My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My review of: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
My review of: Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Arthur Dent and company are back for a third volume, and this time they must save the universe. This installment in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (H2G2) series leaves off where the second stopped.
Readers will recall that at the end of the second volume,Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Arthur and Ford Prefect were marooned on the Earth two million years before their time (i.e. before the Earth was destroyed for a hyperspace bypass.) The two are reunited after Ford spent some time in solitude experimenting with being insane. They catch a ride forward in time on a piece of couch-shaped jetsam caught in an eddy in the space-time continuum.
Arthur and Ford are then picked by Slartibartfast, designer of fjords, who convinces them that they must go on a mission to save the universe from the inhabitants of the planet Krikkit. Actually, he can’t convince Ford of that, but he does convince him to go to the longest running party in the universe. Unknown to Ford, Slartibartfast wants to prevent the Krikkiters from attaining a requisite part that happens to be located at the party.
Arthur plays a particularly important part in this volume. After a run-in with a creature that he has killed numerous times in various bodies, the H2G2 straight man develops the knack for not hitting the ground after throwing himself downward (i.e. he can fly.) This new skill plays an important role in ultimately winning the day.
Arriving at Krikkit, the group finds that the locals aren’t much interested in destroying the universe anymore.This leads the band them to uncover a plot of intrigue and hilarity.
Given that there are two more books, you probably believe that the universe wasn’t destroyed, but I’ll avoid spoilers.
As always, Adams is the master of absurdist science fiction. Sure he gets his characters out of jams by flukes of the infinite impossibility drive or, in this book’s case, randomly appearing and disappearing couches, but it’s the wackiness that we enjoy and not the tautness or logical consistency of the tale.