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.

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All it said, in small, alarming letters was a single word: PANIC.

Having lost Fenchurch in an incomprehensible hyperspace accident, Arthur Dent has settled on the remote planet of Lamuella, finally doing something he’s halfway decent at: making sandwiches. His peace is shattered by the unexpected arrival of his daughter, Random, and then made infinitely worse by Ford Prefect, who has learned of something even more unpredictable than a teenage girl – a new, sinister version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The Guide MK II is slick, endlessly helpful and may just destroy the multiverse. No time for sandwiches, then.

Bound in blocked glittered cloth

Set in Sabon

232 pages

Frontispiece and 7 colour illustrations

Metallic slipcase

9˝ x 5¾˝

The final book in the Hitchhiker series finds Adams’s prescient genius in overdrive, proposing mind-bending theories of time-travel and alternate realities. As ever, his conjectures about the future of technology are extraordinary, but Mostly Harmless also addresses another of Adams’s interests. Two years before writing the novel, Adams wrote and presented a BBC documentary series called Last Chance to See, in which he travelled to various locations in search of animals on the brink of extinction. His passion for endangered species is apparent in this final book, as Arthur encounters all manner of strange animals, from boghogs and pikka birds to Perfectly Normal Beasts – wildlife that is often unpleasant and baffling, but always, Adams suggests, worth saving.

Jonathan Burton, who has illustrated the entire Hitchhiker series for Folio, completes the collection with eight typically surreal colour illustrations. The novels are bursting with strange and wonderful incidents, and Burton has risen to the challenges presented by each one. Whether depicting Random’s initial brush with the surprisingly avian Guide MK II, or Arthur and Ford riding a Perfectly Normal Beast into territories unknown, his witty images are the perfect guide to the Guide.

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.


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