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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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Douglas Adams really started something when he wrote this parody of one genre, and in so-doing he started his own genre and others have followed in his footsteps such as Robert Aspirin, Terry Pratchett and even Piers Anthony could be counted among those who have emulated this tongue in cheek, irreverent treatment of what had in the past come to be a science fiction genre that took itself very seriously indeed. It's not hard to see in Adams' acerbic and dry English sense of humor strong ties to the style of humor made so famous by the Monty Python crew of the late 60s and early 70s.
Reading this the second time in the Kindle version, I found that it didn't lose anything for the change in medium. It really is a remarkably short little book for the impact it had. This kindle version included an addendum that provides the background to the production of the movie by the same name that was finally produced following Adams death in 2001. This addendum is fully one third of the length of the actual novel. It didn't need to be in my opinion, but others might find it entertaining and informative.
This is one of the standards in science fiction, fantasy and satirical writing and well worth the time and effort to procure and read. Beware though, once you've finished it you'll want to go on and read the remaining 4 volumes of this famous trilogy.
A very humorous sci fi adventure, but the characters are underdeveloped.
Take it as a commentary on society and it is still relevant today!
Liked it, but not enough to read the next/whole series. Fun book for a few hours of mindless/funny reading.
First of all, the story was not illustrated with drawings, as one might think. Instead, it was illustrated using pictures taken of elaborate scenes that were set up, with different actors (and puppets, for the Vogons; I don't think anyone would have wanted to be in a Vogon costume) playing the various characters. Douglas Adams even has a part as one of the two policemen that appear near the end of the book. Anyways, the pictures all are very well made, and I think that they illustrate the different scenes very well. The images and the different graphics can be a bit distracting, so it might be better not to have this be the first version of H2G2 that you read. However, once you have read it, and you know that you like it, this is a represntation of the story that is very fun to read. In short, I would not recommend this book as your first introduction to H2G2, but it is extremely fun to read once you already know what is going on, if such a thing is possible.
Speaking about this particular product, though, the book is sturdy and high quality - not a cheap "bang for the buck" printing.
If you've never read the books, they're good stories that are written very cleverly. The humor is sometimes dry, sometimes slapstick and sometimes just plain strange... but still funny.
If you saw the movie, please try to forget what you saw. They tried to cram as much of the different books into a single movie and ended up losing almost all of what makes these books so great.