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on 3 December 2003
There is just one reason why The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy was voted into the BBC's Top One Hundred Books list, and that is because it is simply brilliant. It is a work of science fiction, but the humour contained within the story is not only incredibly witty, but also unusual within its chosen genre. Be prepared to susend your disbelief however, as the series of adventures and coincidences encountered by the characters is nothing short of extrordinary.
The story follows a rather eccentric Englishman by the name of Arthur Dent, as one Thursday morning the Earth is demolished by a group of poetry-loving Vogons who want rid of the planet in order to make way for a Hyper-Spatial Express Route. This sets the scene for Arthur and his extra-terrestial friend, Ford, to journey through space and, amongst other things, come accross the two-headed, three-armed President of the Galaxy Zaphod Beeblebrox, his one-time girlfriend Trillian, and a paranoid android by the name of Marvin. There are many aspects of the book that contribute towards its status as a cult classic, but I believe primary among these is the way in which Douglas Adams manages to bring accross the personalities of the characters. "Arthur said coldly, 'We've met, haven't we Zaphod Beeblebrox - or should I say... Phil?'" Not only are they resonsible for some of the most amusing lines I have ever had the pleasure of reading, but upon finishing the book I felt a longing to become one of the crew upon the Heart of Gold ship the characters inhabit. Arthur is a particular favourite of mine, and the way in which he looks upon the current events of his life with such fascination is a great source of amusement. "'You know,' said Arthur, 'it's at times like this, when I'm trapped in a Vogan airlock with a man from Betelgeuse and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was young.' 'Why, what did she tell you?' 'I don't know, I didn't listen.'" Another part of the writing I found hugely impressive was the way in which Adams managed to create a whole range of fascinating gadgets, including the ships irritatingly cheery Eddie, who is much-loathed by the other characters.
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is only the first in a series of five novels which I am informed started life as a set of radio plays in nineteen seventy-eight (followed by the book, a year later). I would whole-heartedly recommend that any reader has enjoyed the book to set about reading the rest. I have to date read the books three times, and have each time been utterly seduced by the warmth, wit and humour. It truly deserves to be referred to as a classic.
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on 16 August 2010
I read these books many years ago. I watched the BBC TV series, and unfortunately also watched the movie released a couple of years ago.

The books are fabulous and always bring a smile to my face when I read them, or someone quotes them to me (something my boss seems to like doing a lot ;))

The word of caution relates to the product description currently showing at the top of this page.

"A one-volume edition of the four HITCH HIKER novels"

As of the time of writing this is not the case. Purchasing The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy [Kindle Edition] will get you exactly that. You will not get The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, nor will you get either of the other two books that make up this quadrilogy.

While these books are most definitely worth their individual prices, this page is currently mis-advertising what is actually on offer. Amazon are aware of this (I emailed them to make sure of it, and am told they are now looking into it) and I'm sure in time the page will either be updated with the correct info or the quadrilogy version advertised will eventually be on sale.
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on 1 August 2012
We introduced my son to the TV series after seeing the recent Hitchikers' Radio Show Live Tour and he loved it. When we said there was a series of books he was desperate to read them and I did a quick search for them on Amazon. He couldn't wait for them to arrive and when they did he read them within 4 days! (Plus the 6th one that Eoin Colfer wrote). If that isn't a great acknowledgement of what great books they are I don't know what is.

And he now constantly quotes from them. Sigh... It'll probably be Monty Python next...
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Over the Memorial Day weekend, I had the good fortune to be invited to Maine to see the fabulous tree house that is the subject of The Treehouse Chronicles. I decided this would be a good chance to listen to a recording of an old favorite that I've never heard in audio form before. Browsing through the library, it was an easy decision to pick this new recording of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Within minutes, I could tell that I'd made a winning choice as I listened to Stephen Fry brilliantly share his voice to add texture to this intriguing story. Between the accents and the humorous references to irony, I was enthralled. I found myself wishing that the recording was a longer one.

When you read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, it can come across a little simplistically in places. Those spots work much smoother in this audio version.

In fact, if you haven't read the book, I recommend that you listen to this recording instead. I think you'll enjoy and appreciate the book more in its more dramatic version here.

If you don't know the story, Arthur Dent finds himself awakening with a hangover determined to save his home. Only problem is, while the demolition crew looms, he's also about to lose his other home, the Earth. Aided by his alien friend, Ford Prefect, Arthur is soon off hitchhiking his way through the galaxy in a most improbable set of circumstances that will amuse and delight you. You'll meet Zaphod Beeblebrox, one of the most memorable aliens in anyone's fiction. Along the way, you'll learn more speculation about wearing digital watches and finding lost ballpoint pens than you ever expected to know.

Bravo, Stephen Fry and Douglas Adams!
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No matter how many times I read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and I’ve read it quite a few times already, it never fails to thrill me and induce bouts of almost uncontrollably hearty laughter. With this novel, Douglas Adams gave life to a phenomenon that will long outlive his tragically short life, delighting millions of readers for untold years to come. I’m not sure if science fiction had ever seen anything like this before 1979. This is science fiction made to laugh at itself while honoring its rich tradition, but it is much more than that. Adams’ peculiarly dead-on humor also draws deeply from the well of sociology, philosophy, and of course science. Whenever Adams encountered a sacred cow of any sort, he milked it dry before moving on. Beneath the surface of utter hilarity, Adams actually used his sarcasm and wit to make some rather poignant statements about this silly thing called life and the manner in which we are going about living it. This is one reason the book is so well-suited for multiple readings—a high level of enjoyment is guaranteed each time around, and there are always new insights to be gained from Adams’ underlying, oftentimes subtle, ideas and approach.
Arthur Dent is your normal human being, and so he naturally is more concerned about his house being knocked down than facing the fact that the world is about to end. His friend Ford Prefect, he comes to learn, is actually a researcher from a planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse, but before he can even begin to comprehend this fact, he finds himself zipped up into the confines of the Vogon space cruiser that has just destroyed the planet Earth. Things become even trickier for him when he discovers the great usefulness of sticking a Babel fish into his ear and then meets the singular President of the Galaxy Zaphod Beeblebrox and his shipmate Trillian, both of whom Arthur actually met months before at a party. Such impossible coincidences are explained by the fact that Beeblebrox’s ship is powered by the new Infinite Improbability Drive. Dent grows more and more confused during his travels on board the Heart of Gold, and the story eventually culminates with an amazing visit to an astronomically improbable world.
Much of the humor here is impossible to describe; this novel must be read to be appreciated. It seems like every single line holds a joke of some kind within it. The characters are also terrific: the unfortunate Arthur Dent, who basically has no idea what is going on; Ford Prefect, Arthur’s remarkable friend from Betelgeuse; Zaphod Beeblebrox, with his two heads, three arms, and cavalier attitude; Trillian the lovely Earth girl who basically flies the Heart of Gold; Slartibartfast the planet builder and fjord-make extraordinaire; and my favorite character of all, Marvin the eternally depressed robot. Life—“loathe it or ignore it, you can’t like it” is the Paranoid Android’s philosophy. One brilliant thing that Adams does is to step away from the action every so often to present interesting facts about the universe as recorded in the Hitchhiker’s Guide; here we learn about Vogon poetry, the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal, Trans Galactic Gargle Blasters, and other fascinating tidbits about life in the crazy universe Adams created. He even gives the reader the ultimate answer to the question of Life, the Universe, and Everything in these pages.
This novel is just an amazingly hilarious read that will leave you yearning for more; to our great fortune, Adams indeed left us more in the form of four subsequent books in the Hitchhiker’s “trilogy.” If you don’t like science fiction, it doesn’t matter; read this book just for the laughs. The most amazing thing about Adams’ humor is the fact that everyone seems to “get” it. Adams broke all the rules in writing a novel quite unlike any that had come before it, and he succeeded in spades. This may well be the funniest novel ever written.
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on 10 December 2003
This is the first in the series of hitchhiker guides which tell the story of Arthur Dent’s and the life altering events that cause him to become a hitchhiker around the universe. Arthur’s day has started badly when he’s told to vacate his house as it’s about to be knocked down to make way for a bypass being built. As it happens his day’s going to get worse as Earth also gets demolished to make way for an intergalactic bypass.
Rather than this being the end to what would be a very short book, Arthur manages to escape Earth at the last minute thanks to his friend Ford Prefect who much to Arthur’s disguise has in fact been writing reviews for the ultimate hitchhiker’s guide to the universe – and you thought Bill Bryson wrote about some odd places you’d never like to visit. Together they travel around the known universe meeting odd characters such as the two headed Zaphod Beeblebrox and Marvin the rather miserable robot.
This was the first Douglas Adams story I read (and certainly the first I’d recommend as the others follow this one) and I cannot recommend it enough – the style of writing is quite unique and the level of Adams’s imagination is quite startling. In the science fiction world of what might happen in the future, there is something strangely logical about much of what Adams has imagined, and the utterly preposterous stuff is so well thought out to make it entertaining.
All in all, a highly enjoyable read – I cannot recommend this enough. As for the number 42, well, yes, this is the book which is where the idea of it being the answer to the universe came from. Read the book and you’ll know what I mean. If you’re thinking of buying this book, also check out the ultimate hitchhiker’s guide which contains all the main books from the hitchhiker series.
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on 16 June 2016
Despite sci-fi and YA not being genres that I'd usually choose, I felt compelled to read this 70s British cult classic. I really wasn't sure what to expect but simply felt the need to read it and I'm glad I did. It's a short read that pulls you in from the very first page, with ridiculous scenarios and absurd, madcap humour from the start that had me laughing out loud. Total loony!

Yes, it has dated somewhat and is written for a younger audience, but I'm giving it four stars as I believe that it's a book that was well ahead of its time and in 2016, is still able to live up to its reputation of being one of the best sc-fi spoofs ever written.
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on 22 March 2005
Possibly the funniest book in the history of the Universe. I have read it many times and it still makes me laugh in the same places. Quite exquisite. The fiction is brilliantly interwoven with fact, "proving" that the Earth was populated by a crashlanding of the useless third of the population of the planet Golgafrincham. Which explains a lot!
Timeless, as the forthcoming film will surely prove.
A must read for all people. Beware reading it in public, as you will laugh out loud!
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on 26 August 2007
This is a review of the product, rather than the books themselves. This is all five of the "trilogy in five parts"; Douglas Adam's Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Life, the Universe and Everything, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish and Mostly Harmless. This is essential for any avid reader, and at this price (currently £4.50) it is an absolute steal.
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on 16 October 2016
I watched the movie first and loved it so decided to read this. It starts off similar but greatly changes about halfway through. You get a different sense of the characters and what they're like; their relationships with eachother are different too. I am not used to the writing style of Mr Adams so I did reread some passages here and there to get a grasp of what it was trying to say. It is a book that makes you reflect a lot and think "what if" for a lot of situations. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am int he process of reading the next book in the series.
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