Other Books

The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Adams, Douglas - Finished Jun 03, 2016

Run-on Sentence Summary

A stupid British everyman is sucked up into an insane adventure across the universe and gradually and hilariously comes to understand how it is all one big absurd joke.

Impressions

Wow, what a ride! These might be the most hilarious books I’ve ever read. The best thing about them is Adams’ unique voice, which comes through in the sharp and witty dialogue. In his world, nothing ever makes sense and things just seem to happen randomly. The plot is full of crazy non sequiturs, and the book never really takes itself seriously: One of the major character’s names is “Slartibartfast.”

While charming at first, after a while the crazy plot (or, rather, lack thereof), becomes a bit confusing and annoying. Towards the end, some of the darker themes from the book start to feel kind of oppressive. By the final book of the five, “Mostly Harmless,” they dominate the tone of the story and the series ends in a shockingly depressing and pointless way.

A lot of people consider the fifth book to be the weakest of the five, but I think it is missing the point to deny the same sad existential undertones resonating throughout the series. Still, I think that these books are a must-read for just about anybody.

Final Thoughts

Looking back, I think I would have enjoyed these books much more if I had not read them all in such quick succession. Each of the 5 is pretty short (I’m counting this as 5 books, don’t judge me), and stands on its own. The randomness and, honestly, unimportance of the plot means that you don’t need to know the stories from the other books to read them. In fact, the guide series actually started as a radio show and was jumbled up and placed into the order that it now takes in the books. Please read these, but take your time with them!

Favorite Quote

I think of this any time somebody uses the term “life changing”: “What I lost, I think, was a whole other life” “Everybody does that. Every moment of every day. Every single decision we make, every breath we draw, opens some doors and closes many others. Most of them we don’t notice. Some we do. Sounds like you noticed one.”