Far be it from me to knock the holy grail of satire, but the first two books, which were adapted completely from the original radio series, are the absolute best. The radio show was more about cohesive episodes than cohesive seasons, which makes for a fun read. After that, the books were written as books, and they start to get decidedly less madcap and more plot-driven. Of course, they're ridiculous plots, but the actual jokes get farther and farther apart, Guide asides become rare, and once you realize it, you may feel duped.
The first two books are based on the first season of the radio series, with Restaurant at the End of the Universe
appropriating a handful of gags from the second season. Such as there's a plot, it merely serves the jokes, which are hilarious.
Life The Universe And Everything
is okay. Just okay. It has some elements lifted from the second season of the radio series, but it has a definite plot. Knowledge of the game of Cricket is highly recommended. This book was adapted for the radio in the 2000s, and the adaptation suffers because many of the good bits from the book were used in the earlier radio series.
So Long And Thanks For All The Fish
was created entirely out of whole cloth, and is entirely focused on Arthur finding True Happiness. It's much less grandiose than the previous, but it's even less compelling than the first two. It's a feel-good read, though. The radio adaptation leads directly into the next story, which is a slight improvement.
If you haven't read Mostly Harmless
yet, do so only with extreme caution. It's a horribly bleak book that's basically the polar opposite of the previous. The radio adaptation finishes much better.
If you don't watch the television adaptation for any other reason, watch it for the terrible effects. Zaphod's other head came off a mannequin and is normally "asleep."
brings old and new concepts together fairly well, but may not be very accessible for non-fans. Your Mileage May Vary
, but I thought the opening sequence was hilarious, and the love subplot well-done and a well-needed fix (not that I don't like Fenchurch...)