The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams: Complete Books 1-5 Box Set - Fiction - Paperback
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy started unassumingly as a half-hour comedy programme on BBC Radio 4. Since then, it has grown to be a multimedia phenomenon, and a massive influence on the worlds of science fiction and comedy. Loved by writers from Neil Gaiman to Russell T Davies, the series is now revered as a classic. A sixth novel in the series, And Another Thing…, was written by Eoin Colfer of the Artemis Fowl books. The series is perfect for teenagers and young adults seeking their next hilarious adventure.
The series has been adapted into stage shows, albums, comics, games, TV, and a 2005 Disney movie. However, the most beloved version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is the novels. This 42nd Anniversary Collection features all five books written by Douglas Adams in the inaccurately named trilogy. Each book has a foreword from a famous fan, and comes with material from the Douglas Adams archive.
What happens in the books?
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Complete Collection contains all five books in the trilogy.
The first novel was adapted from the first four episodes of the radio series. In it, the Earth gets destroyed to make way for a hyperspace expressway. Englishman Arthur Dent survives by managing to hitch a lift on the Vogon destructor fleet. He and his friend Ford Prefect, an alien researcher for "The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy" currently undercover on Earth, are tossed out of an airlock, and rescued by Ford’s two-headed semi-cousin Zaphod Beeblebrox, the Galactic President with a stolen Infinite Improbability Drive, and his human girlfriend Trillian. The gang, accompanied by depressed robot Marvin, discover the secret origins of the Earth, the Ultimate Question, and two hyperintelligent mice, in an unlikely and hilarious adventure.
The second novel picks up immediately afterwards, as the gang travels to The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Adapted from episodes five and six, this instalment sees a quest to find the Ruler of the Universe, a visit to a restaurant in a time bubble overseeing the collapse of everything, and an unscheduled and lengthy stay on prehistoric Earth.
The third book, Life, the Universe, and Everything, was inspired by the rejected script Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen. This book sees robots land at Lord’s Cricket Ground two days before the Earth’s destruction and run off with the Ashes. These escapees from the planet Krikkit wish to destroy the universe, and only Arthur and Ford can stop them. Also, Arthur learns how to fly. It’s pretty simple: you just throw yourself at the ground and miss.
The fourth book wasn't based on anything, and is quite different. So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish is a romance, which sees Arthur returned to an apparently not-destroyed Earth, and fall in love with a woman called Fenchurch. Together, they investigate the disappearance of all the dolphins, which had evacuated Earth before its destruction, which apparently didn’t happen, and everyone else dismisses as a hallucination.
Mostly Harmless is the fifth book, and the last book Adams published in his lifetime. Having misplaced Fenchurch in a hyperspace jump, Arthur ends up stranded on a planet, and begins a career as a sandwich maker. Meanwhile, Ford Prefect steals the unpublished and sentient Hitchhiker's Guide Mk 2 from its new publishers, the Vogons. He sends the guide ahead to Arthur, who has also been left with a teenage daughter by Trillian. Both of Arthur’s ‘gifts’ escape together on Ford’s ship, and it’s up to our heroes to pursue them to an alternate Earth.
Who are these books for?
The Hichhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series is endlessly quotable, utterly unpredictable, and essential reading for fans of Doctor Who, Terry Pratchett, and funny science fiction adventures. This five book set is the perfect package to get into the series, available here at a great value price.
Who was Douglas Adams?
Douglas Adams was a bestselling author, environmental campaigner, and futurist. The first brush Douglas Adams had with success was in 1974, when he became one of only two people other than the Pythons to write for Monty Python’s Flying Circus. He fell out of the habit of a career for a few years, until the first episode of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was commissioned in February 1977.
The pilot for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy got him a gig writing for Doctor Who. His first story was The Pirate Planet, the second serial of 1978’s The Key to Time arc. Improbably, considering his general attitude to deadlines, Adams became the programme’s script editor, overseeing the scripts next season. During this time he wrote the fan-favourite story City of Death over a weekend, while locked in the producer’s study. This serial had the highest-rated episode ever of Doctor Who, and was a key influence on the rebooted series which started in 2005. He also wrote the legendary Shada, which never completed its studio filming due to industrial action. Elements from both of these stories ended up in his novel Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.
However, Douglas Adams’s life was quickly taken over by the success of The Hichhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Between 1978 and 1984, Adams wrote two radio series, four novels, a TV series, and a computer game, all based on the adventures of Arthur Dent. Alongside this he wrote The Meaning of Liff with QI’s John Lloyd, and bought two of the first Macintosh computers in the UK.
Later in life, he wrote two Dirk Gently books, a final Hitchhiker’s novel, two computer games, and collaborated on the project Last Chance to See, promoting species that were going extinct. He created h2g2, an online encyclopaedia that predates Wikipedia by two years. He died in 2001 while working on The Salmon of Doubt, a third Dirk Gently book that might have become a sixth Hitchhiker’s book instead, and the movie version of The Hichhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Titles in this set
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
- The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
- Life, the Universe and Everything
- So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
- Mostly Harmless
From the publisher
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
One Thursday lunchtime the Earth gets unexpectedly demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass. For Arthur Dent, who has only just had his house demolished that morning, this seems already to be more than he can cope with. Sadly, however, the weekend has only just begun, and the Galaxy is a very strange and startling place.
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
When all questions of space, time, matter and the nature of being have been resolved, only one question remains - "Where shall we have dinner?" "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe" provides the ultimate gastronomic experience, and for once there is no morning-after to worry about.
Life, the Universe and Everything
In consequence of a number of stunning catastrophes, Arthur Dent is surprised to find himself living in a hideously miserable cave on prehistoric Earth. However, just as he thinks that things cannot get possibly worse, they suddenly do. He discovers that the Galaxy is not only mind-boggingly big and bewildering but also that most of the things that happen in it are staggeringly unfair.
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
Just when Arthur Dent's sense of reality is at its most clouded, he suddenly finds the girl of his dreams. He finds her in the last place in the Universe in which he would expect to find anything at all, but which 3,976,000,000 people will find oddly familiar. They go in search of God's Final Message to His Creation and, in a dramatic break with tradition, actually find it.
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.