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Book Details

Mostly Harmless

21.4% complete
1992
1992
1 time
Book Cover
Has a genre Has a synopsis Has a year read Has a rating In my library In a series 
72
© 1992 by Serious Productions
None on file
None on file
No comments on file
Synopsis* (may contain spoilers)
Mostly Harmless is the fifth book in the humorous and irreverent Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams. The novel picks up where the previous book, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, left off, with protagonist Arthur Dent alone and adrift in an alternate universe.

The story begins with Arthur, now a reporter for a small-town newspaper, struggling to find purpose and meaning in his life. He spends his days in the dull and uneventful world of Earth, still reeling from the loss of his friend Ford Prefect and the destruction of the planet he once called home. He is approached by a strange entity called the Guide Mark Two, which has taken on the form of a plastic bird, offering him a job to help update the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Arthur accepts the offer and sets out with the Guide to explore the multiverse, hoping to find a new place to call home.

Meanwhile, Ford Prefect, who is now working as a "researcher" for the Guide, is investigating a strange new planet called Rupert, which seems to have a connection to his home planet of Betelgeuse. He teams up with a woman named Fenchurch, who shares his sense of adventure and desire for discovery, and together they set out to unravel the mysteries of Rupert.

As Arthur travels through the multiverse, he encounters a variety of strange and eccentric characters, including the Vogons, who are now a peaceful and artistic race, and a group of monks who have rediscovered the lost art of prayer. He also visits several alternate versions of Earth, including one where the entire world is a theme park and another where humanity never evolved and the planet is ruled by intelligent shades of blue.

As Arthur and the Guide continue on their journey, Fenchurch and Ford discover that Rupert is not just a planet, but a gateway to an entire alternate universe. They are determined to explore this new world, but they soon realize that their quest may have deadly consequences.

As the story progresses, the various plot threads begin to converge, with Arthur and his companions coming face to face with the sinister forces behind the Guide Mark Two and the true nature of the multiverse itself.

The book is full of the trademark humor and wit that made the Hitchhiker's Guide series so beloved. Adams' writing is filled with clever wordplay, bizarre concepts, and gleeful irreverence towards science fiction tropes and traditional narrative structure.

However, the book also takes on a darker tone than some of its predecessors. The characters are faced with more serious and existential questions, such as the search for identity and the meaning of existence. The book also deals with themes of loss and grief, as Arthur struggles to come to terms with the loss of his old life and the people he once knew.

Ultimately, Mostly Harmless is a satisfying conclusion to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, tying up loose ends while also introducing new ideas and concepts. While the book may not be as immediately accessible or lighthearted as some of the previous entries in the series, it still manages to capture the spirit of Adams' unique vision and sense of humor.

Extract not on file

 

Added: 29-Dec-2002
Last Updated: 22-Mar-2023

Publications

 01-Jan-1992
Harmony Books
Hardback
In my libraryI read this editionOrder from amazon.comHas a cover imageBook Edition Cover
Date Issued:
Cir 01-Jan-1992
Format:
Hardback
Pages*:
207
Read:
Once
Cover Link(s):
Internal ID:
218
Publisher:
ISBN:
0-517-57740-2
ISBN-13:
978-0-517-57740-0
Printing:
1
Country:
United States
Language:
English
MOSTLY
HARMLESS


It's very easy to get a little disheartened when your planet has been blown up, the woman you love has vanished in a misunderstanding about the nature of space-time, the spaceship you are on crashes in flames on a remote and Bob-fearing planet and all you have to fall back on are a few simples 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.

Hell takes a number of forms: there is the usual Ford Prefect form of hell, fresh hell in the form of-all new version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy which behaves in an altogether more mysterious, sinister and airborne manner, and a totally unexpected hell that arrives in the form of a teenage girl who utterly startles Arthur Dent by being his daughter when he didn't even know he had one.

Much as Arthur would love to stay in his rural sandwich-making idyll, he is forced to set off on his travels once again, this time on the back of a mysterious Perfectly Normal Beast.  Can he save the Earth from total destruction throughout all dimensional probabilities?  Can he save the Guide from a hostile alien takeover?  Can he save the Grebulons?  Can he save his daughter Random from herself?

Of course not.  He never even works out what is going on, exactly.

Will you?

Mostly Harmless: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Part Five: The book that gives a whole new meaning to the word trilogy.

Jacket illustration © 1992 by Peter Cross
Author photograph © 1992 by Red Saunders
Cover:
Book Cover
Notes and Comments:
 01-Nov-1993
Ballantine Books
Order from amazon.comHas a cover imageBook Edition Cover
Date Issued:
Cir 01-Nov-1993
Cover Link(s):
Internal ID:
220
Publisher:
ISBN:
0-345-37933-0
ISBN-13:
978-0-345-37933-7
Country:
United States
Language:
English
"It is Mr. Adams' genius to hurl readers into a plot that seems to go everywhere and nowhere, then suddenly drop the pieces into place, click, click, click, like tumblers in a lock... Delightful."
- The Baltimore Sun


It's very easy to get a little disheartened when your planet has been blown up, the woman you love has vanished in a misunderstanding about the nature of space/time, the spaceship you are on crashes in flames on a remote and Bob-fearing planet and all you have to fall back on are a few simples 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.

Hell takes a number of forms: there is the usual Ford Prefect form of hell, fresh hell in the form of-all new version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy which behaves in an altogether more mysterious, sinister and airborne manner, and a totally unexpected hell that arrives in the form of a teenage girl who startles Arthur Dent by being his daughter when he didn't even know he had one.

Can Arthur save the Earth from total multidimensional obliteration?  Can he save the Guide from a hostile alien takeover?  Can he save his daughter, Random, from herself?

Of course not.  He never even works out what is going on, exactly.

Will you?

Mostly Harmless: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Part Five: The book that gives a whole new meaning to the word "trilogy."

"A winner... The humor is hilarious, the cliff-hangers are cliff-hanging, and overall it's classic Hitchhiker's shtick... For those of you who are wondering about Elvis's whereabouts - well, read Mostly Harmless
- The Boston Phoenix


"The universe, the parallel universes, the pasts, the presents and the futures, indeed the Whole Sort of General Mish Mash is hilariously up for grabs in Mostly Harmless
- The Denver Post


"Douglas Adams is a terrific satirist...  He is anything but harmless."
- The Washington Post Book World
Cover:
Book Cover
Notes and Comments:
 01-Feb-2000
Ballantine Books
Order from amazon.comHas a cover imageBook Edition Cover
Date Issued:
01-Feb-2000
Pages*:
218
Cover Link(s):
Internal ID:
219
Publisher:
ISBN:
0-345-41877-8
ISBN-13:
978-0-345-41877-7
Country:
United States
Language:
English
"It is Mr. Adams's genius to hurl readers into a plot that seems to go everywhere and nowhere, then suddenly drop the pieces into place, click, click, click, like tumblers in a lock... Delightful."
- The Baltimore Sun


It's very easy to get a little disheartened when your planet has been blown up, the woman you love has vanished in a misunderstanding about the nature of space/time, the spaceship you are on crashes in flames on a remote and Bob-fearing planet and all you have to fall back on are a few simples 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.

Hell takes a number of forms: there is the usual Ford Prefect form of hell, fresh hell in the form of-all new version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy which behaves in an altogether more mysterious, sinister and airborne manner, and a totally unexpected hell that arrives in the form of a teenage girl who startles Arthur Dent by being his daughter when he didn't even know he had one.

Can Arthur save the Earth from total multidimensional obliteration?  Can he save the Guide from a hostile alien takeover?  Can he save his daughter, Random, from herself?

Of course not.  He never even works out what is going on, exactly.  Will you?

"Douglas Adams is a terrific satirist...  He is anything but harmless."
- The Washington Post Book World
Cover:
Book Cover
Notes and Comments:

Related

Author(s)

Douglas Adams  
Birth: 11 Mar 1952 Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, UK
Death: 11 May 2001 Santa Barbara, California, USA

Notes:
Douglas Noel Adams was born in Cambridge on March 11, 1952.  He went to school at Brentwood School, Essex and St John's College, Cambridge.  In 1974 he gained an MA in English Literature.

He started writing at Cambridge.  Some of his earlier writings were featured on the radio.  He went on from radio to become the script editor of Doctor Who where he wrote a couple of stories for the Tom Baker incarnation of the Doctor (4th Doctor).  He wrote The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy which was comissioned and aired as a radio series in March 1978.  Since then it has been transformed into a series of best-selling novels, a television series, records, cassettes and CDs, a computer game and several stage adaptations.

In 1991 he married Jane Elizabeth Belson and leaves a daughter, Polly Jane Rocket.  Douglas Adams died suddenly of a heart attack on May 11, 2001

Awards

No awards found
*
  • I try to maintain page numbers for audiobooks even though obviously there aren't any. I do this to keep track of pages read and I try to use the Kindle version page numbers for this.
  • Synopses marked with an asterisk (*) were generated by an AI. There aren't a lot since this is an iffy way to do it - AI seems to make stuff up.
  • When specific publication dates are unknown (ie prefixed with a "Cir"), I try to get the publication date that is closest to the specific printing that I can.
  • When listing chapters, I only list chapters relevant to the story. I will usually leave off Author Notes, Indices, Acknowledgements, etc unless they are relevant to the story or the book is non-fiction.
  • Page numbers on this site are for the end of the main story. I normally do not include appendices, extra material, and other miscellaneous stuff at the end of the book in the page count.






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Presented: 21-Jun-2024 11:08:20

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