hitchhiker's trilogy.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mostly Awful, November 4, 1998
By A Customer
For fans of the original, this book will break your heart. None of the pure joyous fun that made the original "Hitchhiker's Guide" so great are contained in any way in these pages. After reading the book, I couldn't help but think, "What was Adams thinking!?". Is this a cruel trick on his fans? Is he just so cynical and burnt out that he just doesn't care what he publishes?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's the end... but the moment has been prepared for, December 23, 2000
This book is unquestionably the definitive END of the Hitchhikers series. And because the end is so sudden, it's bound to upset many long-time Hitchhiker fans. The best part about this book is that even though it has such a down ending, it doesn't lack the humor or sardonic tone of the previous books. In fact, if anything else, it increases the sense of irony of its predescessors by driving home the underlying message of the previous books with its finality. If anything, it's too short, and the plot threads that were introduced could have been better developed, but given the ending, it's not surprising that they're not.

In many ways, Adams's writing skills have matured over the past 4 volumes of the series. In this book, we see very little of the minor flaws of the early installments, such as pointless dialogue and digressions. His characterization is better here, and the plot elements are interwoven more intricately. Throughout the book, several seemingly unrelated storylines wind along to converge at the end where Adams can put a big CLOSED stamp on the whole story. I thought there were quite a number of laugh-out-loud funny parts to it.

One of the best parts of this story is the sudden and pointless ending. Throughout the whole series, there has been the quest to discover the meaning of a meaningless universe. Each time the characters find a lead to the meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything, it turns out to be a disappointment. So what better ending for a series about the fruitless search for meaning than the one Adams gave to this book?

If no one else did, at least Ford Prefect saw the humor of it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not even worth checking out of the library, January 13, 1997
By A Customer
The first three Hitchhikers books are probably the most hilarious books I have ever read. The fourth, _So Long and Thanks for all the Fish_ was a great disappointment, and lacked the brilliant spark of the first three. _Mostly Harmless_ is mean spirited and largely devoid of humor. I think Adams not only has lost interest in these books, but has lost his muse. Sad to see him writing such junk as _Mostly_, I would presume just for the money. I felt cheated for buying this book, and I cannot even recommend checking it out of the library, as surely your time must be worth something
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 221 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Mostly Harmless (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)
Mostly Harmless (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) by Douglas Adams (Mass Market Paperback - February 1, 2000)
$7.99 $7.19
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.