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

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  53,850 ratings  ·  1,032 reviews
Adams is back with the amazing, unprecedented, logic-defying, but-why-stop-now fifth novel in the Hitchhiker Trilogy. Random, the daughter of Arthur Dent, has grown up on a remote world at the edge of the universe. Now she sets out on a transgalactic quest to find the planet of her ancestors. . . .
Paperback, 230 pages
Published March 8th 2002 by Picador (first published 1992)
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Jon
Jun 29, 2007 Jon rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
Chrissy
(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...more
Nathan Mathews
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.
Ivonne Rovira
Jun 23, 2014 Ivonne Rovira rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  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 sta...more
sj
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.
Matt
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 so...final. I understand Adams was going through a bad period when he wrote this book, and it shows. Don't bother with this one.
Crosly Anderson
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...more
MJ Nicholls
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.
Brandon Collinsworth
Mar 19, 2009 Brandon Collinsworth rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
Rebecca
Being the fifth book in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I was hoping to get a few laughs as I did with the other books in the series but unfortunately I was a tad let down in that department. I didn’t really laugh at all. I just felt that Mostly Harmless had a more serious tone to it.
I thought that Mostly Harmless was an alright book. It had some interesting parts but for the most part it just didn’t capture my attention too much. I also got a b...more
Phillip
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...more
Dan
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...more
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...more
Steven
Dec 15, 2009 Steven rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Kyle
Starting off a bit too divergent in time and space, and rounding up the few remaining main characters for one last adventure, it would seem that Douglas Adam is straining to be glib about the ineffable laws of the universe. Or rather the many universes we may or may not be aware of, preferring to call it some sort of Mish Mash. Yet halfway through this novel, we can see that every sidestep and meander is in the service of a plot that is as straight and piercing as Time's arrow. Arthur Dent gets...more
Jareed
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
Petra X aka Bubbles
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...more
Gina Denny
I'm not sure if I'm better off having read the essays by Gaiman and Adams about how these books came to be. I feel like knowing Adams' story gives me insight into why the books are uneven, but then I'm not sure if that's a really great thing to know...

Whatever. These books are satire at its finest, even when the books themselves don't make a ton of sense.

PARENTAL ADVISORIES (For the overall series, since I didn't do reviews for the in-between books)

Sex 1/5: Vague allusions to personal relation...more
zxvasdf
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.
John Yelverton
I've tried to like these books, but they are so silly and pompous that I just can't.
Ryan
Nov 08, 2008 Ryan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teachers
This book made me wonder if Douglas Adams had some marital problems in his later life, or if it was just a much more general distaste of people which bled into his writing.

The prior Hitchhiker books all have, at bare-minimum, at least a cursory veneer of optimism, which has been extant to blunt and sweeten the rather stark and sometimes unapologetically bitter guts of these stories. It appears this book has omitted that particular characteristic from its makeup, though, and it has actually done...more
Roberta
Dei libri che compongono questa "trilogia in cinque volumi" Praticamente innocuo è sicuramente il più dismesso e malinconico. Le parti con Ford Prefect sono sempre piuttosto scoppiettanti, ma anche lui si lascia andare a nostalgiche fantasie sul periodo in cui la Guida era ancora in stadio embrionale, e sui suoi sogni perduti e mai realizzati. Arthur Dent vola di paese in paese cercando disperatamente qualcosa di familiare e quando gli pare di averlo trovato viene raggiunto da Trillian che mette...more
Charles
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brett
Unmitigated failure. The tone is despondent, bleak, and harsh - with only the occasional spot of humor. Interesting scenes are few and far between. Contrived plot devices are thrown around as if Adams won them in a raffle. The story is purposeless and only loosely held together. The ending is a disaster.

A friend of mine compared this book to Vogon poetry, and I couldn't argue one bit.

Setting:
The Galaxy - or rather, multiple galaxies, in multiple universes, all at the same time.

Plot:
Tricia McMil...more
Margaret
I've only read Mostly Harmless (the fifth book of "the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker's Trilogy, as it says on the front cover of my copy) once, although I've read the other books in the series multiple times. I had read many reviews when it came out saying that it didn't fit with the other books and that the events of Mostly Harmless might actually spoil rereading the other books, so I purposefully avoided. However, after reading a couple of biographies of Douglas Adams and practica...more
Amanda
Like its predecessors in the "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" series, "Mostly Harmless" is a very quick and easy read. Douglas Adams' writing style is light and entertaining, containing just enough words to let you know what's going on, rather than going on and on describing each and every detail. In this way, the story flows along quite nicely. While the beginning of the story did tend to drag on a bit, once it picked up, I found it to be very engaging and amusing. The character developme...more
Andrew
This is (as other's have suggested) a darker book than previous 'Hitchiker' books but in fairness only really in the dying chapters...there is still a lot of humour within and much to be enjoyed with regard the (mis) adventures of Arthur and Ford.
In reality this is also the last of the Adams books and it does feel like the end of the saga too..everything gets wrapped up ultimately and there is continuity within this book..the Eoin Colfer sixth book is one which I now approach with trepidation an...more
Jess
After reading the book I kind of wish I had left the series at So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish instead. So Long... was deliciously funny and filled with upbeat craziness, while Mostly Harmless was pervaded by an underlying sense of unease. To be honest, the ending felt a bit like Adams just gave up, shouted "I HATE THIS TRILOGY", and wrote a page before mailing it to his editor and warning him never, ever to mention Arthur Dent or Ford Prefect again. Of course, to be fair, Adams was going t...more
David Waterman
The sixth and final (and perhaps my favorite) installment of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, "Mostly Harmless" mirrors the story of the first four books in that Arthur Dent, who has finally found a place that is comfortable for him, is once again ripped from his comfort zone and thrown into another harrowing situation. This isn't just Arthur's story though. The other main characters pertinent to the story at this point in the timeline are slowly and inexorably drawn towards each oth...more
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4
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...
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide, #1) The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy #1-5) The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker's Guide, #2) Life, the Universe and Everything (Hitchhiker's Guide, #3) Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Dirk Gently #1)

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