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The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Paperback – April 30, 2002
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It's safe to say that The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is one of the funniest science fiction novels ever written. Adams spoofs many core science fiction tropes: space travel, aliens, interstellar war--stripping away all sense of wonder and repainting them as commonplace, even silly.
This omnibus edition begins with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, in which Arthur Dent is introduced to the galaxy at large when he is rescued by an alien friend seconds before Earth's destruction. Then in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Arthur and his new friends travel to the end of time and discover the true reason for Earth's existence. In Life, the Universe, and Everything, the gang goes on a mission to save the entire universe. So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish recounts how Arthur finds true love and "God's Final Message to His Creation." Finally, Mostly Harmless is the story of Arthur's continuing search for home, in which he instead encounters his estranged daughter, who is on her own quest. There's also a bonus short story, "Young Zaphod Plays It Safe," more of a vignette than a full story, which wraps up this completist's package of the Don't Panic chronicles. As the series progresses, its wackier elements diminish, but the satire of human life and foibles is ever present. --Brooks Peck --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“WITH DROLL WIT, A KEEN EYE FOR DETAIL AND HEAVY DOSES OF INSIGHT . . . ADAMS MAKES US LAUGH UNTIL WE CRY.”
–San Diego Union
“LIVELY, SHARPLY SATIRICAL, BRILLIANTLY WRITTEN . . . RANKS WITH THE BEST SET PIECES IN MARK TWAIN.”
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
IT SHOULD BE NOTED that the books are largely unabridged. Three books in and I have found only one alteration. In "Life, the Universe, and Everything", the conversation about the award for "The Most Gratuitous Use of the Word 'Belgium' in a Serious Screenplay" has been altered and shortened. The scene is, therefore, less humorous. I miss it.
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.
The story is intricate, and beautifully woven, involving inter/ intra galactic worlds, employing science and of course probability :D ( you'll understand why I put that imoji while reading the book)
This sci-fi book takes some of the major metaphysics questions (or at times put some, if deeply thought, in its own way) - pertaining to cosmology, universe, epistemology in a humour, which is imaginative, innovative, and illuminating on the subject.
Right from addressing philosophical questions to attending idiosyncrasies of each character to the description of each one of them - in books lingua - is humorous, very humorous, really humorous, humorously humorous.
Apart from reviewed facts, some not so reviewed facts (according to the book) that comes to ones astonishment or curiosity:
1. Mind it we earthmen are the third most intelligent beings on Earth (and not the most, and that too only on Earth). And universe also has some hyper intelligent beings, who we on Earth assume to be guinea pigs for our lab experiments.
2. You might have had new improved earth with Africa having glaciers with elegantly sculpted contours, soaring pinnacles of ice, deep majestic ravines if by the stroke of destiny Earthman Arthur Dent died in the earth's reduction to infinite fragments, then drifting around in an empty space.
Atlast I think we on Earth also have people trained in Vogonian singing/ poetry (no offence) :D If you don't know about it, just Google "Vogon Poetry"
This particular book was my first exposure to The Guide and Douglas Adams' sense of humour. I'd since read the novels (at least a dozen times), found the LPs, saw the movie (it's not as bad as people say), and even had an old VHS of the television show, but had resigned myself to never seeing this format again.
Rereading this was a great experience. I'd like to think that Adams' would get a little chuckle from the fact that "Don't Panic" is painted on the tablet case.