Author: Douglas Adams
Release Date: 1984
Genres: Sci-Fi, Humor
Series: The Hitchhicker’s Guide, #4
Sequel to: Life, the Universe and Everything
Followed by: Mostly Harmless

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. And 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?

After 8 years of Galaxy-travels, Dent is back. On Earth.
But, wait! How’s that even possible? Has not the Earth been blasted to bits to make place for an Intergalactical Highway? Well, it has…but then it hasn’t. No need to get confused though. No need to be surprised either.

And then the fling of hope, the finding of a shadow Earth in the implications of enfolded time, submerged dimensions, the pull of parallels, the deep pull, the spin of will, the hurl and split of it, the flight. A new Earth pulled into replacement, the dolphins gone.

I mean, this is the 4th book of the Hitchhiker’s Guide’s TRILOGY!

However, on the destroyed-but-not-destroyed-Earth people go on as if nothing has happened, most of them not even noticing that dolphins have vanished. Helloooo! DOLPHINS HAVE VANISHED!. There are no dolphins, not one frigging dolphin on Earth. That’s not weird at all, not noticeable at all, people!

Most of them, but not Fenny aka Fenchurch, with whom Arthur engages a relationship. Basically, Arthur Dent gets some. While flying.

Fenchrurch notices there are no dolphins.
Fenchurch is thought to be clinical insane because she is not oblivious.
Fenchurch can fly.
Fenchurch is weird.
Great catch Arthur.
United in weirdness!

This might not be the best in the series (at least in my opinion) – kind of boring compared to the others, and I nearly headed the narrator’s invitation to skip to the end to read about Marvin instead of reading about Arthur getting kinky in the air – but it still has some interesting elements, for example:

1) dolphins have vanished – don’t know if that was clear yet.

2) John Watson aka Wonko the Sane who reveals that “the world had gone totally mad and [he had] built the Asylum to put it in, poor thing, and hoped it would get better.” Which explains it all.

And in case it crossed your mind to wonder, as I can see how it possibly might, I am completely sane. Which is why I call myself Wonko the Sane, just to reassure people on this point. Wonko is what my mother called me when I was a kid and clumsy and knocked things over, and sane is what I am, and how,” he added, with one of his smiles that made you feel,
“Oh. Well that’s all right then.”
“I intend to remain. Shall we go on to the beach and see what we have to talk about?”

3) Wonko the Sane wears Dr Scholl sandals.

4) David Bowie got his well-deserved moment of glory in addition to his already immortal glory in here:

If you took a couple of David Bowies and stuck one of the David Bowies on the top of the other David Bowie, then attached another David Bowie to the end of each of the arms of the upper of the first two David Bowies and wrapped the whole business up in a dirty beach robe you would then have something which didn’t exactly look like John Watson, but which those who knew him would find hauntingly familiar.

*scoff* Yeah *scoff* right, girl!

5) dolphins are everything but rude: “So Long, and Thanks For All The Fish.”

6) a rain god who hates rain;

Now now, David. The Earth’s not a bitch. Some people, though…

Oh, and: Zaphod and Trillian what??!
They had children, apparently.

“Yeah,” said Ford, “at least one of his heads is now saner than an emu on acid.”

Ah well… okay.
This books are just so amazingly weird!