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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 29 January 2010
The book begins with a hung-over Arthur Dent waking to the sound of heavy machinery outside his house. He discovers that his house is about to be demolished to make way for a bypass. Arthur lies in front of a digger in protest, unaware that the council's intentions to demolish his house are a mirror of proceedings that are underway on a much larger scale: a particularly nasty alien race called Vogons (whose poetry is the third worst in the Universe) are in few minutes going to destroy Earth to make way for an interplanetary bypass. Throughout the book, Arthur is catapulted into myriad surreal situations, each with its own absurd logic. Adams's points, I think: keep an open mind, question mindless authority at every opportunity and remember that even the very, very improbable is possible.

As a child, I frequently sneaked out of bed at night to sit in the back garden and gaze at the stars in wonder. Though barely out of nappies, I was hungry for answers to the deepest existential questions. I didn't yet realise that in order to make sense of the answers, I first had to understand the questions. This knowledge came to me one dreich day in 1982 while my Dad and I sheltered from the rain in an East Kilbride bookshop. One book grabbed my attention more than all the others: amid the psychedelic colours on its cover were the words The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The back of the book's jacket proclaimed `Don't Panic' in large, bold letters, so I didn't panic. Instead, I asked my father if he would buy me the book. That serendipitous event introduced me to the wonderful humour and inventiveness of Douglas Adams. I've read the book multiple times. My enjoyment doesn't diminish with each read; quite the opposite. When, as a ten-year-old, I read it for the first time, I had an epiphany: writing could be both side-splittingly funny and jaw-droppingly creative. The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy showed, in a way I've never seen bettered, that literary genius and mastery of humour need not be mutually exclusive. It made me want to write, not in the cold factual way I'd been taught to write, but by setting my mind free to create its own Universes. Douglas Adams taught me that a beautiful juxtaposition is born when stories of human (and alien) silliness are recounted against a backdrop of cosmically relevant events. Perhaps that's the thing I like most about Adams's writing: it celebrates the preposterous, doing so without apology and on a breathtaking scale. He had an amazing ability to point out the absurdity of human behaviour, but to do so with humour rather than nastiness. The light-hearted sense of wonder which permeates every page resonated so strongly within me that it filtered into both my life and my writing. Thank you, Douglas Adams.

My writing would be less profound, less funny and less Universal had I not discovered 'The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy'. My first novel's exploration of Heaven, Hell and heavy metal morality draws much inspiration from Douglas Adams. Perhaps I may never have been moved to create a book were it not for the inspiration I soaked up from Adams's work. His writing has that effect on the reader: it inspires; it makes the Universe seem funny but scarily vast, simultaneously silly and significant; it broadens horizons to a staggering degree; it raises the bar for undiluted creativity. 'The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy' is cleverness and creativity run amok. This, more than any of Adams's other novels, showcases his unquestionable genius. Douglas Adams died in 2001, but his legacy lives on through his writing, which never fails to amaze and amuse.

Douglas's death stunned me. No more insights from that unique mind. I have no doubt that his inquisitive, gentle soul is roaming the infinite Universe, observing the phenomena he always wondered about. If you haven't read 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy', my advice to you is simple. Buy it. Read it. Laugh out loud and be amazed. Repeat.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 October 2009
30 years is a long time in publishing. It's a long time by anyone standards especially mine as The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is only a few months younger than me. And unlike me The Hitchhiker's Guide can be considered to be maturing well.

It's an ordinary Thursday lunchtime and Arthur Dent is about to get his house knocked down and find out that the Earth is also going to be Demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass. Luckily his best friend is an alien and they manage to hitch a lift on a spaceship before the Earth gets destroyed. And that's only the beginning.

We get introduced to so many things here. The idea that you shouldn't travel anywhere without a towel, what a babel fish is, the importance of number 42 and most all the words Don't Panic, preferably in big bold letters.

Maybe there is a touch of reminiscing but I really enjoyed reading it in full for probably the first time. I have an omnibus somewhere so I might have to check where I go to but the books, TV series and radio play or so aligned with each other in my head they all mix in.

Does it stand the test of time for new readers? Now that's a question? I'd love to say yes, but I'm not so sure. If you're a certain age, at least as old as the book, I think you might get it slightly more than someone that hasn't experienced the obsession with digital watches plus the language of the time dates it slightly. But all the word play makes it funny.

The banter and the absurdity of it all had me chuckling constantly and even at 180 pages it leaves you wanting more. And you need find out what an Earth man eats at The Restaurant at The End of the Universe.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a classic.

It's not a phrase that you can bandy about or at least shouldn't use without good reason. And I have a few good reasons. Some have to do with the cult that surrounds H2G2 and some that surrounds the book.

The book itself was inspired from a radio play, which was also television series, and there four other books in this inaccurately described trilogy written by Douglas Adams. Now I've always been a big fan of the television series mainly for the narrator and the animations of the book. But without that you're left with the words of Douglas Adams. And it's that strong foundation upon which everything else is built.

The 30th anniversary edition contains stickers so you can design your own cover. As you can see from the pic I choose to put a few essentials on mine including Marvin and the mice.

It also has a rather nostalgic introduction by Russell T. Davies, which does a great job of setting the scene and showing how exciting and maybe how deviant it was.

Highly recommended and still a comedy sci-fi classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
And then, one Thursday, nearly two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, I borrowed Hitch Hikers from the library and changed my outlook on reading forever. At school they told us what and when to read and as a consequence I'd never read anything except for `Winnie-the-Pooh' and `The House at Pooh Corner', then they sent us home to revise for our `O' levels and I needed a silent occupation to keep me entertained whilst my Mother thought I was revising. Early on I was caught with my walkman on, I hadn't heard my mum coming up the steps, and so reading seemed like the ideal solution.

I'd enjoyed the TV series of Hitch Hikers and so got this from the library and changed overnight from a non-reader to a prolific reader. I didn't so much read as consume this and the remainder of the then four Hitch Hikers books over the next couple of days. Douglas Adams prose was so entertaining that it not only made him instantly my favourite but also introduced me to reading for pleasure. Before my revision leave was over I'd not only read the four part Hitch Hikers trilogy three times but I had also read the entire output of Tom Sharpe as well as all the James Bond and Phillip Marlowe books.

Twenty five years later Adams is still my favourite author and I can't help but think if I'd not discovered these books then I would never have read and would have missed out on all the hundreds of great books I've read since. Mind you I might have done better in my `O' levels, I could have been a contender....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 February 2008
I'm not really a science fiction fan, which might go some way to explain why I only read this for the first time at the age of 28!

Born in the year of it's release, I remember being vaguely aware of the TV series, but had never watched it. This is a book that everyone has heard of. Even if you've never read it, it's one that's in your consciousness. I remember seeing the book in the library as a kid but passing it over as I thought it was "a boys book". (This was a girl who wanted to read Anne of Green Gables and Little Women).

I wish I had read this as a pre-teen. Although some of the humour and observations made in the book would be appreciated by adults, on a different level, it is written in a pre-teen style.

Hitchhiker's is a lot of fun. It's silly, comical and satirical. It also makes some fascinating and pertinent observations on politics, beauracracy, philosophy and human nature in general. Douglas Adams was clearly a hugely intelligent, perceptive man and a great conceptual thinker. Obviously, written in 1979, some of his references are a little outdated - such as the digital watches; and of course the Guide itself exsists today, in the guise of an on-line encyclopaedia such as Wikipedia! However, despite this, many of the ideas in the book have stood the test of time.

I would definitely recommend this book, even if you're not a sci-fi fan. As sci-fi goes, it's more Red Dwarf than John Wyndham. Adams is a cracking comedy writer and some of the lines in the book are hilarious. I now look forward to reading The Restaurant at the End of the Universe".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 1999
Mind boggling just about says it for this book! This is the first Douglas Adams book I've read but it won't be the last! Take on the most improbable adventure with Athur Dent as he escapes the destruction of the Earth as it is in the way of the construction of a hyper space freeway. By hitching a lift with his alien friend Ford prefect, Athur is flung through a witty and often absurd adventure through space even to meet the two headed Zeeble Brox, ex president of the Galaxy on a ship with the new improbibility drive. If you like an intriguingly cofusing yet witty and full of adventure type of book ,read it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 4 February 2004
In the above synopsis of this book it claims that this is a one volume edition of the first 4 HHGTTG books. IT IS'NT. Instead it is simply the FIRST book ONLY of the series. I still highly recommend this book and its sequels, but please be aware of the above mistake.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 30 June 2007
Listening to the audio CD's has an extra dimension to the book. You do get time to catch your breath. And my CD player is in the car. Somehow I survived. I would say that one great advantage to CD's is the ability to hear how the names are pronounced and you get inflections that intended or not help understand where they are going before they get there. An other advantage is that CD's like acid free paper should outlast the reader.

How many times have you asked a simple question and go the answer as "42." Yep, you are a victim to this book. Many of the clichés and truisms that rival Shakespeare are creeping into our vocabulary. And attitudes - "It has been on file."

If you are the one person that somehow got through life with out reading this series or at least seeing this on TV, then you are in for a treat. Somehow this story is earmarked as sci-fi and I guess it can be in a sense and it has all the elements necessary; it delivers a powerful message to the local Zoning Board.

I will not go though the story, as that is why you are reading the book. You need to sit down for the next sentence.

This book has changed my life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Arthur Dent is having a really bad Thursday. Not that that's unusual for him. He's just learned that his home is to be demolished to make way for a new freeway. As is the earth. But moments before the earth is destroyed, he is rescued by his friend, Ford Perfect, an alien who's been living on earth. Together, they start a wild adventure that will introduce them to Zaphod and his girlfriend Trillian. Not to mention a depressed robot.
I've been hearing about this book since high school. Many of my friends have recommended it to me, but I've never gotten around to reading it. Believe me, that was a huge mistake. I was frequently laughing out loud at the book. The characters, the situations, and the narration - all of it was perfectly comical. I'm sure I averaged a laugh a page, leading to some strange looks from my roommate as I was reading.
If you're looking for a fun, improbable book you won't be able to put down, look no further. I'm already planning to pick up the rest of the increasingly inaccurately named trilogy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 March 1999
This book is for any age for readers of any type of book (fantasy, sci-fi, comedy). Using his amazing wit and absurd originally, Adams transport the unlikely Arthur Dent across the universe where he meets huge green aliens, dines at the end of the universe, finds out the answer to the question of Life, the Universe and Everything, and journeys to read God's final message to his creation (A trilogy of 5 five parts). Definitely one for the shopping basket!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 January 2000
Any book which claims that the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything is 42 has to be one which requires more than one reading. From Monkeys who like Shakespear to Robots with personality problems, this book covers many aspects of the universe including hyperspace bypasses, concious lifts and your most important possesion, your towel! Book one in a trilogy of five is one of the best books I have ever read... miss it at your peril!!
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