Life, the Universe and Everything

Douglas Adams

Illustrated by Jonathan Burton

Introduced by Jon Canter

More inspired lunacy in the third of Adams’s ‘trilogy of five’, here introduced by his friend, the acclaimed comedy writer Jon Canter.

Add To Wish List

Stranded in a damp cave on prehistoric Earth (specifically, what will one day be Islington), Arthur Dent is suddenly hurled through an eddy in the space–time continuum. He lands, with Ford Prefect and a sofa, on Lords Cricket Ground – swiftly followed by a gang of robots who steal the Ashes before departing. From there, things only become more complicated as we encounter Arthur’s nemesis, Agrajag, the unhappily immortal Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged, and the people of Krikkit, ‘a bunch of sweet guys … who just happen to want to kill everybody’.

Shortlisted for the 2017 BBD&P Awards

Bound in blocked glittered cloth blocked 

Set in Sabon

208 pages

Frontispiece and 7 colour illustrations

Plain slipcase

9˝ x 5¾˝

As with the other books in Douglas Adams’s trilogy of five, the ‘plot’ of this third novel is above all an opportunity for the author’s pyrotechnic displays of wit and erudition. Delightful examples abound, whether it is Arthur leaping to his feet ‘like an author hearing the phone ring’, or the invaluable acronym SEP (‘Somebody Else’s Problem’). We also learn the art, or rather knack, of flying (simply aim for the ground, and miss). Above all, this is the book in which we find out why the Earth has been shunned by the rest of the galaxy (essentially, it’s down to cricket).

Jonathan Burton, in his third Hitchhiker commission, has created an inspired visual interpretation of moments such as Marvin the Paranoid Android talking to a mattress. This edition is newly introduced by Jon Canter. Hailed by the Independent as ‘arguably the finest comic novelist working in Britain today’, he also shared a flat with Adams while this book was being written. In a wonderfully funny and personal tribute to his friend, he writes: ‘Reader, enjoy yourself. You’re in for a treat. And Douglas: so long, and thanks for all the washing-up.’

‘Lovingly illustrated by Jonathan Burton, The Folio Society edition of Life, the Universe and Everything is a thing of great beauty. It immediately cheers you up, which may be something to do with the sparkly effect on the front, spine and back. The sparkles evoke all the stars in the universe. But they also make you think of party-dress material, not to mention the big ugly men – Bowie and Bolan excepted – who used spangliness to express their supposed glamour and sexual ambivalence in the era of Glam Rock. So. Nice one, Folio Soc. You didn’t just evoke the Universe. You got Life in there and Everything.’
  1. Jon Canter

About Douglas Adams

Born in Cambridge in 1952, Douglas Adams studied at Brentwood boarding school before going on to earn a BA, and later an MA, from Cambridge. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979) was originally written as a weekly radio series and was later developed into a novel. This was followed by The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (1980), Life, the Universe and Everything (1982), So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (1984) and Mostly Harmless (1992). Adams died in 2001.

About Jonathan Burton

Jonathan Burton has worked as an illustrator since 1999, after graduating with an MA from Kingston University, London. He has been awarded two silver medals from the Society of Illustration in New York, two Awards of Excellence from Communication Arts, and has received the Overall Professional Award for 2013 from the Association of Illustrators. For The Folio Society he has also illustrated Cover Her Face by P. D. James, Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, the full 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series by George R. R. Martin and the entire Hitchhiker's series along with an extraordinary limited edition of Adams’s comedic space odyssey. Most recently, he illustrated the Folio edition of The Enchanted Wood. Jonathan lives in Bordeaux, France.


You May Also Like

  1. So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

    So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

    Douglas Adams

    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.

  2. Mostly Harmless

    Mostly Harmless

    Douglas Adams

    Illustrated by Jonathan Burton


    If aliens were watching us, what would their favourite TV show be? What’s next for that unique publishing phenomenon, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? And how do you make the perfect sandwich? These and other unlikely questions are answered in the final volume of Adams’s universe-spanning odyssey.