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Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Ultimate edition. Douglas Adams. A marvelous space adventure unlike anything written before or since. This edition has the first five novels of the trilogy. A must read at an excellent price.

The Salmon of Doubt. Douglas Adams never could meet his deadlines. And so we are left with a selection of writings, wrapping up with what was to either finish evolving into the third Dirk Gently mystery or be transformed into the sixth book in the Hitchhiker trilogy. Fans of Adams will want to see this. But if you don't know Adams, you should start with the Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul (below) or the Hitchhiker series (above).

Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul. Douglas Adams. A bizarre and delightful novel about a detective whose methods are less methodical than Sherlock Holmes, but who solves a more challenging case than Holmes could have imagined. We'd also recommend Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency but it sadly seems to be unavailable. If you find it in a second hand store, by all means, buy it.

The Cat Who Walks Through Walls. Robert Heinlein. Everyone knows Stranger in a Strange Land. This is less visionary, but much more fun, telling the tale of an ex-mercenary who's turned to the shameful career of writing after an injury, only to be drawn into an awful intrigue.

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In the "90 Minutes" series, Paul Strathern presents amusing and insightful portraits of the major philosophers and their major ideas. Below are some of our favorites:

And the guy who started it all (in the modern era, anyway):

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