• The Good: Scifi, humor, all-around madness
  • The Bad: You may go a little insane yourself picturing Wonko’s inside-out four-walled house
  • The Literary: Epitome of its genre

Arthur Dent is hitchhiking through the galaxy when he gets off on what appears to be planet Earth, even though he personally saw it destroyed by the Vogons. He’s picked up by a car driven by a man named whose sister is unconscious in the backseat, and Arthur feels an urgent need to know her. Before he can find out more about her, he’s dropped off, and in his home, he finds a gift-wrapped bowl inscribed with the words “So long and thanks”, into which he puts his Babel Fish.

Relishing my way through the fourth installment of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, is a throwback to the first book when the dolphins left Earth before it was destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass. It’s an utter mystery why the planet Earth seems to be fully intact, and Arthur begins to wonder if the past eight years were all a figment of a dream.

I love the gentler nature of this one, as Arthur discovers the joy and absurdity of his little home on Earth. The plot is more straightforward, although critics point to Adams being under a strict deadline to deliver this one. Arthur spends much of the book looking for the girl in the backseat, finds her hitchhiking, gets her number, then loses it. It’s a romance with witty and dry humor, and I love it.

Some highlights include:

  • John Watson, aka Wonko the Sane, a scientist who lives in southern California and believes the entire world’s population has gone insane
  • The reunions with Ford Prefect, whose volumes of text he wrote about the 15 years he spent on Earth miraculously appear in the Hitchhiker’s Guide, and with Marvin, who is now 37 times older than the age of the known universe
  • God’s final message to His creation

Highly recommended for any ape-descended life form that still thinks digital watches are a pretty neat idea!