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The Big ReadThe Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy

Douglas Adams

Average Review Rating Average Rating 9/10 (3 Reviews)
Book Details

Publisher : Pan

Published : 1979

Copyright : Douglas Adams 1979

ISBN-10 : PB 0-330-25864-8
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-330-25864-7

Publisher's Write-Up

"People of Earth, your attention please. This is Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz of the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council. Plans for development of the outlying regions of the galaxy require the building of a hyperspatial express route through your star system, and regrettably your planet is scheduled for demolition. The process will take slightly less than two of your Earth minutes. Thank you"

For Arthur Dent, earthling and homeowner, the severe case of planning blight announced above is the overture to a quite remarkable set of travels, guided en route by an equally remarkable book - a book more popular than the Celestial Home Care Omnibus, cheaper than the Encyclopedia Galactica, it's... The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy!

It began as a radio series. Now it's a paperback. From hereon, anything literally anything, is suddenly possible.

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Reader Reviews

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Review by William Longinetti (190410) Rating (8/10)
Review by Chrissi
(191100) Rating (8/10)
Review by Nigel (191100) Rating (10/10) Star Book

Review by William Longinetti
Rating 8/10
When space travel writer Ford Prefect tells earthling Arthur Dent at a pub in England that his world is about to end, Dent responds “This must be Thursday... I never could get the hang of Thursdays.” The bartender, within earshot, announces “Last orders, please.” This deadpan gallows humour fills the pages of Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and enables the book to be weighty and thought-provoking without being overly sentimental. Themes that would make for long passages of deep existential rumination in another context - the end of the world, inter-dimensional travel, and of course “the Answer” to the elusive question of the universe - are hilariously rendered in pithy exchanges through the collective wit of Adams' characters.

As a work of comic science fiction, The Hitchhiker's Guide lacks the rigor of so-called “hard” science fiction, but it is not mere wordplay either. Such ideas as the Heart of Gold (a ship that uses an “Infinite Improbability Drive” to travel at superlatively high speeds) or Magrathea (a planet inside of which other planets are constructed), while they might be scientifically implausible, nonetheless still provide some great food for thought. Also, there's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy itself, an encyclopaedic travel guide of the cosmos which Ford Prefect writes for, and from which one can learn anything from what to drink in this or that part of the galaxy to why a towel is the most important item in any traveller’s luggage.

With its hodgepodge of intrepid travellers and the uncanny events that befall them, The Hitchhiker's Guide manages to be fun and exciting almost effortlessly. The crew with whom the protagonist Arthur Dent hitches a ride includes, among others, a two-headed, three-armed president-of-the-galaxy-turned-renegade, and a congenitally depressed super-intelligent robot. To top it all off, at the point when the characters set about their impromptu voyage, the possibilities are literally endless (on account of the “Infinite Improbability Drive”). The Hitchhiker's Guide is the apotheosis of adventure story.

In a genre that often lends itself to overwrought serials, where authors ride the wave of a thoroughly original idea to an ineffectual and creatively desiccated end, Douglas Adams' sensational first instalment in his now famous Hitchhiker series goes so far on so little that a desire for much much more is entirely justified.
William Longinetti (19th April 2010)

Review by Chrissi
Rating 8/10
This is one of the first "Science-Fiction" books that I can remember reading, and I have read it several times since.

Those things that stand out most for me are Arthur Dents pyjamas and dressing gown, and Ford Prefects Towel, they just stay in my mind and make me smile. Never mind the strange and unlikely events of the story. It was probably the first time that I had ever had cause to think that we may not be alone in the universe, and that if we were not, how would we know?

Anyway, it really is a classic book, series really if the others were to be included, and I would heartily recommend it to anyone who may not even particularly enjoy science fiction.

If you take away the fact that earth is scheduled to be destroyed, and replace this as say, your home in the way of the northern relief road (Birmingham by-pass), then the moral of the story could just as easily be that to ignore Local Council Planning Departments could very easily make you homeless, and ignorance is not an excuse... (nor is not having achieved inter-stellar travel, but never mind, eh?) .
Chrissi (19th November 2000)

Review by Nigel
Rating 10/10
Where to begin? This book is such a landmark in humorous fiction it should be on everyones shelves. All I can say is read this book, it's fantastic, it's brilliant, you will laugh all the way through.

What more can I say? ...ah yes, don't forget your towel :)
Nigel (19th November 2000)

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