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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 25th Anniversary Edition Hardcover – Abridged, August 3, 2004
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Join Douglas Adams's hapless hero Arthur Dent as he travels the galaxy with his intrepid pal Ford Prefect, getting into horrible messes and generally wreaking hilarious havoc. Dent is grabbed from Earth moments before a cosmic construction team obliterates the planet to build a freeway. You'll never read funnier science fiction; Adams is a master of intelligent satire, barbed wit, and comedic dialogue. The Hitchhiker's Guide is rich in comedic detail and thought-provoking situations and stands up to multiple reads. Required reading for science fiction fans, this book (and its follow-ups) is also sure to please fans of Monty Python, Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, and British sitcoms. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Don't panic! Here are words of praise for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!
"It's science fiction and it's extremely funny...inspired lunacy that leaves hardly a science fiction cliche alive."
"The feckless protagonist, Arthur Dent, is reminiscent of Vonnegut heroes, and his travels afford a wild satire of present institutions."
"Very simply, the book is one of the funniest SF spoofs ever written, with hyperbolic ideas folding in on themselves."
School Library Journal
"As parody, it's marvelous: It contains just about every science fiction cliche you can think of. As humor, it's, well, hysterical." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Guide is primarily about the adventures of Arthur, an ordinary average guy forced to leave earth and go on a journey through the cosmos. He is joined by Ford Prefect, a writer for the Guide, Trillian, an astrophycist from Earth, Zaphod Beeblebrox, the President of the Galaxy, and Marvin, an extremely depressed robot. Over the course of five books, they encounter a wide array of aliens, planets, and towels.
The best element of these books is the humor. Adams is a master of satire, regularing stopping the plot to give a humorous take on everything he can think of. This book is almost impossible to put down it's so funny. The only downside is that he clearly had no idea where to go with the overall plot. After the second book, plots and characters would appear and disappear out of nowhere, and the ending fizzled out. That is the only reason I couldn't give this 5 stars.
This is one of the best pieces of YA literature out there. Have fun.
The only criticism of this edition is that the story is followed by an almost as long discussion of the making of the movie, which consists of a series of pretentious laments by a whiny producer about how terribly difficult it was to throw his money around, have many meetings in Beverly Hills, and get a movie made; followed by interviews with self-aggrandizing actors who explain deep things about their characters that Douglas Adams probably never thought of himself, because he was having fun writing the book, not over-analyzing his characters.
At the end of Life, the Universe and Everything, the third book in Douglas Adams' five-book "trilogy," as in the first two -- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and ThThe Restaurant at the End of the Universe -- Arthur Dent pines due to the destruction of his home planet, Earth.
Only it didn't happen. That's right -- in the eight years that Arthur has spent dodging bullets and lasers and otherwise just barely evading death, going back millions of years to the dawn of time on Earth, bemoaning the lack of a decent cup of tea, and having dozens of adventures, Earth has been just fine. In fact, just six months have elapsed back on planet Earth. His house in the West Country hasn't been flattened to make way for a bypass, nor has the Earth been destroyed by the Vogons to make way for an intergalactic bypass -- even though Arthur is certain that he witnessed both destructions. Despite all of that, here's the earth pretty much as he remembered it, except that everyone he meets remembers a platoon of spaceships hovering overhead at just that time, but chuck it up to mass hysteria.
So was this series a complete sham of the Dallas variety where everything was just a dream? What do you take Douglas Adams for? Some Hollywood hack? Of course not! I won't ruin the book, but, of course, it's more complicated than that -- or as Ford Prefect says in another context, "nothing so simple, nothing anything like so straight-forward" -- although I don't think we'll know the entire story until the fifth book, Mostly Harmless.
While I absolutely adored the first two books in this Adams' five-part "trilogy," the third book simply didn't measure up to Adams' usual standard: It wasn't as funny or engaging or -- I have to admit -- philosophically stimulating. And as So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish tacitly admits, not enough Marvin the Paranoid Android, either. However, Adams has completely redeemed himself here.
What I can reveal is that So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish finds Earthman Arthur Dent, who thought he was literally the last man in the universe, reveling in new love and coming into his own. After three volumes where poor Arthur always ended up the goat in every mishap or misadventure and the butt of every joke, it's nice to see Arthur finally happy and feeling more sane and confident than ever. How nice to see Arthur finally getting answers and the happiness he's been seeking all along.