So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish is the fourth book in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy book series ("trilogy") by Douglas Adams.

Plot Summary[]

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish begins three years after the events of Life, the Universe and Everything and eight years after those of The Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy. Arthur, who has apparently hitched a ride all the way to the spot where the Earth once was, is shocked to find the planet perfectly intact. After hitching a ride with a man named Russell, he finds Russell's sister, Fenchurch, or "Fenny," unconscious in the back seat, and immediately falls in love with her. As he learns from Russell, the entire world believes that the Vogon fleet was actually a hallucination, brought on by drugs released into the air as part of an experiment by the C.I.A. Only three months had passed since the incident. Arthur also learns that it is thought that Fenchurch is mentally unstable, having seemingly gone mad at a cafe in Rickmansworth at the exact moment when the Vogons were about to destroy the Earth. Arthur finally makes it back to his house, finding a mysterious Fish Bowl in it. He makes up a story about going on vacation to southern California as an alibi for his three-month-long disappearance. Arthur then runs into Fenchurch again, and, desperate to spend more time with her, drive her to the local train station. He learns that she, too, suspects that the Vogons were not a hallucination. Arthur acquires her phone number, but he ends up losing it (having been written on a winning raffle ticket) and sinks into depression.

Determined to take his mind off Fenchurch, he buys a computer to try to locate the place his cave in prehistoric Earth is currently, and by a stroke of luck the location turns out to be Fenchurch's house. Arthur and Fenchurch start a romantic relationship. Eventually, Arthur learns about dolphins that have disappeared, and, thinking that it may be linked to the hallucinations or Arthur's eight years in space, they fly to California to see a scientist named Wonko the Sane. Wonko shows them a bowl similar to Arthur's, and through the bowl, they learn that the dolphins took an alternate reality version of Earth and placed it where their Earth previously had been.

While these events were taking place, Ford Prefect, while in Han Dold City, discovers that the entry he wrote about Earth (for the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy before it was destroyed, which was edited down to the point where all it said was "Mostly Harmless", has suddenly reappeared in its entirety in his copy of the Guide. Intrigued, he hikes to Earth on a ship commanded by a Giant Robot. Once seeing that Earth again exists, Ford runs into Arthur and Fenchurch, who have decided to go to the location of God's Final Message to Creation, as revealed to Arthur by Prak at the end of Life, the Universe and Everything. They board the ship Ford arrived on and go to the spot, where it has become a major tourist attraction. Arthur comes across Marvin, who, because of the various time travel he's been through, is now many times older than the Universe itself. Marvin reads the far-away message with the help of Arthur and Fenchurch ("We apologise for the inconvenience"), amazingly says that he feels good about it, and promptly dies in Arthur's arms.


for Jane
with thanks
to Rick and Heidi for the loan of their stable event
to Mogens and Andy and all at Huntsham Court for a number of unstable events
and especially to Sonny Metha for being stable through all events.


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Minor Characters[]




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(To be added)