Monday Musings

Book Review – Mostly Harmless By Douglas Adams

This week the last of the Hitchhiker’s series…


The Goodreads summary says…

Arthur Dent hadn’t had a day as bad as this since the Earth had been blown up.

Depressed and alone, Arthur finally settles on the small planet Lamuella and becomes a sandwich maker. Looking forward to a quiet life, his plans are thrown awry by the unexpected arrival of his daughter.

There’s nothing worse than a frustrated teenager with a copy of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in their hands. When she runs away – Arthur goes after her determined to save her from the horrors of the universe.

After all – he’s encountered most of them before…

The first time I read this I was very disappointed, it was not the ending to the series I wanted and It has been decades since I picked it up again, I cannot say my views have change completely but it certainly is not as bad as I remember.

I am still disappointed by the ending but now as a grown up I can understand why Douglas Adams felt he had to end it as he did, if the author is being coerced into continuing writing a series he no longer wants to write then killing everyone off is his best option.  The shame for the rest of us was the end of a series we loved of course but this book unlike the last one does tie everything up before taking the series full circle to the re-demolition of Earth.

I think now I see things from both sides, that of the writer and the reader, I can appreciate how hard writing this book must have been for him, he had had enough of the series a couple of books ago and really only wrote this to be done with it so his publishers would leave him alone and let him get on with new projects. On the other hand you want to keep your readers happy after all without them buying the books you have no career.  On the whole I believe now he achieved the balance rather well unlike my teenage self that threw a tantrum.

I think I am going to do two scores first for this book I give 4 out of 5 stars…

4starsBut for the series as a whole… I am going to give it 4.5 out of 5, Douglas Adams even in his worst moments has such genius that shines through that it is always worth reading his books and if I could just judge on the first two it would be 5 out of 5 and if I were to judge based on the pleasure these books have given me over the years it would be off the scale.

images 4.5


One thought on “Book Review – Mostly Harmless By Douglas Adams

  1. Douglas was an absolute genius, when I started seriously writing and before I found my voice, I wrote as Douglas did, his were the books I wanted to write.
    I love Mostly Harmless, I remember buying it the week it came out and reading it in one sitting as the ending hurtles towards me at an increasing speed.. I see your point about not wanting the series to end but I loved the way he brought all the loose ends together (by using new plots we hadn’t encountered before like Random) at the finish. It was over two years late and he obviously struggled to write it (as he did most of his work) but even Douglas below par is a far better writer than 99% of the rest.


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