As the fourth book in the Hitchhiker "trilogy", this is a great novel and a step up from Life, The Universe, and Everything in quality. It starts off very funny, and the first couple of chapters are some of the most hilarous in the series, but gradually the humor slips away (for the most part), and though it is present, the central bit of the plot is, believe it or not, a love story. And a very good one, too. This change from the normal pace of the series makes the book a joy to read, and you'll probably zip through it pretty quickly. Definately read the previous books in this series first, for continuity and coherence (even though it more or less stands on it's own.) The first two books in the series were comedic masterpieces, but the third book started to slow somewhat... So Long, and Thanks For All The Fish is however, an excellent book, and a return to greatness for the series.