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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Life, the Universe and Everything
Douglas Adams
Victor Gollancz, 178, 196, 184 pages

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy
Douglas Adams
Douglas Adams was born in Cambridge in 1952 and educated in Essex before returning to Cambridge to study at St John's College. He worked as a radio and television writer and producer before the publication of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in 1979. The novel went on to sell more than 14 million copies and was followed by the sequels The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Life, the Universe and Everything and So Long and Thanks For All the Fish. He married Jane Belson in 1991 and they had a daughter in 1994. He died in May 2001 in Santa Barbara, California, following a heart attack.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Salmon of Doubt
SF Site Review: The Salmon of Doubt

Past Feature Reviews
A review by David Maddox

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy, as penned by the late, great Douglas Adams, needs no introduction. It has become one of the most recognizable series in the SF genre, transcending SF barriers and delighting fans of all ages for decades. If you haven't read it (what's the matter with you?!), go read it now because you're missing out.

Although the increasingly inaccurate trilogy has been in print for many years, these three new editions by Victor Gollancz truly do the books justice. If any out there have read my reviews before you know that the appearance of a book is a big part of the overall reading experience for me. These hardback pocket-book volumes, with their matte/glossy black finish and a hint of silver are an excellent addition to any book collection. Lord knows my paperback versions have seen far better days. The physical style and quality are definitely there, but do the stories themselves hold up?

Of course they do! Adams was a master of intelligent satire, barbed wit, and comedic dialogue. The Hitchhiker's Guide is rich in comedic detail and thought-provoking commentary which stands up to multiple reads. Tragically, Douglas Adams passed away May 11, 2001 of a sudden heart attack. His work was sparse and included Last Chance to See, the Dirk Gently series and the computer game Starship Titanic. But it is definitely for the Hitchhiker books that he will be remembered.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy chronicles the adventures of hapless hero Arthur Dent as he travels the galaxy with his alien friend Ford Prefect. Dent, grabbed from Earth moments before a cosmic construction team obliterates the planet to build a hyperspace byway, finds himself the sole surviving human male in a universe that could frankly care less. On their journey they run into Trillian (the last woman) and enigmatically insane Zaphod Beeblebrox on a quest to question the ultimate answer to the universe, which is 42.

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe takes up right where Hitchhiker's leaves off. Our intrepid heroes continue their exploits to discover the Great Question while stopping for a bite at the very end of the universe itself. They enjoy a nice meal which really wants to be eaten and to watch the universe wink out of existence. Arthur and Ford then finds themselves back on prehistoric earth.

Life, the Universe and Everything was originally designed to close the series, with Arthur and Ford returning to the present only to come face to face with the denizens of Kricket, an irritating race who want to wipe out all life in the universe. Although Adams did write two sequels, So Long and Thanks for all the Fish and Mostly Harmless, Life still stands as a wonderful conclusion to the trilogy.

Indeed, if you've never read the series or you just need a new set to replace your well-thumbed copies, this one is for you. No SF reader should be without it. Run, grab your copies today. And don't forget your towel.

Copyright © 2003 David Maddox

David Maddox
Science fiction enthusiast David Maddox has been many things, including Star Trek characters and the Riddler in a Batman stunt show. He holds a degree in Cinema from San Francisco State University, and has written several articles for various SF sites as well as the Star Wars Insider. He spends his time working on screenplays and stories as well as acting in any venue he can. Residing in Los Angeles, he continues to be part of this wacky business called show.

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