So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish, the fourth book in the Hitchhiker's "trilogy," is a much different read than the books preceding it. Gone are the skips and jumps from one galaxy and time to another, the almost constant evasions of certain death, the madcap hilarity that ensued whenever Zaphod, Ford, Trillian, Arthur, and Marvin got together (or split up), and the maddening pace of a well-told tale going happily along with little care whether or not the story ever approached an appropriately witty conclusion. This is basically the story of the young lady who figured out the secret of happiness just seconds before Earth was destroyed by a Vogon fleet preparing the way for a hyperspace bypass. It is also Arthur Dent's story. Sure, we got to now Arthur fairly well in the first three books, but he does spend an inordinate amount of time saying things like: What?, I don't understand, Is it possible to get a cup of tea? and That's it then, we're all going to die. Once you get him out of that well-traveled bathrobe, Arthur Dent turns out to be a real person-a little weird, of course, but real, rather complex, and surprisingly interesting nonetheless.
The story opens with Arthur's return to Earth. I know Earth has already been destroyed, but that's just a minor detail. Why and how Arthur returned is something of a mystery, but he is amazed to find that his home planet not only exists, but that no more than six or eight months have passed since he left suddenly eight years earlier. His readjustment to life back home makes for good reading, but what is really important is that hapless Arthur Dent soon falls in love; it happens at first sight, even though the enchanting Fenchurch is quite unconscious at the time. Lucky enough to accidentally meet her in a more lucid state, Arthur's rather feeble attempts to tell her how and why he is powerfully drawn to her surprisingly meet with some success. Then the type of thing that can only happen to Arthur Dent (or me, in all likelihood) separates the two soon-to-be lovebirds for some time. I found the description of Arthur's dysfunctional romance with Fenchurch to be as touching as it was humorous. Their entwined fates take them on a journey of discovery which culminates in their discovery of God's final message to Creation. Those who want the type of nonstop action found in the preceding books may be somewhat disappointed here. The pace is much slower, but the character development is rich and winsome. Zaphod fans will be disappointed by his total noninvolvement in this book. Ford makes only a glorified cameo appearance, while Marvin makes a brief but quite memorable return. I myself have a special affinity for this novel; unlike its more humorous predecessors this one seems important and meaningful. Additionally, you have to be happy for Arthur's unprecedented feeling of happiness in a universe he can verifiably assert to be quite off its rocker.
on September 19, 2004
This is the third book from the famous 'trilogy' (actually consisting of five books) written by his high majesty - Mr. Douglas Adams. Quite an interesting read after all, with no similarities to other famous books. The writing style of Douglas Adams is something that has been (and surely will be) one of the most popular topics when people sit around the table. There are numerous famous citations from his books that act (and will surely act) like pieces of wisdom for rebellios generations. Here is one of my favourites: 'Sounds bad. With little more of luck I hope I will be drunk enough, so that I don't notice it.'
This book is somehow innovative from the previous two, mainly due to the fact that it has a plot and after finishing it you have a story in your head, unlike after reading previous two. Is this bad or good - everyone decides for himself. I like it. The story is about our guys Ford Prefect, Arthur Dent, Zaphod Beeblebrox and the girl Trillian being lead on a mission by the old man Slartibartfast to save the Universe from being distinguished by the people of Krikkit who are as funny as well as every other character in the book (including the thunder god from the Scandinavian mythology - Thor). You will get an alternative look to the popular english sport game cricket after you finish the book.
There are a lot of funny tales that are not directly connected to the main story but add additional absurd humour that sometimes made me laugh histerically while reading. One of my favourite was about Zaphod getting drunk on his ship and Trillian leaving him, as well as the one about the poet Lallafa and his famous poems that after time travelling was discovered were used for marketing purposes and that changed the past so that these poems had never been written. And not to forget Wowbagger who insists on insulting every living creature personally.
I had great fun while reading this book and am quite enthusiastic to read the forth and fifth part of the 'trilogy'. Douglas Adams proved once again to me that he is unique and his stories are unpredictable.
on December 5, 2000
This book, the fourth in the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker's Trilogy, is, hands down, the best. You probably wouldn't think that were true from reading some of the reviews on this page. However, I was astonished and amazed by what this volume had to offer.
For starters, if you read Douglas Adams just for the zaniness and offbeatness of it all, you may be disappointed by this novel. While those elements are not absent, they are severely toned down for this installment. The amazing thing, though, is that Adams manages to mix in his humor at all with a very touching romance and somewhat serious quest of rather epic (rather than episodic) proportion.
The best part about this novel is that it virtually almost entirely features Arthur, and that's it... at least out of the main characters. Ford shows up a bit, and Marvin is in the last chapter, but Zaphod and Trillian are missing, but don't worry, it hardly matters. Adams more than makes up for it by introducing a marvelous character named Fenchurch, who becomes a love interest for Arthur. A love interest for Arthur? Yes, you heard me correctly.
This book, in my mind, establishes Adams as a serious heavyweight. The levels of humor, romance, irony, wonder, and adventure are consistently high throughout, and one never detracts from the other. Besides, we finally get to take a really good look at Arthur (who had been shortchanged in the last two books), the most human character I believe I have ever encountered anywhere, and we get to see a bit of the earth, which Adams makes us realize is rather a funny place in itself.
Do not miss out on this book. Please. Read it for Arthur. Read it for Fenchurch. Read it for the Rain God. And definitely, definitely, read it for the most wonderful love scene ever written. Besides, if you make it to the end, you'll be rewarded with God's final message to His creation, written in letters of flame thirty feet high (quite the tourist attraction). It's worlds above all the others.
on June 6, 1999
I've read the whole series, and though I never thought anything would beat the first one, I was wrong. So Long rounds out Arthur's character a bit, making him seem like less of a clod and more like a, well, man, though all of his delightful quirks are still in place. The absolute funniest scene of the series is in here (I won't spoil it, but you'll know it when you read it...think biscuits), and there's a love story to boot. In my opinion it was nice to see a little less of Zaphod and absolutely NONE of Trillion, who I couldn't stand, and though Arthur is clearly the focus Ford gets his fair share of limelight, though I do wish Marvin had been featured for more than the page or so he was on. All in all, this a great book, perhaps more slowly-paced than the rest, but it makes up for this in charm. I highly reccomend it (and I suggest anyone who likes this book skip Mostly Harmless).
on May 19, 2004
I have no idea why no one seems to give this book good reviews! It is uber funny, just as much as the first two. I liked the exclusive terms for the actions of matresses and the whole Agrajag thing, which was honestly the funniest thing I have ever read! As for the Krikkit peoples, this line is one of Adam's most memorable, besides the number 42: "It's got to go." Also, I have established Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged as an all time favorite literary personality, because, well, seriously people, his dream is to insult the universe! Original. Personally, I don't see what all the fuss is about.
on September 6, 2012
Living apart from Ford, Arthur ekes out a living in a cave with his bathrobe and rabbit-skin bag. Randomly insulted by Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged and later running into Ford Prefect, Arthur and his hitchhiking friend hop upon a sofa which materializes from the eddies in the space-time continuum which dumps them onto the Lord's cricket pitch two days prior to Earth's destruction. Ford employs his knowledge to the Somebody Else's Problem field to gather that Slatibartfast has hidden his craft, the Starship Bistromath, in plain view. Once together, the three witness Krikkit robots descend to murder the people on the ground and fly off with a wooden wicket of the Ashes.
The Starship Bistro harnesses "all the ship's computation... done on a waiter's bill pad" (41) which is just at erratic at the Infinite Improbability Drive. Meanwhile, Marvin pivots around himself in the mud on the mattress-inhabited planet Squornshellous Zeta. Having his leg stolen for the use as a Key in the Wikkit Gate by a hoard of robots, the thieving robots further collect random bits of seeming rubbish so that they can unlock their planet of Krikkit in statis, something which Slartibartfast, Ford, and Arthur are trying to hinder.
The Krikkit race, as xenophobic and wantonly destructive (but also "whimsical... ordinary people... charming, delightful, intelligent" ) as they come, had been sealed off from the rest of the universe when they had discovered that their normally blank, dull, drab, dreary, matte sky actually held other lifeforms, which they deducted from a crashed spacecraft and the construction of their own craft within one year. Having spewed death across near space, their isolation was eventually their punishment... except for that one craft and its horde of robots.
Inexplicably, Arthur is materialized to a spacious cave which houses a 50-fooot statue of his self and one angry, angry ugly alien who posits that Arthur had killed his reincarnated being many, many times over; once a fly, Arthur killed him; once a rabbit, Arthur killed him; once a newt, Arthur killed him... and so on. Even more inexplicably, he soon found himself with the ability to fly and finds atop a mountain "a small navy-blue holdall that he knew for a fact he had lost in a baggage-retrieval system at Athens airport some ten years in his personal time-scale" (102). Oh, one hell of a party also shows up, a party which had been going on for four generations before being crashed by Slartibartfast, Arthur, and his boozer friend Ford.
I wonder if this story made any sense to anyone. It felt like one disconnected scene, mildly amusing at maximum, after another disconnected scene. Stringing together random silly subplots doesn't make the greater plot more cohesive. From witty (Hitchhiker's Guide) to absurd (The Restaurant) and now at random--I suppose the "everything" in the title of the book applies to the "everything" which poured forth from the mind of Douglas Adams. Trillian, seemingly forgotten for two whole books, makes a late yet awkward appearance to simmer things down. I kept rhetorically asking myself, "What, what, what did I miss?"
This is my third hitchhiking trip, and although my thumb is getting sore, I have no choice but to keep on truckin'.
Coming from the larger part of the world, where "krikkit" is a national obsession, I found this one particularly clever, even though the aficionados will shudder at the abuse of the hallowed ashes.
Always willing to throw a stinging barb here and there, I also loved the immortal Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged, who is on a quest to personally insult every individual being in the Universe - in alphabetical order.
Add in the flying lessons, the many-times-reincarnated Agrajag (not an Arthur Dent fan by any means), and of course my favorite robot Marvin, and you have an easy reading fun hike across the galaxy, with less of the sci-fi stuff, and more of the humor.
There's less Zaphod Beeblebrox than usual, but as he spends most of this story in a drunken stupor while Trillian flirts with the God of Thunder, we won't bother him at this particular time.
Sticking my sore thumb out now for the next adventure in hitchhiking - see you there!
Amanda Richards, March 12, 2005
on May 30, 2016
This book is a continuation of Douglas Adams original Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which is really 5+ stars, possibly because he redid it several times between the radio series, the books, and several iterations of movie scripts. So Long and Thanks for all the Fish does not seem quite as good, possibly because I have got used to his humor, or possibly because he did not have as many iterations to polish it. I just finished "Mostly Harmless", and it seems more of a let down, possibly for the same reasons. Don't get me wrong. Douglas Adams is a great writer, whose stories keep nothing sacred. I just think that the absurdity of the ideas eventually dulls the senses, and it does not seem as new and refreshing as the original stories.
on July 3, 2016
A wonderful, joyously-written love story set in Arthur Dent's absurd universe. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is my favorite book; this one is my second favorite. Douglas Adams provided that he could write with wit, sarcasm, and imagination in his first three books. This book takes one by surprise, because it shows he could also write with great tenderness, gentleness, and love. We fans lost him much too early, and where is the writer to take his place?
on January 23, 2016
For fans of the Hitchhiker Guide to the Galaxy, this is one of the follow-up episodes that continue the arc of the story. It is replete with the characters' strange encounters, the verbal non-sequiturs, and the dizzying discontinuity of time and space to which the first books have accustomed the reader. Some people will find the whole series maddening, others will continue to be committed more deeply to an undying love of the subject and the style of this uncommon science fiction tale.