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
Frontispiece and 7 colour illustrations
9˝ x 5¾˝
‘So long, and thanks for all the washing-up’
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).
‘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’
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.’
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, and the entire Hitchhikers series. He lives in Bordeaux, France.
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.
Comparing Adams’s work to that of Kurt Vonnegut, Tom Stoppard and even Jonathan Swift, science-fiction writer Adam Roberts describes this novel as ‘that rare thing: a sequel that surpasses its original’.
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.