Friday, March 10, 2017

Review: Mostly Harmless

Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy #5
Published October 13th 1992 by Harmony

It’s easy to get disheartened when your planet has been blown up, the woman you love has vanished due to a misunderstanding about space/time, the spaceship you are on crashes on a remote and Bob-fearing planet, and all you have to fall back on are a few simple 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’s the standard Ford Prefect version, in the shape of an all-new edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and a totally unexpected manifestation 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 works out exactly what is going on. Will you? 
Mostly Harmless is the final book of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Series (as written by Douglas Adams) and the last book Adams ever wrote before his passing. Adams himself admitted that he was in a weird place when he wrote this book and acknowledged that it was indeed a bleaker offering than the previous books in the series. He fully intended to write a 6th book to correct ''his mistakes'' with this book but he passed away before he could do so.  Eventually, his ideas for the 6th book were brought to fruition via Eoin Colfer (famed author of the Artemis Fowl Series)...but more on that later...

So Mostly Harmless reunites us with Arthur, Ford and Trillian, some time after the events of the previous book. Though each of them has gone their separate ways prior, they all end up being reunited eventually through the usual random series of events. Yes the randomness of these books is part of what makes them great and I'm happy to say that there was a lot more random things going on here.  Unfortunately, another part of what makes this series great is the humor and I'm sorry to say that this instalment was severely lacking in humor, compared to the rest of the series. Like, it was not funny at all, which is sad considering how the other instalments all made me laugh out loud multiple times throughout.  I did love the bit about Elvis a whole lot, it was lovely and entertaining though it still lacked the general lightness and humor that I've grown accustomed to as a read through this series.

There was also a new character introduced. I won't delve into spoilers but I will say that her name is Random and despite that promising and fitting name, I did not like her at all. I wish I had but she was annoying, shrill and just plain unlikeable.  That, paired with the lack of humor and general desolate feel of this book was fairly disappointing to me. If ever I reread the series, I'll be sticking to books 1-4 and hopefully I'll eventually forget most of this one.

All things considered, Mostly Harmless was...ok. I did enjoy the first part of Arthur's story, Ford's bits were entertaining and that bit about Elvis that I mentioned was certainly memorable - it made the read worthwhile for me - but other than that, this book simply doesn't match up to the rest of the series. As for the 6th book penned by Colfer, though I'm curious about it, the reception for it wasn't great so I'm not sure when I'll read it. In any case, it isn't currently available on audio through my library, so I doubt I'll be reading it anytime soon.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as a whole though is a series that's definitely worth checking out. Books 1-4 were a bit hit with me and I thoroughly enjoyed reading through this classic sci-fi series. I definitely recommend the audio versions of these as well - they were so much fun :)



  1. I love the panic button!! Awesome cover. And I didn't know a lot of that stuff about the series- interesting! These reviews make me want to give this series another go. Sorry to hear this one is a little sub par, but as a whole the series sounds great!

  2. I NEED that panic button in my life, LOL! Oh, I'm sorry to hear that this one didn't measure up to the previous books! Whenever I see a series go past a trilogy, I usually get a little wary of the momentum continuing (HP being a HUGE exception, of course. XD). I didn't realize Eoin Colfer finished out the series; now I'm really curious to read Artemis Fowl and this series!

  3. Huh, I didn't actually know anything about the history of this one. It's interesting to put this information in context of the series and how I felt about this book. I agree it was definitely my least favourite of the series. Kind of sad that he died before ever getting a chance to "fix" it :(

  4. I really need to start this series some day! They sound so interesting and hilarious. Shame that this one didn't meet the same standards for you :/


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