Douglas Adams, Good Kindle Books at a Glance #10
Douglas Noel Adams is best known for the science fiction comedy Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Originally radio broadcast series, they later inspired “a trilogy in five parts” as well as TV series, a movie and stage productions. Some of these are available in Kindle edition.
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is the first book of the “trilogy”. Published in 1979, it was soon number one on the Sunday Times bestseller list, and in five years its 1,000,000th copy was sold. The novel is written in the form of an encyclopedia that helps Arthur Dent and his alien friend, Ford Prefect, in their travel through the universe. “Required reading for science fiction fans, this book (and its follow-ups) is also sure to please fans of Monty Python, Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, and British sitcoms.”
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe was published in 1980 as the second book of the series. It continues the funny adventures of Arthur, Ford and their strange pal Zaphod Beeblebrox in entertaining and unusual style. Adams himself thought this novel to be the best of the five.
Unlike the previous two books, Life, the Universe and Everything was not adapted from radio series, but was originally written as a novel. In the US edition the book was censored, you can find the differences here. “Join Arthur Dent, earthling, “jerk”, kneebiter and time-traveler; sexy space cadet Trillian; mad alien Ford Prefect; unflappable Slartibartfast; two-headed, three-armed ex-head Honcho of the Universe Zaphod Beeblebrox… and learn to fly.”
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (published in 1984) is the fourth book in the series; the title has since become a humorous “goodbye phrase” among science fiction fans. Arthur returns to the Earth that has been replaced by Dolphins in the “Save the Humans” campaign, and falls in love with a girl named Frenchurch. “Was the earth really demolished? Why did all the dolphins disappear? What is God’s final message to His creatures? Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, and the new voivoid gang are off (by commercial airline) on a wacked-out quest to answer these truly unimportant questions.” While the previous novels showed Adams’ rather negative attitude towards computers, he definitely changed his mind at the time of writing this one, which is reflected in the plot. By the way, he claimed to have bought two of the first three Macintosh available in the UK.
Mostly Harmless (published in 1992) is “The fifth book in the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhikers Trilogy”, as it reads on the cover. The plot of the previous books continues to evolve, with Infinidim Enterprises trying to destroy Earth in every possible dimension.