The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Series

This is a wrap-up post for my ratings of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. I read these in a row, and since I didn’t make any notes at the time, I’m completely unable to remember what is in which of the books, and why I thought whatever I thought about them.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the GalaxyThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Series: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy #1
Publisher: Pan Books
Released: October 12, 1979
Pages: 193
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Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.
Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker's Guide ("A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have") and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox—the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod's girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.

The Restaurant at the End of the UniverseThe Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams
Series: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy #2
Publisher: Pan Books
Released: October 1, 1980
Pages: 256
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Facing annihilation at the hands of the warlike Vogons is a curious time to have a cosmically displaced Arthur Dent and his curious comrades in arms as they hurtle through space powered by pure improbability - and desperately in search of a place to eat. Among Arthur's motley shipmates are Ford Prefect, a long-time friend and contributor to the The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy; Zaphod Beeblebrox, the three-armed, two-headed ex-president of the galaxy; Tricia McMilan, a fellow Earth refuge who's gone native (her name is Trillian now); and Marvin, who suffers nothing and no one gladly.

Life, the Universe and EverythingLife, the Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams
Series: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy #3
Publisher: Pan Books
Released: August 1, 1982
Pages: 224
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The unhappy inhabitants of planet Krikkit are sick of looking at the night sky above their heads–so they plan to destroy it. The universe, that is. Now only five individuals stand between the killer robots of Krikkit and their goal of total annihilation.
They are Arthur Dent, a mild-mannered space and time traveler who tries to learn how to fly by throwing himself at the ground and missing; Ford Prefect, his best friend, who decides to go insane to see if he likes it; Slartibartfast, the indomitable vice president of the Campaign for Real Time, who travels in a ship powered by irrational behavior; Zaphod Beeblebrox, the two-headed, three-armed ex-president of the galazy; and Trillian, the sexy space cadet who is torn between a persistent Thunder God and a very depressed Beeblebrox.
How will it all end? Will it end? Only this stalwart crew knows as they try to avert “universal” Armageddon and save life as we know it–and don’t know it!

So Long, and Thanks for All the FishSo Long, and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams
Series: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy #4
Publisher: Pan Books
Released: November 9, 1984
Pages: 225
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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?

Mostly HarmlessMostly Harmless by Douglas Adams
Series: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy #5
Publisher: William Heinemann
Released: January 1, 1992
Rating:
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It’s easy to get disheartened when your planet has been blown up, the woman you love has vanished due to a misunderstanding about space/time, the spaceship you are on crashes on a remote and Bob-fearing planet, and all you have to fall back on are a few simple sandwich-making skills. However, instead of being disheartened, Arthur Dent makes the terrible mistake of starting to enjoy life a bit–and immediately all hell breaks loose.
Hell takes a number of forms: there’s the standard Ford Prefect version, in the shape of an all-new edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and a totally unexpected manifestation in the form of a teenage girl who startles Arthur Dent by being his daughter when he didn’t even know he had one.
Can Arthur save the Earth from total multidimensional obliteration? Can he save the Guide from a hostile alien takeover? Can he save his daughter, Random, from herself? Of course not. He never works out exactly what is going on. Will you?

Suffice to say I really loved the series. I remember the summer I read them, and remember going around for a long time afterwards trying to convince everyone of how good they were. It is, of course, an absolutely brilliant series, and writing this now is just reminding me that I need to get around to re-reading these sooner rather than later.

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