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Publisher's Summary

Now in audiobook for the first time ever! Read by Simon Jones, the original “Arthur Dent,” and written by number one New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman, Don’t Panic is the definitive chronicle of all things Hitchhiker!

First published in 1986 and updated several times since, Don’t Panic is in an in-depth exploration of Douglas Adams’s cultural phenomenon The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - from its beginnings as a UK radio series, to its expansion into a wildly popular book trilogy, and onto incarnations in various media including stage, records, film, computer games, and even, um, tea towels. 

Don’t Panic was the first book by internationally best-selling author Neil Gaiman, written early in his writing career when he worked as a freelance journalist in his native England. Voiced by renowned actor Simon Jones - “Arthur Dent” himself - and with a new introduction written and read by Neil Gaiman, Don’t Panic: Douglas Adams & The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy audio edition is the ultimate version of this beloved work. 

Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2020 Neil Gaiman (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Don't Panic

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Neil, the Universe and Douglas Adams

And can you believe Simon Jones is narrating? I almost wrote a Vogon sonnet while knocking back a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. The original Arthur Dent is narrating. I can't imagine anyone narrating this lovely, funny gem of a book but Simon Jones or perhaps Stephen Fry (who narrated the first novel) or Peter Jones (but, alas, RIP).

If you love Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in any of its permutations, you'll want to have this book in your library. Neil Gaiman published his history of Douglas Adams and the Hitchhiker's franchise in 1988. So before the third to sixth installments in the radio series came out and before Adams' death in 2001. But Gaiman did provide a preface in 2003 and there have been other updates.

Gaiman opens his history very much in the style of the Hitchhiker's radio series. He perfectly mimics Adams' writing style when he wants to, and it's a great treat for fans. This short history covers a lot of ground: from Adams' own hitchhiking trip to Europe (which gave him the idea for a guide to the galaxy), his Cambridge years and his collaboration with Monty Python's Graham Chapman to the groundbreaking radio series, the novels and the stories for Doctor Who.

There's hardly a wasted word. Gaiman keeps the tone upbeat and light, with no angsty forays into Adams' psychological makeup or personal life, and keeps the focus on Douglas Adams and his journey to creating one of the best-loved series of the 20th century.

All in all, I'd rate this a 42.

53 people found this helpful

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Only for the hardcore

Perhaps it's been too long since I first read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as a teenager, perhaps age has taken away the attraction to playful absurdity. But this book, a droning account of Douglas Adams' travails with the various iterations of the story on radio, TV and (at the time, potentially) film, made me realize that I don't feel it's aged particularly all that well. Though I think the Dirk Gently stories have fared much better.. And the inside stories of Adams' struggling with writer's block, insipid media producers in the UK and US, and the minutiae of his creative process, don't help to revive my interest. People still enthralled with Douglas Adams very likely will enjoy it.

19 people found this helpful

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For Any Hitchhiker Fan

When I was 12 I saw a trailer for the Hitchhiker guide to the Galaxy Movie. My Dad took me and I fell in love with the series. A few years later I listen to the first book (Narrated by Stephen Fry) and then the later book narrated by Martin Freeman (Though I am still confused if it is the same Martin Freeman as the actor). When Another Thing came out I listen to that too. I knew from a little research and Youtube videos that it was a radio series and a tv series. After about a decade of not listening to the Hitchhiker Guide To the Galaxy material, I saw this audiobook on Audible. I Wish list it and bought it a few months later.
It is a good in depth look into the Hitchhiker Guide to the Galaxy From radio series to 2009. If you want a history on Douglas Adam's work than this is it. Simon Jones does a great job (As usual) and Neil Gaiman reads the intro. It was written by a person who knew Adam and it shows. You will also meet others who helped guide it and make it what it is today. I should end this review with quote or reference, but sadly I can't think of one.
We Apologize For the Inconvenience.

18 people found this helpful

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A Hitchhikers Guide Fan Must

Written in the style of The Guide,Gaiman tells the story of how the radio program and book came into being. Simon Jones is the perfect narrator for fhis book. This is as close to having another Douglas Adams’s book as you can get. Thank you, Neil. You have given a great gift to the world, but especially to me.

7 people found this helpful

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Fascinating and entertaining

I grew up with THHGttG listening and recording the first transmission of the radio series. It is great to hear the background to the series and the reality of how Douglass Adams created them.

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Interesting Insights into Adam's Work.

The narration was great. This made me want to go back and reread again and also the ones I have missed along the wsy.

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True to the man

This guide to life of Douglas Adam’s and everything is as good as it will ever get. So nobody else should bother to write another word on the man. Unless it turns out this book is entirely a lie, then carry on.

2 people found this helpful

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An ideal Hitchhiker’s Companion

Having initially bought this book back in 1988, I’m glad I waited until now to listen to it, to read it, to experience it. Because it was a wonderful love letter to Douglas Adams from his many friends, most especially from this book’s author, Neil Gaiman.

If you love the works of Douglas Adams or don’t know quite as much about them as you think you might, I believe you’ll very much enjoy this “hitchhikers companion,” as it was originally called.

So grab your towel, have a cup of tea, sit back, relax and don’t panic. And maybe have a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster when you finish, while considering the interconnectedness of everything. Or not. 👍

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great voice talking about a great man

love all things Douglas, learned a bit more about him and laughed out loud by myself a few times

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A Definitive Guide to the Hitchhiker's Guide

While I have a general appreciation for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and I've read most of the books, I wasn't prepared for what a fascinating exploration of its history this book was going to be. This is not to be mistaken as a biography of Douglas Adams. This is a biography of the Hitchhiker's guide in all of its different forms over the years. It's more than just an origin story, but it's also a crazy effort to document how it has evolved over the years every time it is adapted, revived, and re-released because it's just one of those stories.

I did not realize how much there is to know about this franchise and the many hoops Adams his collaborators had to go through in order to keep things going and continually help new audiences get onboard for the ride. It's the kind of book that inspires you to read the books again or go scouring for versions of the radio play and maybe even try to dig up a copy of the old video game?

This series, like the actual Guide itself, has been all over the place and this title is a great effort to document all that and present it all in a voice that works. That's an understatement of course - the main narrator of this version is Simon Jones, who once voice Arthur Dent on radio.

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  • LENGTHIAN
  • 05-18-21

Facts for fun but far from from fun

lots and lots of info about the making of hitchikers etc but frankly probably much better as a book than an audio book. poor Simon Jones didn't really have much to do. there are parts, especially the appendices which would be better read. Good info but as an audio book one very much for dedicated fans I think

3 people found this helpful

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  • G. Martin
  • 01-24-22

Intensely and warmly amusing and informative

An interesting, poignant and loving portrayal of a man and the inner madness he was able to share with his understanding nation and less understanding universe. I am eternally grateful for the inate britishness that led me here.

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  • Chris Boden
  • 10-15-21

Not the story I was expecting

Utter rubbish. It’s a good job this is a free trial otherwise I’d be demanding my money back.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-03-21

Wonderfully meta

Listening to Arthut Dent reading Neil Gaiman writing about Douglas Adams has to be the ultimate comfort listen. I read the original version in 1993, and it's good to revisit, having read other biographies of DNA in the meantime.

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  • Andrew Cook
  • 09-07-20

bland, for big fans only

basically just a chronology of hhg2tg - very few insights so quite disappointing. the end

2 people found this helpful