So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (Hitchhiker's Guide Series #4)

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (Hitchhiker's Guide Series #4)

by Douglas Adams

Paperback

$16.00
View All Available Formats & Editions
Eligible for FREE SHIPPING
  • Want it by Friday, September 28  Order now and choose Expedited Shipping during checkout.

Overview

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (Hitchhiker's Guide Series #4) by Douglas Adams

Back on Earth with nothing more to show for his long, strange trip through time and space than a ratty towel and a plastic shopping bag, Arthur Dent is ready to believe that the past eight years were all just a figment of his stressed-out 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.

God only knows what it all means. Fortunately, He left behind a Final Message of explanation. But since it’s light-years away from Earth, on a star surrounded by souvenir booths, finding out what it is will mean hitching a ride to the far reaches of space aboard a UFO with a giant robot. But what else is new?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345479969
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/26/2005
Series: Hitchhiker's Guide Series , #4
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 296,743
Product dimensions: 5.51(w) x 8.21(h) x 0.49(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Douglas Adams was born in 1952 and educated at Cambridge. He was the author of five books in the Hitchhiker’s Trilogy, including The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; The Restaurant at the End of the Universe; Life, the Universe and Everything; So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish; and Mostly Harmless. His other works include Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency; The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul; The Meaning of Liff and The Deeper Meaning of Liff (with John Lloyd); and Last Chance to See (with Mark Carwardine). His last book was the bestselling collection, The Salmon of Doubt, published posthumously in May 2002.
You can find more about Douglas Adam's life and works at douglasadams.com.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
 
That evening it was dark early, which was normal for the time of year. It was cold and windy, which was normal.
 
It started to rain, which was particularly normal.
 
A spacecraft landed, which was not.
 
There was nobody around to see it except for some spectacularly stupid quadrupeds who hadn’t the faintest idea what to make of it, or whether they were meant to make anything of it, or eat it, or what. So they did what they did to everything, which was to run away from it and try to hide under each other, which never worked.
 
It slipped down out of the clouds, seeming to be balanced on a single beam of light.
 
From a distance you would scarcely have noticed it through the lightning and the storm clouds, but seen from close up it was strangely beautiful—a gray craft of elegantly sculpted form; quite small.
 
Of course, one never has the slightest notion what size or shape different species are going to turn out to be, but if you were to take the findings of the latest Mid-Galactic Census report as any kind of accurate guide to statistical averages you would probably guess that the craft would hold about six people, and you would be right.
 
You’d probably guessed that anyway. The Census report, like most such surveys, had cost an awful lot of money and told nobody anything they didn’t already know—except that every single person in the Galaxy had 2.4 legs and owned a hyena. Since this was clearly not true the whole thing eventually had to be scrapped.
 
The craft slid quietly down through the rain, its dim operating lights seeming to wrap it in tasteful rainbows. It hummed very quietly, a hum that became gradually louder and deeper as it approached the ground and which at an altitude of six inches became a heavy throb.
 
At last it dropped and was quiet.
 
A hatchway opened. A short flight of steps unfolded itself.
 
A light appeared in the opening, a bright light streaming out into the wet night, and shadows moved within.
 
A tall figure appeared in the light, looked around, flinched, and hurried down the steps, carrying a large shopping bag under his arm.
 
He turned and gave a single abrupt wave back to the ship. Already the rain was streaming through his hair.
 
“Thank you,” he called out, “thank you very—”
 
He was interrupted by a sharp crack of thunder. He glanced up apprehensively, and in response to a sudden thought started quickly to rummage through the large plastic shopping bag, which he now discovered had a hole in the bottom.
 
It had large characters printed on the side which read (to anyone who could decipher the Centaurian alphabet) DUTY FREE MEGA-MARKET, PORT BRASTA, ALPHA CENTAURI. BE LIKE THE TWENTY-SECOND ELEPHANT WITH HEATED VALUE IN SPACE—BARK!
 
“Hold on!” the figure called, waving at the ship.
 
The steps, which had started to fold themselves back through the hatchway, stopped, re-unfolded, and allowed him back in.
 
He emerged again a few seconds later carrying a battered and threadbare towel which he shoved into the bag.
 
He waved again, hoisted the bag under his arm, and started to run for the shelter of some trees as, behind him, the spacecraft had already begun its ascent.
 
Lightning flitted through the sky and made the figure pause for a moment, and then hurry onward, revising his path to give the trees a wide berth. He moved swiftly across the ground, slipping here and there, hunching himself against the rain which was falling now with ever-increasing concentration, as if being pulled from the sky.
 
His feet sloshed through the mud. Thunder grumbled over the hills. He pointlessly wiped the rain off his face and stumbled on.
 
More lights.
 
Not lightning this time, but more diffused and dimmer lights which played slowly over the horizon and faded.
 
The figure paused again on seeing them, and then redoubled his steps, making directly toward the point on the horizon at which they had appeared.
 
And now the ground was becoming steeper, sloping upward, and after another two or three hundred yards it led at last to an obstacle. The figure paused to examine the barrier and then dropped the bag over it before climbing over it himself.
 
Hardly had the figure touched the ground on the other side than there came a machine sweeping out of the rain toward him with lights streaming through the wall of water. The figure pressed back as the machine streaked toward him. It was a low, bulbous shape, like a small whale surfing—sleek, gray, and rounded and moving at terrifying speed.
 
The figure instinctively threw up his hands to protect himself, but was hit only by a sluice of water as the machine swept past and off into the night.
 
It was illuminated briefly by another flicker of lightning crossing the sky, which allowed the soaked figure by the roadside a split second to read a small sign at the back of the machine before it disappeared.
 
To the figure’s apparent incredulous astonishment the sign read “My other car is also a Porsche.”
 
 
Chapter 2
 
Rob McKenna was a miserable bastard and he knew it because he’d had a lot of people point it out to him over the years and he saw no reason to disagree with them except the obvious one which was that he liked disagreeing with people, particularly people he disliked, which included, at the last count, everybody.
 
He heaved a sigh and shoved down a gear.
 
The hill was beginning to steepen and his lorry was heavy with Danish thermostatic radiator controls.
 
It wasn’t that he was naturally predisposed to be so surly, at least he hoped not. It was just the rain that got him down, always the rain.
 
It was raining now, just for a change.
 
It was a particular type of rain that he particularly disliked, particularly when he was driving. He had a number for it. It was rain type 17.
 
He had read somewhere that the Eskimos had over two hundred different words for snow, without which their conversation would probably have got very monotonous. So they would distinguish between thin snow and thick snow, light snow and heavy snow, sludgy snow, brittle snow, snow that came in flurries, snow that came in drifts, snow that came in on the bottom of your neighbor’s boots all over your nice clean igloo floor, the snows of winter, the snows of spring, the snows you remember from your childhood that were so much better than any of your modern snow, fine snow, feathery snow, hill snow, valley snow, snow that falls in the morning, snow that falls at night, snow that falls all of a sudden just when you were going out fishing, and snow that despite all your efforts to train them, the huskies have pissed on.
 
Rob McKenna had two hundred and thirty-one different types of rain entered in his little book, and he didn’t like any of them.
 
He shifted down another gear and the lorry heaved its revs up. It grumbled in a comfortable sort of way about all the Danish thermostatic radiator controls it was carrying.
 
Since he had left Denmark the previous afternoon, he had been through types 33 (light pricking drizzle which made the roads slippery), 39 (heavy spotting), 47 to 51 (vertical light drizzle through to sharply slanting light to moderate drizzle freshening), 87 and 88 (two finely distinguished varieties of vertical torrential downpour), 100 (postdownpour squalling, cold), all the sea-storm types between 192 and 213 at once, 123, 124, 126, 127 (mild and intermediate cold gusting, regular and syncopated cab-drumming), 11 (breezy droplets), and now his least favorite of all, 17.
 
Rain type 17 was a dirty blatter battering against his windshield so hard that it didn’t make much odds whether he had his wipers on or off.
 
He tested this theory by turning them off briefly, but as it turned out the visibility did get quite a lot worse. It just failed to get better again when he turned them back on.
 
In fact one of the wiper blades began to flap off.
 
Swish swish swish flop swish swish flop swish swish flop swish flop swish flop flop flap scrape.
 
He pounded his steering wheel, kicked the floor, thumped his cassette player until it suddenly started playing Barry Manilow, thumped it until it stopped again, and swore and swore and swore and swore and swore.
 
It was at the very moment that his fury was peaking that there loomed swimmingly in his headlights, hardly visible through the blatter, a figure by the roadside.
 
A poor bedraggled figure, strangely attired, wetter than an otter in a washing machine, and hitching.
 
“Poor miserable sod,” thought Rob McKenna to himself, realizing that here was somebody with a better right to feel hard done by than himself, “must be chilled to the bone. Stupid to be out hitching on a filthy night like this. All you get is cold, wet, and lorries driving through puddles at you.”
 
He shook his head grimly, heaved another sigh, gave the wheel a turn, and hit a large sheet of water square on.
 
“See what I mean?” he thought to himself as he plowed swiftly through it; “you get some right bastards on the road.”
 
Splattered in his rearview mirror a couple of seconds later was the reflection of the hitchhiker, drenched by the roadside.
 
For a moment he felt good about this. A moment or two later he felt bad about feeling good about it. Then he felt good about feeling bad about feeling good about it and, satisfied, drove on into the night.
 
At least it made up for finally having been overtaken by that Porsche he had been diligently blocking for the last twenty miles.
 
And as he drove on, the rain clouds dragged down the sky after him for, though he did not know it, Rob McKenna was a Rain God. All he knew was that his working days were miserable and he had a succession of lousy holidays. All the clouds knew was that they loved him and wanted to be near him, to cherish him and to water him.
 

Table of Contents

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 104 reviews.
1000_Character_Reviews More than 1 year ago
Well...on to the forth (and almost last) of the original set of Hitchhiker's Guide books. We find Arthur Dent back on Earth, which has not been destroyed (I won't spoil the how on this – especially as I’m not completely clear on how Ford pulled it off) looking to help a girl he's fallen in love with, figure out why he's been given a fishbowl with a strange inscription, figuring out where all the dolphins went, trying to find his battered copy of the Hitchhiker's Guide and finally finding the message that God left for all of creation (which falls along the lines of 42 as the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything). The mystery-like storyline combined with the series’ characteristic sarcasm definitely makes it very hard to put down. I’d say it’s the funniest of the books thus far with the healthy dose of irreverent humor we've come to expect from this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I felt that this book was the weakest in the hitch hiker series. there was hardly any planet hopping and the antics were not nearly as interesting without ford. Its still a great book though.
LeoM More than 1 year ago
As this series' ending begins, the events which occur in this book become even more wacky and crazed than the those previous to it. If this series has been entertaining so far, this book follows in suit as it twists the mind and bends all processes of thought to a new level with its unpredictable story line. It all begins with the illusion of a dream... Arthur is led to believe all the events of the past eight years have been a figment of his imagination, and that he has gone crazy (which, following his behavioral patterns, could be a possibility), but with the weird events going on, such as the Earth's dolphins disappearing, he begins to seek the truth, with the hunch that the Vogons were much more than a hallucination. Previous to this hunch, he falls in love with a girl named Fenchurch he met while hitchhiking, and she too believes the Vogons were real (but she was diagnosed with mental instablility). Arthur chases this girl around and eventually begins a romantic relationship, and together (after they have met up with Ford Prefect) they seek the truth behind the destruction and reappearance of the Earth. Without giving away any spoilers, this book is an exciting adventure, (surprisingly) with a love story included, and a tragedy involving a beloved character. I would definitely recommend this book to a friend, and hope this series is enjoyed by others just as much as it has been enjoyed by me.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im like half way done amd im kinda annoyed nothing cool has happened yet.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago