So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
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Back on Earth with nothing more to show for his long, strange trip through time and space than a ratty towel and a plastic shopping bag, Arthur Dent is ready to believe that the past eight years were all just a figment of his stressed-out imagination. But a gift-wrapped fishbowl with a cryptic inscription, the mysterious disappearance of Earth's dolphins, and the discovery of his battered copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy all conspire to give Arthur the sneaking suspicion that something otherworldly is indeed going on. . . .God only knows what it all means. And fortunately, He left behind a Final Message of explanation. But since it's light-years away from Earth, on a star surrounded by souvenir booths, finding out what it is will mean hitching a ride to the far reaches of space aboard a UFO with a giant robot. But what else is new?
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
Most recent customer reviews
It is confusing going from one reality to another. Where did Fenchurch come from and where was God. The falling part was a great metaphor and the fish bowel at the beginning of... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Dean S. Marquis
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 morePublished on March 26 2002 by Screendoor
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
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
The first book was terrific, the second great, the third good. Now, however, I think Adams has lost his thread. Read morePublished on April 17 2001 by Maddie Logowitz
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 morePublished on March 21 2001 by Bill R. Moore
The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy was great. The Resturaunt at the End of the Universe was almost as good. Read morePublished on Oct. 20 2000 by R. Abbott
The brilliant trilogy "Hitchhiker's Guide", "Restaurant" and "Life, the Universe" constituted an act which was nearly impossible to follow. Read morePublished on Sept. 18 2000