The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Hitchhiker's Guide Series, Book 1 Book Poster Image

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Hitchhiker's Guide Series, Book 1

The acme of British science-fiction humor.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

What parents need to know


A ray gun battle with two deaths: a whale falls out of the sky and is smashed; two people are cast out into space but survive.


Much humorous innuendo along the lines of "Eccentrica Gallumbits, the triple-breasted whore of Eroticon Six," and "the Best Bang since the Big One."


A couple of four-letter expletives.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Many humorous references to drinking and drunkenness.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that despite the dry, rather snide, humor, the author raises many issues, including materialism, the nature of existence, the role of bureaucracy, and lots more.

What's the story?

Just before the Earth is demolished to make room for a new hyperspace bypass, very ordinary Earthman Arthur Dent is taken offworld by his friend, Ford Prefect. Ford, it turns out, comes "from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse," and is "a roving researcher for that wholly remarkable book, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." They hitch a ride on one of the Vogon constructor ships that demolished the earth, are ejected into space, and picked up by The Heart of Gold, a new spaceship powered by the Infinite Improbability Drive, which has just been stolen by two-headed, three-armed Zaphod Beeblebrox, President of the Galaxy. They journey with him to Magrathea, the planet where, millions of years earlier, the Earth was constructed as part of a giant, organic computer designed to come up with the question to the answer to the question of life, the universe, and everything. Get it?

Is it any good?


Originally written for adults, this witty, entertaining book has become very popular with bright middle schoolers and high schoolers who enjoy the snarky British humor. Some passages will go right over the heads of many readers, but for those who get it this pioneering classic introduction to the genre of British sci-fi humor can become an obsession, leading to Terry Pratchett, Monty Python, and others. The cliffhanger ending will drive them crazy, of course, but fortunately the whole series is available, so they can quickly satisfy their need to continue.

Despite the drinking and innuendo, many parents like to see their kids enjoying this because the humor is intellectual and verbal, rather than the usual American pratfalls and potty jokes. Many lines have become catch phrases to the initiated, a quick way to find those of like mind and interests: saying "42!", "Life, don't talk to me about life," or Don't panic!" to a roomful of young adolescents is one way to sort them out quickly.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the many issues tackled here. What does this book say about the nature of existence? Do you agree?

Book details

Author:Douglas Adams
Genre:Science Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Del Rey
Publication date:February 6, 2005
Number of pages:320

This review of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Hitchhiker's Guide Series, Book 1 was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Ratings

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate.

Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written bytolkien geek mi March 9, 2014

Obscure Inappropriateness

So, I loved this book. I'm eighteen and I had a solid, well grounded upbringing. When it comes to negative content it really depends on the kid. There's a lot of strange sexual references, but these are brief and some young readers would likely miss them entirely. There's scattered language and some strangely disturbing ideas...which are presented as comedy, but might bother younger readers (mice trying to steal human brains to figure out the ultimate question that will explain the meaning of life the universe and everything...really Mr. Adams?) It's a great book, fast paced and readable. Douglas Adams was a script writer for Doctor Who (the classic series), which tells you about his style and his ideas. It raises a lot of mature ideas about, well, life the universe and everything...primarily about politics and materialism. A good conversation starter and generally entertaining!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written byMissBlackShadow February 14, 2010

Perfection. Just hilarious perfection.

To put it in a nutshell, they are the funniest books ever written, period. When I first got these, I couldn't read them in a public place in fear of laughing uncontrollably and making a spectacle of myself. I adore these books, they're the type I can read over and over again without the jokes seeming old. It's not just any humour, it's Douglas Adams humour, which has the type intelligent, nerdy , geeky, random, quotable, and just generally perfect humour I adore. Although it seems light and fluffy, if you squint it does raise some philosophical questions. If anyone is considering buying them, do. You won't regret it. You'll never look at a towel, a cup of tea, the number 42 or a sofa without giggling to yourself again.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Adult Written bydom505 May 21, 2010