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So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish [School & Library Binding]

4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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By Daniel Jolley TOP 50 REVIEWER
So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish, the fourth book in the Hitchhiker's "trilogy," is a much different read than the books preceding it. Gone are the skips and jumps from one galaxy and time to another, the almost constant evasions of certain death, the madcap hilarity that ensued whenever Zaphod, Ford, Trillian, Arthur, and Marvin got together (or split up), and the maddening pace of a well-told tale going happily along with little care whether or not the story ever approached an appropriately witty conclusion. This is basically the story of the young lady who figured out the secret of happiness just seconds before Earth was destroyed by a Vogon fleet preparing the way for a hyperspace bypass. It is also Arthur Dent's story. Sure, we got to now Arthur fairly well in the first three books, but he does spend an inordinate amount of time saying things like: What?, I don't understand, Is it possible to get a cup of tea? and That's it then, we're all going to die. Once you get him out of that well-traveled bathrobe, Arthur Dent turns out to be a real person-a little weird, of course, but real, rather complex, and surprisingly interesting nonetheless.

The story opens with Arthur's return to Earth. I know Earth has already been destroyed, but that's just a minor detail. Why and how Arthur returned is something of a mystery, but he is amazed to find that his home planet not only exists, but that no more than six or eight months have passed since he left suddenly eight years earlier. His readjustment to life back home makes for good reading, but what is really important is that hapless Arthur Dent soon falls in love; it happens at first sight, even though the enchanting Fenchurch is quite unconscious at the time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very Fresh Addition May 23 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This 4th book in the Hitchhiker's trilogy is very fresh! There are a bunch of new characters, and Arthur's life takes on some new and interesting twists. We haven't seen any romance in Arthur's life yet, but he's about to find some! Fenchurch (the girl friend in question) is mysterious AND funny! And their visit with Wonko the Sane (at least that's what he tells everybody) answers a lot of questions about the dolphins. Then there are the sideline characters that are just plain hilarious. I couldn't stop laughing at Rob McKenna and Will Smithers!
I have to admit I wasn't too anxious to start this book after the last one. I was thinking that Adams was trying to add another sequel to what was at first a genius story, but was beginning to be overplayed. Ever had that sensation going to the umpteenth sequel of a tired movie? You forget how great the first one was because the last one is so boring and repetitive. Well, he DOESN'T do this! This book is like a homer with 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth! The setting has changed (primarily to earth). (What, hadn't earth been blown up?) And a few of the mainstay characters don't even appear. It really adds a new dimension to this unique and tremendous series!
Would this book be complete without a visit from Marvin? I think not. Read this book; you may even find a little peace - like he does.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Different, and superior to the rest Dec 5 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book, the fourth in the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker's Trilogy, is, hands down, the best. You probably wouldn't think that were true from reading some of the reviews on this page. However, I was astonished and amazed by what this volume had to offer.
For starters, if you read Douglas Adams just for the zaniness and offbeatness of it all, you may be disappointed by this novel. While those elements are not absent, they are severely toned down for this installment. The amazing thing, though, is that Adams manages to mix in his humor at all with a very touching romance and somewhat serious quest of rather epic (rather than episodic) proportion.
The best part about this novel is that it virtually almost entirely features Arthur, and that's it... at least out of the main characters. Ford shows up a bit, and Marvin is in the last chapter, but Zaphod and Trillian are missing, but don't worry, it hardly matters. Adams more than makes up for it by introducing a marvelous character named Fenchurch, who becomes a love interest for Arthur. A love interest for Arthur? Yes, you heard me correctly.
This book, in my mind, establishes Adams as a serious heavyweight. The levels of humor, romance, irony, wonder, and adventure are consistently high throughout, and one never detracts from the other. Besides, we finally get to take a really good look at Arthur (who had been shortchanged in the last two books), the most human character I believe I have ever encountered anywhere, and we get to see a bit of the earth, which Adams makes us realize is rather a funny place in itself.
Do not miss out on this book. Please. Read it for Arthur. Read it for Fenchurch. Read it for the Rain God. And definitely, definitely, read it for the most wonderful love scene ever written.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Keep reading till this one, definitely the best. July 12 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
So Long is the best in the "trilogy of four" of the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy, after the unexpected surprise of the first, and the two funny yet low-paced sequels. There, Adams finds out a solid thread to elaborate upon, even if a classic one and at the detriment of his zany humor (there's still the rain god, though).
Arthur gets back on earth where he falls in love with that lady who had a glimpse of the ultimate truth, of the meaning of it all, but just when the earth evaporated under a giant laser beam to make way for an hyperspace bypass. Now she forgot it, and they manage to find it back together.
The love story is touching and incredibly realistic, while of course still and always narrated in this weird, delightful, illogical---or may be too logical for literature---funny D.G.'s free wild style. But most of all, there is a real overall meaning. Whereas 42 means nothing, God's last message to His creation bears a genuine message of tolerance and encouragement to keep satisfied with life and all that comes with it. The allegory of the otter pulling the raft is deep and couldn't explain it best. The laughters of Prax about Arthur illustrates simply how ludicrous can be the metaphysical wonders. This last book is full of metaphors like these.
I'd like to point out also how close to Monty Python's Meaning of Life it seems to me, with a development of the whole story before the "secret" much the same, full of idiocies and funny details of life. That shows another connection in this regards (and if we are to believe Yoakum, even 42 stems from Pythons, somehow).
There was a point to this review, but it has temporarily escaped the reviewer's mind.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This Is Another Great Book By Adams
I loved this book and I see no reason for you not to like it, it stays true to the series and I thought it was the funniest in the series besides the first. Read more
Published on March 26 2002 by Screendoor
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent with titles
Lovely carrying on in the spirit of the "trilogi of 4 " it defines. Not for someone who has not read the others in the trilogy.
Published on Aug. 9 2001 by A. Mittal
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it!
Douglas Adams has done it again. A hysterical addition to the trilogy. If you love comedy and science fiction this is a must read. Ideal for children aged 12-102.
Published on June 29 2001 by Jamie Yadoff
1.0 out of 5 stars So Long humor - stick with the trilogy!!!
The first book was terrific, the second great, the third good. Now, however, I think Adams has lost his thread. Read more
Published on April 17 2001 by Maddie Logowitz
5.0 out of 5 stars Different, but very good
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. Read more
Published on March 21 2001 by Bill R. Moore
2.0 out of 5 stars What Happened?
The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy was great. The Resturaunt at the End of the Universe was almost as good. Read more
Published on Oct. 20 2000 by R. Abbott
2.0 out of 5 stars At this point, it all starts to go sadly wrong...
The brilliant trilogy "Hitchhiker's Guide", "Restaurant" and "Life, the Universe" constituted an act which was nearly impossible to follow. Read more
Published on Sept. 18 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious
Brilliant. Witty. Biting. Absolutely Hilarious. The Hitchhiker series is not to be missed; they are the funniest collection of books ever written. Read more
Published on July 5 2000 by Christopher M. Adams
4.0 out of 5 stars So Long, And Thanks for All The Fish
This book was very different, and a lot better, than the last two books in the series. I like how Arthur is depicted a bit more "normal" than before. Read more
Published on June 16 2000 by Jose Calderon
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