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5.0 out of 5 stars Strong Conclusion to an Excellent Series
What do you get when you combine interstellar space travel, romance, action, mindless astronauts, parallel universes, religion, and sandwiches all into the same book? Why, you get Mostly Harmless, the fifth book in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams.
Mostly Harmless takes you through the life of Arthur Dent, a man whose house and world have...
Published on May 29 2002 by Mike

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars With Love To DNA, This Book Is Mostly Unnecessary
Don't let my 2-star rating for "Mostly Harmless" fool you---I miss Douglas Adams very much. He was a brilliantly funny author, and I'm a huge fan of his first four "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy" books, his pair of "Dirk Gently" books, and his writing for the "Doctor Who" TV series. But sadly, I must confess, I'm not a fan of...
Published on May 24 2002 by Alan Caylow


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4.0 out of 5 stars HHGTTU, Oct. 26 2003
*WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS!!*
I loved all of the books,thought the ending to mostly harmless certainly hurt (when I read books, I imagine them to be alive. In addition, I seem to have developed some sort of curse that makes certain that each and every favourite character I ever decide on will die by the end of the book/series/whatever. So Ford dying in the end certainly didn't help my opinion of this book).
A lot of people have brought up questions regarding continuity and loopholes with regards to the ending, and I think that this was intentional - My GUESS, is the Douglas Adams purposely ended the book the way he did to be finished and done with it, but to also give people who couldn't deal with the death a simple way out of having to.
I cannot deal with the death ( ;) ) so I am pretending in my mind that Ford and the others simply hitch-hiked their way out of the situation, and continued on their way, while sorting out Fenchurch, Zaphod, Trillian/Tricia, and Random along the way, and, everyone did indeed live happily ever after.
It could happen.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Strong Conclusion to an Excellent Series, May 29 2002
By 
Mike (Charlottesville, VA) - See all my reviews
What do you get when you combine interstellar space travel, romance, action, mindless astronauts, parallel universes, religion, and sandwiches all into the same book? Why, you get Mostly Harmless, the fifth book in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams.
Mostly Harmless takes you through the life of Arthur Dent, a man whose house and world have been demolished by the Vogons, a race of evil space aliens that evolution has literally given up on. After losing the love of his life, Fenchurch (she literally vanishes into thin air), he begins to search for a new planet to reside upon. After residing briefly on the planet Bartledan, a world in which no one has wants or desires he takes up shop as a Sandwich Maker on the planet of Lamuella. Everything is going fine, until the day his ex-girlfriend, Trillian, shows up on his front door with a little surpriseï¿a daughter. Random (his appropriately named daughter), was conceived by artificial fertilization from a random specimen, which was donated by Arthur. This complicates the already complicated life of Arthur Dent even more, and this is just the beginning. Adams also brings back old favorites from the previous books in Ford Prefect and of course, the aptly named Hitchhikerï¿s Guide itself.
Mostly Harmless is an great finale for an excellent series. Adams does a good job in tying up the story line while still adding his randomness and humor to the novel. If you love a good science fiction story, or just a good humorous read, Mostly Harmless and the rest of the Hitchhikerï¿s Guide series is definitely something youï¿ll enjoy.
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2.0 out of 5 stars With Love To DNA, This Book Is Mostly Unnecessary, May 24 2002
By 
Alan Caylow (USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Don't let my 2-star rating for "Mostly Harmless" fool you---I miss Douglas Adams very much. He was a brilliantly funny author, and I'm a huge fan of his first four "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy" books, his pair of "Dirk Gently" books, and his writing for the "Doctor Who" TV series. But sadly, I must confess, I'm not a fan of Adams' final "Hitchhiker's" book, "Mostly Harmless." The reason is simple: the fifth book, in my opinion, is totally unnecessary. Adams originally intended for the fourth book, "So Long And Thanks For All The Fish," to be the definitive final book in the "Hitchhiker's" saga. There's a *reason* why the fourth book has a farewell title to it, folks! And, like the three books that came before it, I totally loved it---I read the entire "So Long And Thanks..." book in a single day, and I thought that it was a marvelous "conclusion" to the adventures of Arthur Dent & company.Then along came "Mostly Harmless," which, by Adams' own admission, he only wrote on a whim---just for fun, in other words. He came up with a way to extend the series for one more book, which I'm sure delighted some "Hitchhiker's" fans, but I, personally, was so disappointed with the direction of it. Arthur's ladylove, Fenchurch, is gone, and now it turns out that he & Trillian had a daughter (though not by natural means), and that's just for starters. Oh, Adams' writing is still sharp, but despite a very humourous adventure with Ford Prefect & a companion robot toward the beginning, the fifth book, to my dismay, turns surprisingly serious. What can I say---this is simply not how I wanted the "Hitchhiker's" saga to end.I have on my bookshelf a "complete" hardcover edition of "The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy" that only goes up through "So Long And Thanks For All The Fish." That's fine with me. To me, "So Long" IS the definitive ending of the series. I just don't feel it was necessary for Douglas Adams to extend the story any further. Don't get me wrong, I greatly mourn the man, and I will always treasure his other works of genius, but "Mostly Harmless," for me, came up short. My advice: read the "Hitchhiker's" series through book four ONLY, and you will get a much more satisfying conclusion. But the misstep that is "Mostly Harmless" takes nothing away from the man's great literary gifts---and great laughs---that he gave us throughout his incredible writing career. So long, Douglas, and thanks for all the fish.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mostly funny, but rather grim in the end, Jan. 3 2003
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Mostly Harmless (Paperback)
It is impossible not to have some mixed feelings about this novel. It does stand as a return to the wild frivolity and cuttingly biting humor of the first three books, yet it is certainly less than upbeat, all things considered. Despite all kinds of evidence to the contrary, I always had the feeling that things would work out, even for poor Arthur Dent-the universe might not make a bit of sense, of course, but these characters I love so much would ultimately at least find a sense of peace if not happiness in some forgotten corner of the cosmos. It's something of a downer to find out this is not really the case. Two characters who very much made up the heart of the series for me, Marvin and Zaphod, are not even present in these pages. Then you have Fenchurch from the fourth book, a character I really came to love, thrown out of the saga like so much spoiled Perfectly Normal Beast meat. It's nice to have Trillian back, albeit in a couple of transdimensional forms, as well as Ford and Arthur, but it's hard to say who the story is really about. Arthur's new life as a Sandwich Maker on a remote planet his ship crashed on is rather pitiful but totally Dent-like. Ford's attempts to undo the tragic consequences of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy company having been taken over by unscrupulous business men is interesting. The introduction of a Tricia McMillan who did not leave the party with Zaphod because she decided to go back for her handbag ends up just muddying the waters of the fictional time stream. Then there is Random, the biological daughter of Arthur Dent by Trillian; she is even more mixed up and generally confused about life than the father she only meets as a teenager dumped by her too-busy mother. It might be said that this is Random's story, but all she really does is provide the means by which the principal actors Ford, Arthur, and Trillian are eventually brought together for the final conclusion.
Adams did do an impressive job of bringing things together in the end-characters and situations not only from this novel itself but from the start of the whole Hitchhiker's saga (think Vogons). Why a pesky number of loose threads were allowed to hang out, though, while so much work went into resolving other looming storylines, is beyond me and did much to mar the satisfaction I got from the rather abrupt, unfortunate conclusion. I am particularly bothered by the fact that Fenchurch, a character important enough for Adams to have written the entire fourth novel about, is summarily dismissed with little thought and even little grief from Arthur Dent himself. I should not complain about the way Adams chose to end this delightful series of novels of his own imaginative creation, yet I cannot help feeling disappointed if not a little cheated by the way in which everything ended. All in all, while I did enjoy parts of this book immensely, I would rather have ended things with the happy note of So Long, and Thanks For all the Fish, and be left free to imagine what kinds of messes Ford and Arthur might be getting themselves into somewhere in the universe and wondering what really ever happened to Trillian and Zaphod.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Strong Conclusion to an Excellent Series, May 30 2002
By 
Mike (Charlottesville, VA) - See all my reviews
What do you get when you combine interstellar space travel, romance, action, mindless astronauts, parallel universes, religion, and sandwiches all into the same book? Why, you get Mostly Harmless, the fifth book in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams.
Mostly Harmless takes you through the life of Arthur Dent, a man whose house and world have been demolished by the Vogons, a race of evil space aliens that evolution has literally given up on. After losing the love of his life, Fenchurch (she literally vanishes into thin air), he begins to search for a new planet to reside upon... Adams also brings back old favorites from the previous books in Ford Prefect and of course, the aptly named Hitchhiker's Guide itself.
Mostly Harmless is an great finale for an excellent series. Adams does a good job in tying up the story line while still adding his randomness and humor to the novel. If you love a good science fiction story, or just a good humorous read, Mostly Harmless and the rest of the Hitchhiker's Guide series is definitely something you'll enjoy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Review of the book that DOES give the question(spoilers), April 12 2002
By 
bridge (Munster, IN) - See all my reviews
In "Life, the Universe, and Everything" plays heavily into this book for several reasons. The most obvious is Agrajag, which I thought was very clever of Arthur to remember and allowed him to have a rarely seen sense of arrogance in him. But there's another reference that's incredibly subtle and I don't know if Adams even realized it(or maybe I'm just out to lunch and am dead wrong): Arthur had some interestings views in "L,tU,aE," one of which was that the farther things move in space the more they stay in the same place. After Arthur's fantastic journeys throughout the galaxy, he ends up where he came from: Earth. I know many people disliked this book because it didn't have the happy, "they all lived happily ever after," Hollywood-esque ending. I say that this series wasn't meant to be a cute little tale. It was meant to be ridiculously silly and humorous. And that's exactly the way the book ends the series. Imagine! After all these people have gone through it comes to an end because some confused aliens want to change their horoscope! I thoroughly enjoyed Arthur being a "sandwich maker." I found it very quaint and I was glad Arthur was happy(however momentarily). I like the way of ending the tale of these people with a new, ultimate nemesis: A new Guide. An all-powerful Guide. That's what got Arthur and Ford into all the original trouble into the first(or did it save them?) and now it's back and horribly evil. I liked Ford casually breaking into the headquarters and being confused that the floor was 3 centimeters lower than usual from the vent. It gives you a good perspective of Ford. I admit that I did not enjoy Trillian/Tricia McMillan very much in this story, but she(they) were necessary. I thought Random was somewhat funny, but not as much as Ford and Arthur. I liked Ford's ridiculous overspending with his new found credit card and his notions to throw himself out windows. And I absolutely loved Colin. A beautiful contrast to Marvin(although the doors and Eddie from previous books also served the same purpose). I especially enjoyed his "I gurgle with pleasure" line said right after Ford gives him some sternly horrible words. I was not disappointed that Fenchurch was left out or that Arthur wasn't overly depressed about it. He was already at the near peak of depression before meeting her. In this he's depressed that he's lost his love, his planet, his life, any sense of normalcy, and has gained a completely unstable daughter. It took me a while to understand why Elvis was put into this book so much, but after a while, I finally understood. I hope you all understand it too. Because it represents the true closure to the story that this book puts forth. ... It's a good book(despite the fact that Zaphod Beeblebrox is left out, I liked his wonderfully confusing personality.)
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5.0 out of 5 stars A strong conclusion to a brilliant series, March 20 2002
Despite owning the least auspicious title in Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy, Mostly Harmless follows in the footsteps of its four predecessors, providing outrageous sci-fi comedy as well as a perfect conclusion to the series.
With Adams, and specifically with the Hitchhiker trilogy, one almost begins to expect the unexpected. So, after four always amusing books following the travels of two Earthlings and a few of their alien friends, what would be a more unexpected, and therefore fitting, conclusion to the series than a novel with dark overtones and a tragic ending?
The premise of the trilogy is this: Arthur Dent is the reluctant main character of the entire series, and one of only two remaining Earthlings. The Earth is actually a giant supercomputer created to find the ultimate question to the ultimate answer of the meaning of life (this answer was previously found to be 42), but was destroyed by Vogons to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Dent escaped moments before Earth's destruction with Ford Prefect, a human-like alien and employee of The Guide. Trillian (short for Tricia McMillian, an English news reporter) managed to escape with Zaphod Beeblebrox, a two-headed alien who was once president of the galaxy, whom she conveniently met at a party on Earth's final night. They then proceed to have a host of wild and crazy times in space, constantly getting into and out of trouble.
This group has since split, however, and Mostly Harmless finds Arthur alone and happy on an isolated planet. He was marooned there when his spaceship crashed, and, upon finding a primitive civilization, settled in and set out to bring high technology to the natives. After some time, Arthur found that the only part of modern civilization he actually understood well enough to impart to these people was the art of sandwich making. And he did so, all the while carving out a pleasant niche for himself.
The plot begins to thicken when Trillian arrives with their daughter, Random, whom Arthur knew nothing about. It turns out that the teenage girl is actually the product of Arthur's donation to a sperm bank, but he is forced to take her in and attempt to raise her when the career-minded Trillian demands that he take responsibility.
After some time, Arthur receives a package addressed to Ford Prefect, which Random opens to reveal a brand new, strangely interactive version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. This new Guide, though generally unbeknownst to its user, caters to the beck and call of whomever possesses it. Random uses it to travel to another dimension, one in which the Earth still exists, so she can go home. Ford comes for his package, and he and Arthur are forced to flee the planet in pursuit of Random. The chaotic conclusion that occurs when they find her brings the entire series to a complete, if not altogether cheery, conclusion.
The ultimate strength of Mostly Harmless is in the writing. Every bit of the story is worded perfectly in flowing, complex sentences, and Adams' ability to twist a phrase is the book's finest feature.
"As the Guide folded itself back into a smooth dark dish, Ford realized some pretty hectic stuff. Or at least he tried to realize it, but it was too hectic to take in all in one go. His head was hammering, his ankle was hurting, and though he didn't like to be a wimp about his ankle, he always found that intense multidimensional logic was something he understood best in the bath. He needed some time to think about this. Time, a tall drink, and some sort of rich, foamy oil."
The strange occupants of alien planets and the strange events that the group encounters give the book its depth and its unmatched humor. Arthur's planet of Lamuella, for example, features a strange group of cow/buffalo-like creatures which come out of nowhere, stampede across a few miles, and then vanishing into thin air once again. These animals are known only as Perfectly Normal Beasts, so dubbed because Old Thrashbarg, the village's leader, wanted to convey that image to the people.
" '[Old Thrashbarg] says that they come from where they come from and they go to where they go to and that it's Bob's will and that's all there is to it,'" Arthur explains to Trillian at one point before going on to touch on the Lamuellans' belief in the Almighty Bob.
It is also revealed at one point, in a brilliantly subtle sequence of events, the Elvis really was kidnapped by aliens.
Though every bit as zany as its predecessors, and with a confusing but captivating story involving layers of different dimensions of time and space, Mostly Harmless brings the five-part series to a definite end, and clearly has a much more sobering tone. Almost everything goes wrong for the main characters in this novel, and the final culmination highlights this dark theme.
If you have never read any of Douglas Adams' previous work, Mostly Harmless is not the place to start. Its plot is hard enough to follow even with a thorough knowledge of the characters, and attempting to dive in without such information would make Mostly Harmless confusing at least to the point of no longer being humorous. However, Mostly Harmless is a perfect conclusion to a masterful five-part series, and while it might not provide the ultimate question to the ultimate answer of life, the universe and everything, it is definitely more exciting, more hilarious, and more intense than its ironically cautious title might advertise.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The end of the series., March 18 2002
This book was written to provoke those who wanted Adams to continue the trilogy but I loved it. Aurthor setteled down on a bob fearing planet where he has aquired the prestigous job of "sandwitch maker" and couldn't be happier when Trillian drops his unknown psycho-daughter Random on his doorstep. Aurthor fumbles around differant planet earths chasing Random and the threat to the HGTTG with Ford Prefect. It has all the same Adams humor as the rest of the series even though its not as spectacular as the first 3 books there are still some great moments. Inevidably the joke is on us after we read this book and we choose to laugh it off or get angry for its existance.. I can understand why people get angry, but I thought it was funny.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mostly Harmless is Underrated, Jan. 22 2002
I think most of the reviews for this book downplay it seriously. While the ending is kind of disappointing, the book overall is wonderful. It gets a little confusing at times, but Ford's scenes and the Ford/Arthur dialogues are some of the best in the series. So, if you can stand a little confusion and a lot of Trillian, this is a great book.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Please pretend this book was never written., Jan. 14 2002
By 
Paul Norrod (Austin, Tx USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I have long been a fan of the Hitchhikers series as they are comic genius. The book Mostly Harmless, however, should never have come about. It is frustration at its peak. After reading this book I vowed to never read another Douglas Adams book again (not as though he got around to writing any more). This book contains nothing that resembles a story line and never gets past the character development stage. I happened to go to a talk he gave at the University of Texas a few years ago and he was asked about the ending of the Mostly Harmless and his excuse was that the hardest part of writing a new book is getting everyone back together after you scatter them to the ends of the universe in the previous book so this was his answer. If you ask me he wrote this book to pay off his new Porsche and cheat his fans. Go ahead and read the first 4 as they make up a great story by themselves but don't waste your time reading this drivel.
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Mostly Harmless
Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams (Paperback - Sept. 1 2009)
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