First Edition (UK)
|Cover artist||Gary Day-Ellison|
|Series||The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy|
|Genre||Comic science fiction|
|Publisher||Pan Books, UK; Harmony Books, US.|
|9 November 1984|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover and Paperback)|
|Pages||192, UK paperback; 224, US paperback|
|Preceded by||Life, the Universe and Everything|
|Followed by||Mostly Harmless|
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish is the fourth book of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy "trilogy" written by Douglas Adams. Its title is the message left by the dolphins when they departed Planet Earth just before it was demolished to make way for a hyperspace bypass, as described in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy . The phrase has since been adopted by some science fiction fans as a humorous way to say "goodbye" and a song of the same name was featured in the 2005 film adaptation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy .
While hitchhiking through the galaxy, Arthur Dent is dropped off on a planet in a rainstorm. He appears to be in England on Earth, even though he saw the planet destroyed by the Vogons. He has been gone for several years, but only a few months have passed on Earth. He hitches a lift with a man named Russell and his sister Fenchurch (nicknamed "Fenny"). Russell explains that Fenny became delusional after worldwide mass hysteria, in which everyone hallucinated "big yellow spaceships" (the Vogon destructor ships that "demolished" the Earth). Arthur becomes curious about Fenchurch, but they reach his home before he can ask more questions. Inside his still standing home, Arthur finds a gift-wrapped bowl inscribed with the words "So long and thanks", which he uses for his Babel Fish. Arthur considers that Fenchurch is somehow connected to him and to the Earth's destruction. He still has the ability to fly whenever he lets his thoughts wander.
Arthur puts his life in order, and then tries to find out more about Fenchurch. He accidentally finds her hitchhiking and picks her up. He obtains her phone number but loses it. He haphazardly discovers her home when he searches for the cave he had lived in on prehistoric Earth; her flat is built on the same spot. They find more circumstances connecting them. Fenchurch reveals that, moments before her "hallucinations", she had an epiphany about how to make everything right, but then blacked out. She has not been able to recall the substance of the epiphany. Noticing that Fenchurch's feet do not touch the ground, Arthur teaches her how to fly. They have sex in the skies over London.
In a conversation with Fenchurch, she learns from Arthur about hitchhiking across the galaxy and Arthur learns that all the dolphins disappeared shortly after the world hallucinations. He and Fenchurch travel to California to see John Watson, an enigmatic scientist who claims to know why the dolphins disappeared. He has abandoned his original name in favour of "Wonko the Sane", because he believes that the rest of the world's population has gone mad. Watson shows them another bowl with the words "So long and thanks for all the fish" inscribed on it, and encourages them to listen to it. The bowl explains audibly that the dolphins, aware of the planet's coming destruction, left Earth for an alternate dimension. Before leaving, they created a new Earth and transported everything from the original to the new one. After the meeting, Fenchurch tells Arthur that while he lost something and found it, she had found something and lost it. She desires that they travel to space together, and reach the site where God's Final Message to His Creation is written.
Ford Prefect discovers that the Hitchhiker's Guide entry for Earth consists of the volumes of text he originally wrote, instead of the previous truncated entry, "Mostly harmless". Curious, Ford hitchhikes across the galaxy to reach Earth. Eventually he uses the ship of a giant robot to land in the centre of London, causing a panic. In the chaos, Ford reunites with Arthur and Fenchurch, and they commandeer the robot's ship. Arthur takes Fenchurch to the planet where God's Final Message to His Creation is written, where they discover Marvin. Due to previous events, Marvin is now approximately 37 times older than the known age of the universe and is barely functional. With Arthur and Fenchurch's help, Marvin reads the Message ("We apologise for the inconvenience"), utters the final words "I think... I feel good about it", and dies happily.
The novel has a very different tone from the previous books in the series. This is partly because it is a romance, and partly because the book bounces around in time more erratically than its predecessors. Adams even injects a humorous sub-plot. There is less outer-space time than in the previous books; Arthur leaves the new Earth only in the final chapters. The different tone also reflects the rushed nature of the writing; Adams' editor Sonny Mehta moved in with the author to ensure that the book met its (extended) deadline. As a result, Adams later stated that he was not entirely happy with the book, which includes several jarring authorial intrusions, which fellow author and Adams' biographer Neil Gaiman described as "patronising and unfair".
The book also reflects a significant shift in Adams's view of computers. In the previous books, computers had been portrayed quite negatively, reflecting Adams' views on the subject at the time. However, between the writing of Life, the Universe and Everything and So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, his attitude toward technology changed considerably. Having been taken along to a computer fair, he became enamored of the first model of the Macintosh, the start of a long love affair with the brand (he claimed to have bought two of the first three Macs in the UK — the other was bought by his friend Stephen Fry). In So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, Arthur Dent purchases an Apple computer for the purpose of star mapping in order to pinpoint the location of the cave he lived in on prehistoric Earth, and although Adams briefly mocks Arthur's methodology (noting that Arthur really has no idea how to go about such a task), the computer itself is not disparaged, and even somehow produces the correct result. In a later essay, Adams noted that some people had accused him of being a "turncoat" because of this change in his attitudes.
In 1993, Library Journal said that So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish was "filled with loopy humor and pretzel logic that makes Adams' writing so delightful".
Betsy Shorb, reviewing for School Library Journal , said that "the humor is still off-the-wall but more gentle than the other books. The plot is more straight forward and slightly less bizarre than its predecessors".
There have been three audiobook recordings of the novel. The first was an abridged edition, recorded in the mid-1980s by Stephen Moore, best known for playing the voice of Marvin the Paranoid Android in the radio series, LP adaptations and in the TV series. In 1990, Adams himself recorded an unabridged edition, later re-released by New Millennium Audio in the United States and available from BBC Audiobooks in the United Kingdom. In 2006, actor Martin Freeman, who had played Arthur Dent in the 2005 movie, recorded a new unabridged edition of the audiobook.
The Quandary Phase of the radio series is drawn from So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, but is not a direct audiobook reading.
The dedication thanks, among others, "Mogens and Andy and all at Huntsham Court for a number of unstable events". This refers to the then country hotel in Devon where Adams retreated in the summer of 1984 to work on the book but instead enjoyed drinking wine with the owners and Steve Meretzky who had joined him to work on the Hitchhiker's video game.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a comedy science fiction series created by Douglas Adams. Originally a radio comedy broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1978, it was later adapted to other formats, including stage shows, novels, comic books, a 1981 TV series, a 1984 video game, and 2005 feature film.
Mostly Harmless is a 1992 novel by Douglas Adams and the fifth book in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. It is described on the cover of the first editions as "The fifth book in the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhikers Trilogy". It was the last Hitchhiker's book written by Adams and his final book released in his lifetime.
Arthur Philip Dent is a fictional character and the hapless protagonist of the comic science fiction series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
Tricia Marie McMillan, also known as Trillian Astra, is a fictional character from Douglas Adams' series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. She is most commonly referred to simply as "Trillian", a modification of her birth name, which she adopted because it sounded more "space-like". According to the movie version, her middle name is Marie. Physically, she is described as "a slim, darkish humanoid, with long waves of black hair, a full mouth, an odd little knob of a nose and ridiculously brown eyes," looking "vaguely Arabic."
Life, the Universe and Everything is the third book in the five-volume Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy science fiction "trilogy" by British writer Douglas Adams. The title refers to the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything.
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe is the second book in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy comedy science fiction "trilogy" by Douglas Adams, and is a sequel. It was originally published by Pan Books as a paperback. The book was inspired by the song "Grand Hotel" by British rock band Procol Harum. The book title refers to Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, one of the settings of the book.
The Vogons are a fictional alien race from the planet Vogsphere in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy—initially a BBC Radio series by Douglas Adams—who are responsible for the destruction of the Earth, in order to facilitate an intergalactic highway construction project for a hyperspace express route. Vogons are slug-like but vaguely humanoid, are bulkier than humans, and have green skin. Vogons are described as "one of the most unpleasant races in the galaxy—not actually evil, but bad-tempered, bureaucratic, officious and callous", and having "as much sex appeal as a road accident" as well as being the authors of "the third worst poetry in the universe". They are employed as the galactic government's bureaucrats. According to Marvin the Paranoid Android, they are also the worst marksmen in the galaxy.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is an interactive fiction video game based on the comedic science fiction series of the same name. It was designed by series creator Douglas Adams and Infocom's Steve Meretzky, and it was first released in 1984 for the Apple II, Macintosh, Commodore 64, CP/M, MS-DOS, Amiga, Atari 8-bit family, and Atari ST. It is Infocom's fourteenth game.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is the first of six books in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy comedy science fiction "trilogy" by Douglas Adams. The novel is an adaptation of the first four parts of Adams' radio series of the same name. The novel was first published in London on 12 October 1979. It sold 250,000 copies in the first three months.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a 2005 British-American science fiction comedy film directed by Garth Jennings, based upon previous works in the media franchise of the same name, created by Douglas Adams. It stars Martin Freeman, Sam Rockwell, Mos Def, Zooey Deschanel, and the voices of Stephen Fry and Alan Rickman.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a comic science fiction series created by Douglas Adams that has become popular among fans of the genre(s) and members of the scientific community. Phrases from it are widely recognised and often used in reference to, but outside the context of, the source material. Many writers on popular science, such as Fred Alan Wolf, Paul Davies and Michio Kaku, have used quotations in their books to illustrate facts about cosmology or philosophy.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a science fiction comedy radio series written by Douglas Adams. It was originally broadcast in the United Kingdom by BBC Radio 4 in 1978, and afterwards the BBC World Service, National Public Radio in the US and CBC Radio in Canada. The series was the first radio comedy programme to be produced in stereo, and was innovative in its use of music and sound effects, winning a number of awards.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a BBC television adaptation of Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy which was broadcast in January and February 1981 on UK television station BBC Two. The adaptation follows the original radio series in 1978 and 1980, the first novel and double LP, in 1979, and the stage shows, in 1979 and 1980, making it the fifth iteration of the guide.
The terms Primary Phase and Secondary Phase describe the first two radio series of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, first broadcast in 1978. These were the first incarnations of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy franchise. Both were written by Douglas Adams and consist of six episodes each.
The Tertiary Phase, Quandary Phase, Quintessential Phase and Hexagonal Phase are respectively the third, fourth, fifth and sixth series of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio series. Produced in 2003, 2004 and 2018 by Above the Title Productions for BBC Radio 4, they are radio adaptations of the third, fourth, fifth and sixth books in Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series: Life, the Universe and Everything; So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish; Mostly Harmless and And Another Thing....
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a fictional electronic guide book in the multimedia scifi/comedy series of the same name by Douglas Adams. The Guide serves as "the standard repository for all knowledge and wisdom" for many members of the series' galaxy-spanning civilization. Entries from the guidebook are used as comic narration to bridge events and provide background information in every version of the story. The guide is published by "Megadodo Publications", a publishing company on Ursa Minor Beta.
And Another Thing... is the sixth and final installment of Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy "trilogy". The book, written by Eoin Colfer, author of the Artemis Fowl series, was published on the thirtieth anniversary of the first book, 12 October 2009, in hardback. It was published by Penguin Books in the UK and by Hyperion Books in the US. Colfer was given permission to write the book by Adams' widow Jane Belson.