Thursday, July 12, 2007

Book Review: Life, the Universe and Everything

Which book finds our intrepid quartet searching the Galaxy for the Question to the Ultimate Answer. You know, the Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything.

The story resumes, since this is the third book in the Hitchhiker's trilogy, with Arthur Dent stranded on prehistoric Earth. Arthur used to live on Earth, back in the modern era, before it was destroyed by the Vogons for an interstellar bypass. Coincidentally, that was five minutes before the Most Intelligent Beings on Earth were about to learn the Question to the Ultimate Answer.

Stranded with Arthur is his best friend, Ford Prefect, originally from Betelgeuse, who is a field reporter for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Ford met Arthur when he was originally stranded on Earth for 15 years while doing field research.

They have given up hope of being rescued from prehistoric Earth when suddenly a Chesterfield sofa appears and transports them to the cricket pitch at Lord's Cricket Grounds in London a few days before Earth is to be destroyed. White robots appear, steal the Urn containing the Ashes of the Cricket Stump, and generally cause pandemonium. Slartibartfast, who won an award for creating the fjords in Norway, rescues them.

The white robots, it turns out, are from the planet Krikkit.

Meanwhile, Trillian and Zaphod are tooling around the Universe. They all end up at the same party that has been going on for several generations. Trillian is picked up by Thor and Arthur has a confrontation with him by insisting that Trillian leave.

Turns out there is a bomb that combines the energies of several suns and will destroy the Universe and everything in it. And the Krikkiters are threatening to set it off. It's up to Arthur, Ford, Zaphod, and Trillian to save the Universe. With or without the help of Marvin, the supremely intelligent and chronically depressed robot.

Who can blame Arthur for wanting to escape to a pleasant, quiet planet to think it all through? Ah... but that's another story.

On the March Hare scale: 4 out of 5 Golden Bookmarks