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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 24 September 1999
You know, I can never really express what is the very special thing about this book. But it totally changed my way of looking at life. Imagine reading a book that makes you laugh throughout the whole story and at the end you suddenly stop laughing and say, "Ship, why am I laughing, this is LIFE." And then you take an aspirin because your stomach really hurts. Well, that's just a minute part of the positive experiences you get reading this book. And then you are never the same again. Nothing looks bad enough not to be laughed at. I would give anything to be able to read this book for the first time once again. Thank you, Douglas Adams, for finally persuading me that life, as I have always suspected, is nothing serious, indeed.
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on 17 August 2001
Science fiction, despite what the sci-fi nerds will tell you, is nothing to do with visions of the future. Sci-fi is a stage where tales relevant to modern life are told free from the shackles of political correctness.
Douglas Adams expertly uses fictional characters in comedic situations to highlight our everyday eccentricities, absurdities and neuroses; making the reader look at all that is important in their life and ask 'in the great scheme of things, is any of this relevant at all?'.
The Hitch Hiker's series the the product of a unique talent the like of which will never be seen again. The jokes, many of which are cocooned in subtlety, prove again and again that there is many a true word spoken in jest. However many times you read these stories, you'll always find something you missed before. Perhaps the story really is being regularly updated via the sub-ether net...
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on 17 June 2005
Even if you haven't read these books, you've probably heard about them. There can't be many native English speaking adults who haven't heard of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, or who don't know the Answer to the ULTIMTE QUESTION OF LIFE, THE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING. I think this is probably something that puts people off reading these books, as they are heavily quoted by people who are often less funny than they imagine.
I love this book. I must have nearly memorised it by now. There is just something about the way that the luckless yet stoic Arthur Dent falls into ever more ridiculous and hilarious situations. Every time he thinks that he has a handle on things, something comes along to change it. Then, just when he thinks that it can't get any weirder, it doesn't. It all stops, and everything goes back to normal. Probably just to annoy Arthur.
This whole book, in fact, reads just like the account of an ordinary human who the Universe has decided to play practical jokes on. Douglas Adams' universe is a bizarre place with a thoroughly twisted sense of humour.
This book is highly recommended for anyone who has a sense of humour that goes beyond fart jokes and people falling downstairs. I'd say people of age 14 and up will get most out of it, but younger people could still get a lot of enjoyment from this even if they don't get all the jokes. There are several sexual references in it, but nothing explicit.
If you have the abovementioned sense of humour I'd advise reading this unique trilogy. Even if you don't like Science Fiction. Even if you're sick of people you don't like insisting that you HAVE to read it. It really is that funny. Probably most people will find something in it that will make them laugh until they cry... I know I did.
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on 3 June 2001
This volume is the best place to start for new readers - or for old ones whose individual copies have been buried too often in the sand of Santraginus V and fancy an upgrade. Although it's a four-book volume, you'll find yourself reading it as one, since the books themselves are indecently short both in page length (ranging from 130 to 160 pages in this edition) and, in the case of the first and fourth books, on incident.
Fortunately they remain entertaining, although not quite so rib-ticklingly heel-drummingly hilarious as they were when you were thirteen (which is where new readers should *really* start). As you get older you find yourself more amused by Adams's brilliant ability to combine cynicism and perfect comic timing in a well-structured sentence, and less amused by the colourful aliens. Certainly I agree with the reader from Oxford that none of the four stands up as a novel when compared to "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency," which is probably Adams's best fictional work.
Book by book then:
1. "The Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy" is the best plotted of the books, probably because it was based directly on the first four episodes of the radio series, which gave Adams good material to work on and the ability to polish it a bit. Its greatest failing is that it ends entirely suddenly - which I understand was because he was so late with the manuscript that his publishers just eventually told him to finish the page he was on and send it over, and it shows - which leaves one feeling rather unsatisfied. Nonetheless it has the best ideas in it.
2. "The Restaurant At the End of the Universe" is where the cracks start to show. The second half is brilliant - based this time on the last two episodes of the radio series - and was by rights supposed to be included in the first book. The problem then that Adams faced was how to fill up the first half of the book - he chose some fairly unconvincing stuff about Zaphod (who was always the least interesting character and fortunately is barely in books three and four) and a Total Perspective Vortex, an idea which (to adopt the syntax of Adams) fails to please in an almost entirely precise way. Nonetheless the book is still amusing.
3. "Life, the Universe and Everything" is a strange beast. Adams had no fresh ideas for the third book so he used an old Doctor Who storyline he had done when he was script editor for the programme. What he have therefore is a saving-the-world storyline grafted onto the feckless and idle and confused and (above all) non-world-saving characters we know and love. Slartibartfast also reappears, as an entirely different character from the first book. The book is well plotted and has some good cameos - Agrajag, Wowbagger - but just feels wrongheaded.
4. "So Long, And Thanks for All The Fish" is the book that, when it came out, was roundly criticised for not being a "proper" Hitch-hiker book. But nor was "Life the Universe and Everything," or for that matter half of "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe." Nonetheless this one does feel odd, set as it is almost entirely on Earth which for some reason (never adequately explored except that it enabled Adams to roll in a few extra mill) still exists despite having been destroyed at the start of the first book. There is a terrible needless grafting-on of Ford Prefect, some toe-curling appreciation of Dire Straits as aphrodisiac, and an absolutely insulting comment by Adams where he predicts the reaction of readers who might think this is not a "proper" Hitch-hiker book ("Skip to the last chapter, which is a good bit and has Marvin in it"). Nonetheless the book has one or two good ideas - Wonko the Sane and Rob McKenna the Rain God - and some very amusing writing which reaches a level of maturity only bettered by "Dirk Gently." But it is very very short.
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on 2 June 2000
What more can you say about HHGTTG. A classic in its many forms (book, radio show, tv series). Surreal, witty, satirical and highly influential. Try logging on to any internet site as Arthur Dent, Slartibartfast or Zaphod, someone got there first.
How can one man have so many original and brilliant ideas, its not fair! Read it in small doses you'll laugh till you have a pain in all the diodes down your left hand side.
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on 14 February 2001
If you hate yourself, and want to continue hating yourself, you won't buy this book. If you don't want to hate yourself anymore, you will buy this book. If you love yourself, you will buy this book. If you don't love yourself, don't hate yourself, don't want to stop hating yourself if you do (which you won't if you're in this category), then buy this book. If you are anything higher up the evolutionary-scale than the demented bee, then buy this book. In fact, just buy this book. Whoever you are. Even if you want to hate yourself, ignore yourself, and read this book. Am I getting through?
Want to know why I love this book?
It blends comedy, sci-fi and life (the universe and everything) into one orgasm-inducing experience. It details just what life is really like (sod's law, and all that) and pushes the limits of what we perceive. It has changed my mindframe permanently, because "in an infinite universe, anything - even the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - is possible." Very existential, influential and philosophical. Not to mention satirical, with a capital S...
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on 27 May 2016
I great book! Well, books! 4 of them! I enjoyed it, even tho I was afraid I might not understand it very well. I was told it's not easy to read this book, esp. when you're not English... but it was great! I love the way it's written! It's so... BRITISH :))) Book was in very good condition as I expected.

Then I found out there was another book left to read - Mostly harmless. You should get that one too.
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on 10 August 2001
Having read the series for the third time, I find new things that make me laugh. Adams' often dark and subtle humour makes a welcome change to the 'in-your-face' writing available at the moment. He was an author who combined intelligence and humour in an amazing way.
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on 4 February 2015
I listerned to the BBC's CD's of the Radio series and thought they were prue gold. To that end I thought it was about time to read the book and to my surprise I found the series was quite true to the book. Which ever way you read/listen to these gems first you wont be disapointed.
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on 25 June 2008
Surely one of the most known books in the sci-fi satirical, witty genre with a philosophical twist. This has become a reference for authors and earned the title of 'classic' with readers of this style. Douglas Adams at his best - unfortunately he did not live to see the making of the movie which doesn't do the book justice in my opinion. Don't think twice, buy the book.
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