Recommended Reading for Hitchhiker’s Guide fans

galactic hitchhiker summoning a spaceship - illustration for hitchhiker's guide book recommendations article

Are you a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fan who needs something new to read? Don’t panic! Here is some recommended reading.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is one of the most beloved science fiction books of all time. Douglas Adams’s humor and the characters’ wild space opera adventures make for addictive reading and leave fans wanting more. If you can’t get enough of funny space opera novels, check out the books below:

  • Phule’s Company series – Robert Asprin – A comic military science fiction series featuring alien enemies and a company of reject soldiers. Six books.
  • Bobiverse series – Dennis E. Taylor – A dead engineer is turned into a Von Neumann probe and sent out to explore the universe. AI, intelligent space probes, intergalactic war. Four (five?) books.
  • Bill the Galactic Hero – Harry Harrison – Space war with giant lizards, and a hero who doesn’t know what he’s doing. Terry Pratchett called it the funniest science fiction novel ever written.
  • Stainless Steel Rat series – Harry Harrison – The adventures of an interstellar thief and con artist. As a kid, Heinlein’s “Have Spacesuit – Will Travel” got me interested in science fiction. The Stainless Steel Rat series turned that interest into an obsession. Eleven books.
  • Dimension of Miracles – Robert Sheckley – A civil servant wins the galactic lottery, but ends up on the run and bouncing from Earth to Earth. Even Adams himself thought was similar to Hitchhiker’s Guide.
  • The Cyberiad – Stanislaw Lem – A collection of short stories, not all space-hopping. It has a bit of a “science fiction fables” feel to it, and some rather Adamsy absurdist humor.
  • Jacques McKeown series – Yahtzee Croshaw – An unemployed galactic pilot looking for work in these “not quite epic” space adventures. Three books.
  • Expeditionary Force – Craig Alanson – Created as a humorous subversion of the typical “soldiers battling an alien invasion” trope. Sixteen books.
  • Retief series – Keith Laumer – The satirical adventures of Jame Retief, a planet-hopping space diplomat. Twenty-six books.
  • Space Team series – Barry J Hutchison – The adventures of small-time conman Cal Carver. Reviewers often compare the series to Douglas Adams. Fifteen books.
  • The Audacity series – Carmen Loup (Also listed as Laura Carmen Loup and Laura Loup) – A waitress is abducted by aliens, makes friends with an alien obsessed with “I Love Lucy”, and becomes a rocket racer. Three books.
  • Dim Stars – Brian P Rubin – A young girl signs up for a two-week tour as a cadet on the ship of her idol, but finds out that our heroes aren’t always as heroic as we thought. Technically YA, but this is one of those YA books that adults will enjoy as well. The captain’s struggles with his failures and not living up to his potential are something that any adult can relate to.
  • May Contain Space Pirates – M F Alfrey – A human named Fifty-Eight bounces around the galaxy, running from aliens who want to eat him. Incredibly funny, with some fantastic space pirates and unique aliens that aren’t just “humans with funny foreheads.”
  • The Space Opera series – Catherynne M. Valente – A space opera with actual singing! Humanity takes part in a galactic song contest. Often compared to Hitchhiker’s Guide. Two books.
  • The Screaming Void by yours truly – A team of space junk salvagers gets hired to retrieve a spaceship lost in the most dangerous place in the galaxy. Along the way, they battle space gangsters, the totalitarian galactic government, and even their own minds. Soon to be a series!

Honorable mentions:

  • While not space opera, Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon by Spider Robinson is another hilarious science fiction novel that Hitchhiker’s Guide fans may enjoy.
  • Outside of science fiction, the Discworld series of fantasy novels by Terry Pratchett is universally considered the closest to Douglas Adams’s humor. Good Omens, written by Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, is also hilarious and highly recommended.

Know another hilarious space opera novel I should add? Leave a suggestion in the comments below!

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