There is not much I can say about this highly popular series that has not already been said. The texts have been analysed, adored, recorded for radio, for TV and now for film – most recently with Martin Freeman as Arthur Dent. It has something for everyone and rarely divides, though even the most adoring fans would never praise the quality of its plot or characterisation.
So what is the appeal of these books? They are stupid, hideously, deliciously and sometimes uproariously funnily stupid and if you can’t have silliness in life then you haven’t lived. The humour is as often clever as it is silly and Douglas Adams has a fine writing style that is easy on the eye and conducive to the widest audience possible. String me up if you like, but these are not quality books yet despite that they are highly appealing – as social commentary, as social satire, as stand alone comedy and for the trends that it set for the likes of Terry Pratchett, Robert Rankin and even – dare I suggest – the clever silliness and satire of Jasper Fforde. Quite simply, without Adams these writers may not have experienced success and acquired such a large and devoted following.
So no, I’m not reviewing the books and if I won’t discuss the content, why am I even review it at all? Well, because of what this volume constitutes. It contains all of the trilogy of five (Hitchhikers Guide, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Life, the Universe and Everything, So Long and Thanks for all the Fish, and finally Mostly Harmless) but more than that, it gives the reader an experience merely beyond the five stories repackaged. Each has an introduction – from such giants as Russell T. Davies, Terry Jones and Neil Gaiman, and finished off with production notes, letters written by Adams and other such inclusion that if they were on a DVD, would be quality “Bonus Material”.
If you are an uberfan, there probably won’t be much that you won’t already have seen but for the rest of us, it can give a great insight into the man and this bizarre trilogy of five books in understanding the man, his mind and the appeal of these strange books on both sides of the Atlantic.