Book Review: Mostly Harmless

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Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy #5) – Paperback, 230 pages – Published September 1st 2009 by Pan Books

Mostly Harmless is the final book in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams. It was originally mean to consist of only three books, but ended up far longer.

In typical Hitchhiker fashion, the plot is a bit all over the place. Everything cleverly fits together, and everything that happens is so absurdly peculiar that you can’t help but laugh.

Some things in this book are a bit hard to follow, but the gist is generally pretty easy to catch. As there isn’t a single plot exactly, I’ll try to summarise some of the main happenings in the novel.

Okay, so Earth had been demolished, Trillian was gone, and Arthur was in love with Fenchurch. But Fenchurch disappeared – literally, disappeared – and Tricia McMillan was back on Earth. It turns out that aliens are rather fond of astronomy, and Earth sometimes appears on the probability timeline, and sometimes doesn’t. During one of these times, Arthur ends up on a strange planet named NowWhat in the place where Earth should be.

It’s thanks to the Whole Sort of General Mish Mash – which is a lot more complicated than we ever believed parallel universes to be. On his travels, Arthur visits a village of oracles and becomes the Sandwich Maker in a small settlement on a peculiar planet, supposedly ruled by Bob. Everything was going swimmingly for him, until his daughter – yes, Arthur’s daughter – turns up, followed by a peculiar parcel from Ford.

Meanwhile, Ford himself had discovered that the Vogons had taken over the Guide, and created a strange new sequel. He jumped out of a window twice, lost a very expensive shoe, and then lost his ship to Arthur’s daughter after she threw a sharp stone at him. Basically, things weren’t going quite so well for Ford Prefect.

All the little ideas in this book are great – original, exciting, funny. Everything that makes the series so popular. None of these books have a straight-forward storyline, and that’s sort of what makes them so unique. Of course, the sequels are rarely as good as the first book, and this is no exception. However, I do believe this book has more of an interesting, easy-to-read vibe going on than the previous one.

Again, there’s no romance in this (yay!) and absolutely everything is completely unexpected. The Vogons have returned, but we still haven’t had any sign of Zaphod, or even Marvin. Kind of disappointing, as Zaphod was a real fantastic character! For most of the book, I’d give 3.5 stars, but in the end it managed to work it’s way to 4.

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