272 of 286 people found the following review helpful
Plush Inspired Lunacy,
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This review is from: The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide: Five Complete Novels and One Story (Deluxe Edition) (Leather Bound)
I have been a fan of Douglas Adams since I first read "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" when it was released. I have previously read all of these books (though I had not read the short "Young Zaphod Plays it Safe") before, some several times. When I saw this compendium I was compelled to buy it so I could have a volume with all this brilliant insanity in one place. I found Adams' introduction and explanation of the different Hitchhiker's permutations and iterations fascinating and revealing, and found all the books as whimsical and delightful as I had recalled. This edition has the added benefit of being printed on high quality ultra-thin paper, and being quite plushly bound. It definitely looks like an heirloom, but inside it is one hundred percent inspired lunacy.
Without question the original book is the crown jewel of the collection, and stands the test of time as one of the most original and brilliant novels written in the twentieth century. More than the plot following our heroes Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect (and a cast of thousands), it is Adams' amazing ability to turn a phrase into something not totally unlike any other book isn't that utterly distinguishes the first volume of the series. While that last sentence is an obvious homage to Adams, his wit and ability to redirect a line to a place that is totally unpredictable is uncanny. The book is not only brilliantly conceived, but glitters with a patina of dark humor which is utterly unique in literature, the only analog being the television and film productions of Monty Python.
I enjoyed the other volumes in the series as well, with the first three being my favorites. By "So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish" I started to see a bit of monotony creep into Adams' writing style, occasionally to the point that it almost seemed that he was forcibly imitating himself. Although I did enjoy the final two volumes in the series, I would probably have given them independent ratings of four stars, while the others are clearly five star masterworks. I did find the character of Fenchurch (introduced in "So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish") intriguing, and couldn't agree more with Adams' analogy of Mark Knopfler's guitar style to the effect of Fuolornis Fire Dragons. It is no surprise to me that Douglas Adams was a Dire Straits fan, and I found his brief tribute to the band to be an amusing buried delight.
This book is not only great contemporary literature, a level of accomplishment which most sci-fi novels aspire to, but rarely achieve, but is a great value too. The book is over 800 delightful pages long: buy this book and prepare for a wonderful otherworldly journey, but don't forget to bring your towel.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 4, 2007 7:04:34 PM PDT
Posted on Dec 16, 2008 6:50:07 AM PST
As a fellow fan of HHGG, allow me to share with you my copy of ALL 12 of the Original BBC series broadcasts from 1980 in an MP3 format. The original audio is even better than the book. (Zephod's heads are in stereo.) I have posted the 30 minute episodes on my Hotmail Skydrive space at:
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 25, 2008 6:25:06 AM PST
Adam Sams says:
Grand review. Now if they could only get them back in stock...
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2008 7:15:16 PM PST
Robert I. Hedges says:
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