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Mostly Harmless (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy #5)

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  79,632 Ratings  ·  1,678 Reviews
With additional material and a foreword by Dirk Maggs
Paperback, 218 pages
Published (first published 1992)
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Community Reviews

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Jun 29, 2007 Jon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Douglas Adams fans
Mostly Harmless was, for many people, a disappointing end to a fantastic series. Adams admitted that he was having a "bad year" when he wrote this book, and it shows: the usual humor and manic pacing are largely gone, replaced by long tracts about actual theoretical science (as opposed to the lunatic-inspired science that created, say, the starship Bistromath), and the tone overall is far darker and more depressive. There are still glimpses of Adams' comedic genius, but the book as a whole is a ...more
Henry Avila
The Milky Way Galaxy, is in a state of confusion, the dozen Universes , ( you didn't know, there are more than one?), have exploded into each other. Nothing is what it was, historians have quit, what's the point, everything keeps on changing, since history is so fluid. Tricia McMillan (Trillian , in another existence} , is not happy, the television anchor is back in England, after an unsuccessful job interview in New York City, at ten times more money too! Dead tired from the overnight flight, s ...more
(mild spoilers ahead)

It's terribly amusing that the majority of reviewers have tossed this fifth part to the trilogy aside, banished it from their mental schemata of the series so as to acknowledge only that which ends well. I think it says a lot about the readership that they took in the entirety of the first four books without picking up on the melancholy and nihilistic subtext to Adams' writing. I mean, the first book ends with the discovery that the meaning of life is 42.... how much clearer
Evan Leach
The fifth and final installment in the Hitchhiker “trilogy” is generally regarded as the weakest in the series (it’s the lowest rated on this site, for example). The story is focused on Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect. Poor Arthur, who finally found happiness at the end of book four, has the love of his life whisked away from him senselessly and is back to wandering the galaxy alone. He finally settles down to a life that many would find mind-numbingly dull but that suits Arthur just fine. Just as ...more
Aug 12, 2016 Joe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Encyclopedia Galactica, that venerable compendium, has a lot to say about the works of Douglas Adams. In particular, the first four books of his 'Hitchhiker's' series have over 7 million words dedicated to them. This includes synopses, critical analyses, research projects, philosophical treatises and Babel-fish fan-fiction.

But the fifth book in the series has not enjoyed this level of attention. Until recently, the Galactica article regarding this novel comprised a single word; 'pointless.'
Randal: Which did you like better? Jedi or The Empire Strikes Back?

Dante: Empire.

Randal: Blasphemy!

Dante: Empire had the better ending. I mean, Luke gets his hand cut off, finds out Vader's his father, Han gets frozen and taken away by Boba Fett. It ends on such a down note. I mean, that's what life is, a series of down endings. All Jedi had was a bunch of Muppets.
Ivonne Rovira
Jun 22, 2014 Ivonne Rovira rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: diehard Hitchhikers
Sadly, the five-part Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy “trilogy” ends not with a bang, but a whimper. With four storylines — displaced earthman Arthur Dent, reckless Hitchhiker’s Guide correspondent Ford Prefect; Trillian, the earth woman once named Tricia McMillan who dumped Arthur at a party to go into space with Zaphod Beeblebrox, and Tricia McMillan in a parallel universe where she stayed on earth — Mostly Harmless reads like a frenzied ride on the bumper cars, with storylines beginning and st ...more
Nathan Mathews
Feb 08, 2008 Nathan Mathews rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Blechh! Worst. Ending. Ever! I've heard that Douglas Adams wrote this book during a bad time in his life (hey, we all have 'em), but this book more or less stinks. I have chosen to forget that this book was ever written, and that the series ended on a definite high note with "So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish". Those of you who have not had your minds poisoned with this bit of tripe would do well to skip it altogether.
J.G. Keely
The universe is a joke.

Even before I was shown the meaning of life in a dream at 17 (then promptly forgot it because I thought I smelled pancakes), I knew this to be true--and yet, I have always felt a need to search for the truth, that nebulous, ill-treated creature. Adams has always been, to me, to be a welcome companion in that journey.

Between the search for meaning and the recognition that it's all a joke in poor taste lies Douglas Adams, and, luckily for us, he doesn't seem to mind if you
Hitchhiker's, volume 5.

There are some good lines in this, but I can't help feeling it would have been better if Adams had left it unwritten, or at least unpublished. It is very disjointed, with Ford, Arthur and Trillian mostly in separate stories.

It starts in what would be a parallel universe - if such things existed, which they don't, because "it makes as much sense as the sea being parallel".

"If there was one thing life had taught her it was that there are times when you do not go back for y
Petra Eggs
Apr 19, 2010 Petra Eggs rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
Its years since I read the first four volumes of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and really enjoyed it. Perhaps my taste has changed or I can't get into the 'mood' but I really didn't enjoy this book. It just seemed to be a 'clever' messa round with words and the sort of adolescent fantasies of the universe that kids who were stoned and listening to Pink Floyd tended to come up with. Like a lot of things, it was more fun to have lived it than to read about it.

There were a couple of good sen
Jun 25, 2014 Ferdy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, fun, classic, liked-it
3.5 stars

Much better than the last book, there was a lot more action, space adventure and silly humour.
I loved Arthur and the whole sandwich making thing he had going on, it was hilarious, his interactions with Random were quite funny too.
I didn't like Ford all that much though, his parts dragged and he just wasn't very entertaining.
The ending was a tad depressing with what happened to all the Earths. I guess it was better to end in that way because then the gang would forever travel in space/
Nov 08, 2007 Matt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I'm a huge fan of Douglas Adams, and loved the first four books in the "trilogy". I was sorely disappointed by the fifth and final book in the series though. To me, it seemed like he was thinking "I'm sick of people whining for more Hitchhiker's books. I'll show them." The way the book ends is I understand Adams was going through a bad period when he wrote this book, and it shows. Don't bother with this one.
Cyril Anderson
Sep 27, 2012 Cyril Anderson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let me just say that 'Mostly Harmless' totally shocked me out of my chair.
I read the first four books and pretty much loved the humor, storytelling and not to mention the characters.
Some new characters are made in 'Mostly Harmless', and if I had to choose a favorite new character, it would be Random. Random as in her name IS LITERALLY RANDOM.
The irony of the whole story made me really, really excited. The whole tale goes in a roundabout of time and space and ends up where we started.
The ending w
Dec 12, 2009 Steven rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one.
Shelves: avoid
Carefully read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, then imagine that the most horrible, depressing conclusion possible to the whole affair could happen. That is what happens in Mostly Harmless. It wraps every loose end up most completely, but it wraps things up the way a car compactor packages your favorite vehicle.

The atrocities the author commits towards his characters in this book significantly impact my enjoyment of the rest of the series. The first few pages start out depressing and it j
Jan 27, 2012 Dan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
For some reason this fifth volume is not included in most collection of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and I've only realised this recently.

As with most of Adams' book, I finished the book with the feeling that I only sort of know what was going on and wasn't really sure what the point of it was but I had so much fun along the way that I didn't really care. This edition sees a new guide being created which works across all the dimensions. Queue chaos. Arthur Dent spends a great deal of time b
Rating: 3 1/2 stars
Whole series rating: 4 stars

I get why some people don't like this book, however, I didn't read it. I listened to it on audio and I think Martin Freeman bringing all of these characters to life over the books really made it possible for me to enjoy the story more than if I had just read it on paper.

If you have a few hours to kill in a day (or are doing a lot of driving), get the audiobooks. Martin does a brilliant job at giving every character a voice, especially Arthur (which
Feb 10, 2017 Cass rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mostly Harmless was a brilliant final instalment to this 'trilogy' There are a lot of unanswered questions but that was to be expected.

Fenchurch has disappeared from Arthur's life but he continues to travel across the galaxy in the hope of finding her. He ends up crashing on the planet Lamuella and the people of a nearby village nurse him back to health and he uses his skills at making sandwiches to pass the time feeding the uninspired residents. Trillian ends up finding Arthur and drops a mass
Brandon Collinsworth
Mar 18, 2009 Brandon Collinsworth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: that just have to finish the series
Well I would be remiss if I did not mention the ending before anything else. First of all this isn't technically the ending of the series, Douglas Adams just died before he wrote anymore Hitchhiker books, that being said this makes this the series ending for all intents and purposes. So with that in mind this is the worst ending of a series that could have ever possibly been conceived. In truth this shouldn't have been the ending of a book. If you are the kind of person that is all about the end ...more
Abhishek Panigrahi
a very depressing end to a spectacularly fantastic series filled with adventure. all throughout the final book you could sense that there was so much chaos in the universe now(not that chaos was not a part of the first 4 books), but through it all i was hoping that something somewhere would somehow workout and the original crew of the starship Heart of Gold would be reunited and along with their new crewmates like Fenchurch, Colin, Slartibartfast and Random would continue on their mad adventures ...more
Tak na záver jednoznačne najslabší diel, dosť som sa pri ňom nudila. Prišiel mi zbytočný, kľudne by som sa bez neho zaobišla.
Ale jeho typický humor bol samozrejme aj tu, len ho nebolo tak veľa.

Po prílete zistil, že obyvatelia slávia každoročný sviatok Predpokladu svätého Antwelma. Svätý Antwelm bol za života veľmi obľúbený a láskavý kráľ, ktorého preslávil jeden nesmierne populárny predpoklad. Predpokladal, že ak odhliadne od podružnosti, všetci túžia najmä po tom, aby boli šťastní, spokojní
If Moorcock got lazy with the Elric series, Adams on the other hand, was seemingly depressed (just as a multitude of the reviews available claimed and Adams did say it himself that he was having a 'tough year' in the book's writing). Mostly Harmless, destroyed what the fourth book in the series did, ending in a high and more importantly, happy note. What took the toll however compelling the two stars from the otherwise incomparable series that is The Hitchhiker's Guide.. was how Arthur's story a ...more
MJ Nicholls
Jan 29, 2010 MJ Nicholls rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read an excerpt of this in a shop last week and audibly chuckled on every half-glanced page. I felt compelled to write a few words in its defense. This beautifully melancholy book is oft-panned, and pointlessly, as Adams is at the peak of his sardonic savagery and ingenious brain wizardry in this bleak end to the trilogy of five. I love his riffing on New York and the dreamy pathos of the whole book. I must read it again.
Jan 09, 2011 zxvasdf rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Hitchhiker's Guide Trilogy is like looking through a magnifying glass, then a microscope, and at the end of it, an electron microscope. The scope transforms, yet a linear narrative of sorts is present. I highly doubt Adams had the ending of this "trilogy" mapped out when he started out with the first book.

The ending is probably fitting, but if you're at all human, you won't like it.
Jan 13, 2016 Lirim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mostly boring, but hey I'm back!
Mar 06, 2014 Isabella rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one. Not even Hitchhiker's Guide fans. Nope.
(Spoilers ahead)

Douglas, GURL, what happened?

I know you said it was a bad year for you but DAMN. I guess we all underestimated how much of a BAD FUCKING YEAR it was. Wow.

Almost Harmless is not as funny as the previous books, not as thoughtful, not as interesting, not as intriguing and just not good at all. It's too slow-paced and all the things that happen in the book aren't even related to each other (or even to the last few books). They're completely random facts unrelated to the story, and th
Mawa Mahima
Mostly Harmless: Maybe Death is Funny in a Hysterical Way

What the fuck was this ending? I'm sorry but this book requires an expletive. In fact, it requires a string of expletives. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.

Now, I feel better.

Okay. Deep breath...Right.
Let's start this review:

Mostly Harmless is the last and final installment written by Douglas Adams in the H2G2 series. I love the journey Adams took us on, right from the beginning. I started this series meaning to only read the first book, but
I don't rate many books with a 5. I think the Hitchhiker books are brilliant in the way I believe Ron Wesley means something is brilliant that he is referring to in the Harry Potter books.

Memory is a bit hazy because I am getting a little long in the tooth. But, I first heard about "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" in 1981 or 1982 when I was a freshman at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo. I had a friend who enthused about it. I don't remember if he carried on about the book before or after he
Jun 13, 2014 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, fiction, comedy
I actually quite liked Mostly Harmless. I had been warned going in that it was going to be quite dark and not necessarily up to the standards of earlier entries in the series. Maybe it was a matter of expectations (or maybe it was The Blood Meridian Effect)), but I actually thought it was one of Adams's stronger books. There's certainly a melancholy throughout, but it seemed more just an amplification of a strand that's been there throughout the series. The ending (view spoiler) ...more
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Did you read #5? 14 214 Oct 25, 2016 05:41PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Incorrect Cover 2 59 Mar 12, 2015 09:17PM  
Λέσχη Ανάγνωσης Κ...: 14.07.14 Μάλλον ακίνδυνος 1 5 Jun 27, 2014 09:20AM  
Catching up on Cl...: Hitchhikers...Galaxy #5 Mostly Harmless: Spoilers 1 28 Jan 13, 2014 04:33PM  
2017 Reading Chal...: Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams 1 23 Jul 01, 2013 11:55AM  
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Douglas Noël Adams was an English author, comic radio dramatist, and musician. He is best known as the author of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. Hitchhiker's began on radio, and developed into a "trilogy" of five books (which sold more than fifteen million copies during his lifetime) as well as a television series, a comic book series, a computer game, and a feature film that was comp ...more
More about Douglas Adams...

Other Books in the Series

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (6 books)
  • Young Zaphod Plays It Safe
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1)
  • The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #2)
  • Life, the Universe and Everything (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #3)
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #4)

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