So Long, and Thanks for All the FishSo Long, and Thanks for All the Fish marks a pretty significant departure for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Series. Why? Well for starters, the majority of the plot takes place right on Earth, instead of travelling the Galaxy! You wouldn't think a story that features space travel at it's core could maintain its momentum while solely exploring our own planet but here it works. That might just be because of the other departure this instalment offers: a love-story that's central to the plot and a bloody good one at that!
by Douglas Adams
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy #4
Published November 1984 by Pan Books
Back on Earth with nothing more to show for his long, strange trip through time and space than a ratty towel and a plastic shopping bag, Arthur Dent is ready to believe that the past eight years were all just a figment of his stressed-out imagination. But a gift-wrapped fishbowl with a cryptic inscription, the mysterious disappearance of Earth's dolphins, and the discovery of his battered copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy all conspire to give Arthur the sneaking suspicion that something otherworldly is indeed going on. . . .
God only knows what it all means. And fortunately, He left behind a Final Message of explanation. But since it's light-years away from Earth, on a star surrounded by souvenir booths, finding out what it is will mean hitching a ride to the far reaches of space aboard a UFO with a giant robot. But what else is new?
To quote the most famous line in this series: Don't Panic! There's still aliens, space travel, robots and lots of weirdness to be had here! There just also happens to be a truly lovely romance to set everything off. I was surprised when the romance started to blossom to be honest but the more it developed, the more impressed I became. Without becoming an overt love-story, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish manages to contain some of the most subtly sensuous and genuinely beautiful romantic moments I've come across in sci-fi so far! Imagine! Who knew that Douglas Adams was such a romantic? (I sure didin't!)
Once again our favorite human Arthur Dent is front and center in this instalment so I was pleased right from the word go. The beginning was mysterious as fuck and honestly, I still have some questions regarding the Dolphins and the Earth itself that I'm hoping with be addressed in the conclusion...but I wouldn't be surprised if neither even gets a fleeting mention. Such is Adam's style and to be fair, I've enjoyed the ride so far so who I am to complain?
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish does a wonderful job of keeping things just as random and silly as ever, by highlighting the weirdness that is humanity. You don't have to travel through space to see aliens, you just have to look in your own neighborhood. This might be one of my favorite instalments in the series! I thoroughly enjoyed the romance, the characters and the story itself!