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If you like Douglas Adams, go check out the holistic detective Dirk Gently.
What is The Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy series about?
Originally created by English author and screenwriter Douglas Adams as a radio comedy broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1978, The Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy–or H2G2 for short–was also adapted into stage shows, comic books, a TV series (in 1981), a computer game (in 1984) and finally in a feature film (in 2005). But we are here to talk about the novels.
The story revolves around Arthur Dent, the last surviving man following the demolition of the planet Earth by a Vogon constructor fleet to make way for a hyperspace bypass.
Rescued by his friend Ford Prefect, a human-like alien writer for the travel guide The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Dent explores the galaxy with Ford and encounters Trillian, another human formerly known as Tricia McMillan, the two-headed Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ford’s eccentric semi-cousin and the Galactic President, and the depressed robot Marvin the Paranoid Android.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy developed into a “trilogy” of five books that sold more than 15 million copies. Every year since 2001, on 25 May, Towel Day is celebrated as a tribute to Douglas Adams.
How to read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Books in Order?
Like I said, we are here to talk about the novels. If you want to start with the original radio show, you can find it there.
The Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Let’s begin wit the core novels in The Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy series.
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – The beginning. Like I wrote earlier, it all starts seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend the Alien Ford Prefect who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor. Hopefully, they didn’t forget to take a towel.
- The Restaurant at the End of the Universe – Arthur Dent and his comrades in arms hurtle across space desperately in search of a place to eat. Their destination? The ultimate hot spot for an evening of apocalyptic entertainment and fine dining, where the food literally speaks for itself.
- Life, the Universe and Everything – Sick of looking at the night sky above their heads, the unhappy inhabitants of planet Krikkit plan to destroy the Universe. Only Arthur and his travelling companions stand between the white killer robots of Krikkit and their goal of total annihilation.
- So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish – Back on Earth, Arthur Dent is ready to believe that the past years were all just a figment of his imagination. But a gift-wrapped fishbowl with a cryptic inscription, the mysterious disappearance of Earth’s dolphins, and the discovery of his battered copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy all conspire to give Arthur the sneaking suspicion that something otherworldly is indeed going on.
- Mostly Harmless – Arthur Dent makes the terrible mistake of starting to enjoy life a bit, and immediately all hell breaks loose.
* This is where the original novels written by Douglas Adams end.
The Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy by Eoin Colfer
Eight years after the death of Douglas Adams, the author’s widow, Jane Belson, has given her approval for the trilogy to be continued by Eoin Colfer, celebrated author of the Artemis Fowl novels.
- And Another Thing… – Arthur has finally made it home to Earth, but that does not mean he has escaped his fate. In fact, no sooner has he touched down on the planet Earth than he finds out that it is about to be blown up… again.
- Young Zaphod Plays It Safe – This novella is a prequel to the events in The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy about the young Zaphod Beeblebrox working as a salvage ship operator. He guides some bureaucrats to a crashed spaceship which may be leaking some hazardous materials. The bureaucrats are determined to ‘make it safe’. You can read it when you want, preferably after the first book in order to appreciate who Zaphod is. It’s optional and, if you want to read it, it’s not sold as a standalone. You can find it in The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide.
- Douglas Adams’s Starship Titanic – Novel written by Terry Jones and based on Adams’s computer game of the same name (which is based on an idea from Life, the Universe and Everything). It’s about a luxury passenger starship that suffers ‘sudden and gratuitous total existence failure’ on its maiden voyage.
- The Private Life of Genghis Khan – A short story by Adams with Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged, a character from Life, the Universe and Everything, which appears in some early editions of The Salmon of Doubt.
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: The Original Radio Scripts – The scripts… from the Original radio broadcast… It’s a wollaboration between Douglas Adams and Geoffrey Perkins first published in the United Kingdom and United States in 1985.
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Radio Scripts: The Tertiary, Quandary and Quintessential Phases – This second radio script book is from the 2004 radio series.
If you like our article about the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series in order, don’t forget to bookmark it! You may also want to see our Dirk Gently reading order, or our guide to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series.
This article was last updated on January 6, 2023.