Illustrated by Jonathan Burton
In the fourth volume of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, Arthur Dent finds a whole new set of mind-boggling mysteries to deal with when planet Earth appears not to have been destroyed after all.
In the fourth installment of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, Arthur Dent finally comes home to Earth – somewhat inexplicably, given that it was destroyed by a Vogon Constructer Fleet. Very little has changed, and Arthur is more than happy to believe that his long, strange trip through time and space was simply a particularly alarming dream, but it seems the universe hasn’t finished with him yet. All the dolphins have vanished from the Earth’s oceans, and Arthur has been left a gift-wrapped fishbowl bearing the cryptic inscription, ‘So long, and thanks for all the fish’. Along with Fenchurch, a woman with plenty of her own mysteries to solve, Arthur sets out to discover what it all means. Convinced that the secret lies in God’s Final Message to His Creation, they go in search of it.
‘An astonishing comic writer: he could craft sentences that changed the way a reader viewed the world’
‘Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea’
An oddity in a series known for its oddness, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish owes much of its surreal atmosphere to the circumstances in which it was written. Adams had recently returned to England from California, following an unsuccessful attempt to get his first novel made into a film. Arthur, returning home from his wild adventures with Zaphod Beeblebrox and Ford Prefect, has picked up a lot of Adams’s world-weariness. It was also a book produced against the odds. The author, who famously enjoyed the ‘whooshing sound’ made by deadlines as they flew by, had to be locked in his hotel room until the book was finished – passing each page to his editor as it was written. The result is a novel full of ingenious strangeness, reading, as Neil Gaiman describes it, as though it has ‘not so much been plotted as stumbled upon’. It is an unusually optimistic and joyful instalment in the series, with a love story at its heart, while all of the author’s trademark wit and invention is in full flow.
This edition, produced in series with the other Hitchhiker novels, features seven illustrations by Jonathan Burton. His ingenious, quirky images capture the wildest flights of Adams’s imagination, including Wonko the Sane’s unsettling inside-out house, Ford Prefect menaced by a disembodied arm and a giant silver robot standing in the rubble of Harrods.
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