I just completed the first book in the Hitchhiker's Guide series and started the second. Something I've seen written about the series is that it is a "trilogy of five", which taken literally is an oxymoron. Is there a reason why this label has been used? Was it intentional whimsy, or did "trilogy" just not for some reason get corrected when the later books appeared?

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    I don't know why everybody keeps going on about HHGG. There are so many trilogies consisting of more than three books. Dune, Dragonlance etc. There's even one I know of that consists of only two books: Larry Niven's Smoke Ring trilogy.
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 22:47
  • That may well be, but I haven't read any of those, so I didn't know about the "trilogy" business. I have been reading HHGG, which inspired the question. Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 23:10
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    @MrLister - Star Wars :) Commented Jan 26, 2014 at 2:47
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    I took it as a joke.
    – user35971
    Commented Dec 6, 2014 at 14:12
  • Robert Rankin has the Brentford trilogy with 8 total... Commented May 31, 2017 at 0:59

2 Answers 2


Obstensibly, Adams finished the books at Three, but later came back.

The novels are described as "a trilogy in five parts", having been described as a trilogy on the release of the third book, and then a "trilogy in four parts" on the release of the fourth book. The US edition of the fifth book was originally released with the legend "The fifth book in the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker's Trilogy" on the cover. Subsequent re-releases of the other novels bore the legend "The [first, second, third, fourth] book in the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker's Trilogy". In addition, the blurb on the fifth book humorously describes the book as "the book that gives a whole new meaning to the word 'trilogy'". ~Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

It was a tongue in cheek way of describing the books, without going back on a previous statement, and fits very well with some of the nonsensical themes in the book.


@Pureferret has the right answer but the question is wrong.

For THHGTTG's 30th anniversary, part six of three, And Another Thing... was published. This book was written by Eoin Colfer since Adams was unavailable to write the book due to his being dead for biological reasons.

Book cover

The name of the book is taken from So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish:

The storm had now definitely abated, and what thunder there was now grumbled over more distant hills, like a man saying 'And another thing...' twenty minutes after admitting he's lost the argument.

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    Instead of "answering" the question with this non-answer, why didn't you either comment on the question, or just submit an edit to it to correct it?
    – phantom42
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 12:01
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    This answer is funnier than a comment would have been, I’m firmly in favour. Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 12:09
  • Objections? Overruled!
    – AncientSwordRage
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 12:21
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    +1 for "being dead for biological reasons." I feel like he would have approved of that description. Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 16:12
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    @DaveJohnson or, as slartibartfast could have said, Douglas Adams is just (another time) very late ... as in: "the late Douglas Adams". Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 18:07

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