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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Funniest Series Ever!
When you've just finished a book that's as thick & heavy as a dictionary, it is all too tempting to write pages and pages in review of it. However, I will spare you as much as I can.
The basic premise of the novels is that Ford Prefect is a hitchhiker and writer for "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." He hitches rides all around space, writes up his...
Published on May 13 2004 by T. George

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2.0 out of 5 stars Decline in quality
Douglas Adams wrote, with assorted help, an extremely funny radio show called "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". Part of it was made into a funny tv show (the cheapness of which added to the joy of it: one got the sensation that the galaxy outside of earth is all done on the cheap); and translated into two books, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the...
Published on April 9 2001 by Christopher Twelvetrees


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Funniest Series Ever!, May 13 2004
By 
T. George "anne-with-an-e" (An American city) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
When you've just finished a book that's as thick & heavy as a dictionary, it is all too tempting to write pages and pages in review of it. However, I will spare you as much as I can.
The basic premise of the novels is that Ford Prefect is a hitchhiker and writer for "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." He hitches rides all around space, writes up his experiences and sends them in to his editors. As the novel opens up, it's roughly 1980 in England, and he's been stuck on Earth for 15 years because Earth (as we know) has not really made contact with other planets and so he can't find a ride out of there (here). In that time, he has made friends with Arthur Dent, one of the absolutely most endearing characters I've ever come across in literature (even more than a Hobbit).
When we first meet Dent, he thinks his greatest battle for the day will be to lie in front of the bulldozers which want to knock down his house. Little does he know that Earth is also about to be knocked over (obliterated really) for a hyper-space by-pass. Prefect, however, catches on and rescues Dent at the very last minute...Whether or not this was a good thing is up to the reader to decide.
While Adams shows his literal genius for comedic timing and absurd humor within the bounds of Earth at the beginning, once he is freed of all constraints his writing style blazes with unique talent. Every page is so filled with parody, dry wit, perfect timing, and mind-boggling fictitious science that it leaves you laughing aloud and reeling at the same time. I realize that his humor is not for everyone...but for anyone who enjoys satire and for anyone who is frustrated with the insanity of life, this book brings the proverbial comic relief.
From what I've read from hard-core Douglas Adams fans (and there seem to be quite a few of those), books #1, 2, and 4 in this series are Adam's purest works. #3 and 5 are a bit heavier in tone. #6 (Young Zaphod Plays It Safe) is simply baffling.
For those who don't like science fiction, I would say that that shouldn't really be a problem here. While Adams does invent some very funny alien races (like the race with 50 arms that was the only one to invent deodorant before the wheel), his focus clearly isn't imagining how different life can be. Everything in his novels is a satire of humanity - from the bureaucracy to the androids to the laws of physics.
Of all the wonderful things I could dwell on in Adam's work, the last thing I would like to mention is that of all action/adventure stories I have ever read, I think Adams has created a few of the most realistic heroes. Dent, Prefect, and Zaphod - though somewhat resourceful - aren't particularly strong, bold, courageous, intelligent or smooth. They bungle any number of situations, and only Trillian has a real moment of brilliance. And yet, no matter how much they might want to simply run and save their own hides, a sense of duty to man/life nags at their conscience and keeps bringing them to help save somebody. Ultimately, I think this balances out so much of Adams ironic humor about how stupid life can be. Yes, life is absurd at so many levels, but Adams never abandons our Western Civilization ideals of the value of life and our duty to help each other.
Oh, and the dialogue is priceless!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Panic..., Oct. 31 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Great stories, and I was very, very happy to find this book for such a good price! It's a huge book physically, but not that awkward to read, especially considering it's actually five books disguised as one...

Very pretty with its gold lettered cover and gold-edged pages adding up to a pseudo-sophisticated presentation, it's fun to read in public... a very nice, but "extremely religious" lady came up to me at a cafe and praised me for reading the bible... I didn't have the heart to tell her it was a very different kind of guide book lol.

Wonderful to get if you like Douglas Adams' work, or want a (very) solid dose of British humour, or just want to be one of the ones counted as knowing precisely where your towel is ;)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 Is the answer. What is the Question?, June 26 2002
By 
"dick_hille" (Bodegraven Netherlands) - See all my reviews
This heading may seem strange, but the book is even stranger. I ques the introduction by Douglas says it all. The whole idea is simple and straightforward: "What if there would be a book like France for 2 dollars a day, that would guide you trough the univers.
This book tells you just that and also makes a point about the fact that the univers is a stranger place then you or I could ever imagine.
Time travel, travel at the speed of chance, travel to all kinds of strange places, like the place, where the universe stops to exist. All is possible in this book, including a manicaly depressed robot with a brain the size of a planet, who eventualy lives about 7 times longer as the univers exists.
Yes this book is strange and it makes you wonder about reality. Science fiction without the ussual batles and wars. Not that the universe is peacefull, but you just happen to stumble past all the big problems and live with the huge problems a person can have.....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate sci-fi collection, Sept. 23 2002
By 
Mark-David McCool (costa mesa, ca United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Want to take a ride into the mysteries of life, the universe, and everything?
Join our grand group of space hikers(arthur dent the earthling, marvin the robot, fernchurch the earthling, zaphod beetlebrox president of the galaxy, and his cousin Ford Prefect)
as they ecounter anwers to the life the universe and everything.
This book is a collection of the works of Douglas Adams written originally for BBC radio.
Many things that are answered in this volume of work include
Why 42 is the most important number you need to know.
Milliways and what kind of shows they offer with dinner.
Where the dolphins went
How you can fly(not in an airplane or space craft that is)
Improbablity drives
Kritkrit and they're problem
Who really controls the universe
and many many more things that will keep you spell bound for years to come.
Join a select group of people that have experienced
The hitch hikers guide to the galaxy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best comedy writer since spike milligan., March 1 2004
If you are an Adams fan then this is for you, My copies of the 5 books are all in a rotten state after years of reading and rereading, and I wanteed a tome to keep. Apart from the additional Zaphod story I will not read this for many years. i know it verbatim. Those raised on Pratchett and Rankin might find Adams' humour a little dated to be fair, but he was first and he cannot be replaced.
Cleverer than Pratchett and nowhere near as predictable, Adams seems to start at the beginning and then just bimble along through the narrative, but previous issues reemerge to show that the first three books, at least, were all part of a masterplan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Funniest Books Ever Written, Dec 18 2004
Douglas Adams has been taken from us all too soon by a heart attack. I was deeply affected when I heard the news because Mr Adams had given me such incredible joy with these books. The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy and The Restaurant at the End of the Universe are particularly great.
These books bend your mind and have you looking at things in new ways (just what are the mice really up to?), bringing great insights and new meaning. Oh heck, actually they are just downright, laugh out loud hilarious. You can't read them just once, you will be addicted.
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5.0 out of 5 stars No words to describe how perfect this book is!, Aug. 18 2003
By 
Diane Injerd "devourer of books" (Washington, MI) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I'm sure there is probably a fitting word in some far off galactic language but my bablefish is malfunctioning so I'll just have to resort to the English I have on hand. The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy includes all five books in the Hitchhiker's "trilogy" plus the short story "Young Zaphod Plays it Safe". Douglas Adam's had intended for there to be only three books but due to fan demand and the excess ideas running around in his head, lo and behold the trilogy became a series though most fans still refer to it as the trilogy. As a side note, Adams was in the beginning stages of writing a sixth book, The Salmon of Doubt, when he died.
Anyhow, back to the book, the first part, "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy", is the start of the beautiful (and slightly insane) series. The Hero? of the book is Arthur Dent, a man who wakes to find his house about to be demolished to make way for a hiway. He thought the big yellow bulldozer was the worst of his problems until his friend Ford Prefect tells him that Ford is an alien and that the Earth is going to be demolighed to make way for a SuperGalactic Hiway. Anyhow they are saved from Earth in the nic of time and so begins Arthur's amazing adventure through the cosmos. The characters that Arthur Dent meets along the way are well thought out and interesting such as the tempramental Zaphod Beeblebrox with his two heads, Marvin the chronicly depressed robot, and the annoyingly cheerful spaceship doors.
Of all the books included in this collection the first one is my favorite. You can almost see the crazy ideas oozing out of Douglas Adam's genius head. Read this book and witness the birth of your obsession. In these books there are no limits of time, physics, anatomy, or anything really and Adams takes full advantage of this like no other author I have read.
The other books in the series carry on the craziness of the first with most of the same characters and also some memorable new ones. After the first book, my next favorite has to be the fifth one "Mostly Harmless" which centers on Arthur's daughter Random.
Now This book is probably not for everyone. Such as if you have no sense of humor, are obsessed with neatness and order, or have a horrible fear of the number 42. Otherwise, buy this book and get ready to laugh out loud at the absurdity and incredible imagination that is The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Has to be 5 because genius is rare., Aug. 1 2003
By 
Honest Opinion - hacker. (San Carlos, Ca United States) - See all my reviews
Douglas Adams was very tall. I know because I met him once when I was 16 and only 6'1" and he towered over me. He was still very nice, gracious, witty and funny. Now he's dead. Shame.
This book collects the novels in one place - that's a good thing. It makes it easier for you to buy them. Which means you are more likely to read them. And have a more fulfilled life.
The stories are in some ways slightly dated, but that should not stop you from enjoying one of the sharpest literary descriptions of modern man's incomprehension with reality, life, the Universe and Everything.
Having moved to the USA (from England) I find that much of American corporate culture appears to depend on "SEP" fields. (Somebody Else's Problem). The description of how SEP fields can be induced is a work of genius that could only have occurred when Douglas was hit by an inspiron at a Test Match. No one who has struggled with a bill (Check) at a restaurant can fail to be impressed with "Bistromatics" and everyone can understand Arthur's feelings when he presses a button and it lights up in black on a black background and says, "DO NOT PRESS THIS BUTTON AGAIN"
From the age of about ten I have been completely smitten by these works. When we had an end of term "Mastermind" competition at school, my chosen specialised (sorry had to spell it in English) subject was "The four books of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy"... (dating me) I was only stumped by one question:
"What were the names of the two philosophers who were given the task of finding out the answer to life the universe and everything?" Deep in thought, I could only remember "Majikthighes" (SP)
Even if you don't understand cricket, this book will both educate you in the English psyche, and amuse you effortlessly. The prose is apparently took D.A. weeks to write per page, yet appears fluid and seamless. You can't tell it took so long. Enough said.
Buy and enjoy.
(c) Sirius Cybernetics Corp.
P.S. One of my most enjoyable literary experiences was asking Terry Pratchet at a writers' clinic: "is 'Rincewind' really 'Arthur Dent'". The fact that his answer took 40 minutes tells all...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Can't rate with stars; have to rate with planets from obscur, June 20 2003
By 
e parts of the galaxy.... ;-)
This "omnibus" edition is rather a bit bulky to hold in the bath or on the beach or in one's sleeping bag, but it's worthy the sprained thumb muscles.
I'm almost 50 so this was a blast from the past for me (and in any case, I had only read the original trilogy, not the fourth book in what was still stubbornly and as the entry in the Hitchhiker's Guide will tell you, is nevertheless still a trilogy because it was written by a software avatar named Douglas Adams while in Improbability Drive. I thought everyone knew that. And then to have the 5th (and absolutely new) book, "So Long and Thanks for All the Fish," and the cute short story about the young and adventuresome Zaphod, well, when I saw it, I had to get it...for my 20-year old son.
His response? "Gee, now I know where all those expressions come from. You know, 'life, the universe and everything,' '42,' 'I never could quite get the hang of Thursdays' and so on." I'd made a convert. I'd pass the virus (or is that a meme?) on to a new generation and had fulfilled my role as a father. But being a wily father, after giving it to my son for Christmas, I borrowed it back* and reread the original stories, which I first encountered in their radio format -- the BBC radio versions re-broadcast on the CBC**. What a delightful blast from the past. It still froodles, by Zarquon!
*Always make your euro/loonie/yanquidollah stretch farther by giving books to people you'd like to read. A somewhat less obvious strategy than giving your wife the Motomaster cordless drill set from Canadian Tire for Christmas.
**Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; listed in the Hitchhiker's Guide as the Canadian Broadcorping Castration, thanks to an error by a sub-editor at InfiniDim.
Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland
"War is God's way of teaching Americans geography" -- Ambrose Pierce
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5.0 out of 5 stars The answer is, "42", Jan. 30 2003
By 
Todd D. Vance (Bowie, MD United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
So, what's the question, then? Will Arthur Dent find out? How could he when he lay in the mud in front of the big yellow bulldozer that was advancing down his garden path to knock down his house to build a bypass. He clearly should have read and submitted comments on the plans on display in a basement with no stairs and no light behind a door with a sign on it that said, "Beware of the leopard." Instead, he waited while his friend, Ford Prefect, who was really from the vicinity of Betelgeuse, and not Guildford as he had always said, tried to talk him into sharing with him six pints of bitter and a couple packs of peanuts at the Horse and Groom pub down the street. Thus, Arthur began one long adventure, or rather, one short adventure, or rather, many short adventures, but they happened one right after another with little time for bitter or considering the meaning of life, the universe, and everything, that they might as well would have been considered one long adventure--or is that, willen haven been considered one long adventure? Or Haven on-mighten been, or... time travel does not cause insurmountable paradoxes so much as it causes English grammar to become insurmountably complicated.
So, in book one, the Earth is destroyed to build a hyperspace bypass and Arthur barely escapes both this and having his brain diced by mice who want to know why "42" is the answer. In book two, he gets hungry and refuses to eat a cow that wants to be eaten. In book three, he nearly destroys the universe with a bad cricket play. In book four, he finds true love but loses all the dolphins. In book five, he makes a name for himself as a maker of sandwiches.
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The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (Paperback - 2002)
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