Friday, January 27, 2017

Review: Life, the Universe and Everything

Published August 13th 1982 by Pan

The unhappy inhabitants of planet Krikkit are sick of looking at the night sky above their heads–so they plan to destroy it. The universe, that is. Now only five individuals stand between the killer robots of Krikkit and their goal of total annihilation.

They are Arthur Dent, a mild-mannered space and time traveler who tries to learn how to fly by throwing himself at the ground and missing; Ford Prefect, his best friend, who decides to go insane to see if he likes it; Slartibartfast, the indomitable vice president of the Campaign for Real Time, who travels in a ship powered by irrational behavior; Zaphod Beeblebrox, the two-headed, three-armed ex-president of the galazy; and Trillian, the sexy space cadet who is torn between a persistent Thunder God and a very depressed Beeblebrox.

How will it all end? Will it end? Only this stalwart crew knows as they try to avert “universal” Armageddon and save life as we know it–and don’t know it!
After a prolonged reading slump, I finally got back into the groove with the next instalment in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Series - Life, the Universe and Everything - which is a bit surprising since I'd found the second book lackluster compared to the first one which was so.much.fun.  I don't know, I think this was exactly the type of book I needed to get over my slump. They're all quick reads, or listens since I'm doing these on audio, and the general silly tone of them all makes it easy to fall back into. You don't need a ton of concentration either because they're really all just good fun and with my beloved Martin Freeman narrating once again (especially after the finale of Sherlock) it felt like coming home again...if home happens to be anywhere in time and space.

The way the previous story (book #2) had sort of resolved itself hadn't been altogether satisfying to me, so I was glad to see that the plot shifted as soon as Life, the Universe and Everything started. This story also focused more on Arthur Dent which to me is the main character of these stories, so I was happy to have him front and center again.  In a story that revolves around aliens and space travel, the only human seems to be the natural focal point because as a reader, you sort of look to him for some sort of reference point through all these crazy adventures. Now don't get me wrong, I like the alien characters of Ford especially, and Zaphod but they don't seem as naturally compelling to me as Arthur. I'm not going to lie though: knowing that Arthur was played by Martin Freeman in the film and having Martin Freeman narrating makes it even better. I love that man in every single role he takes on ♥

Anyway, as I was saying the plot shifted straight away in Life, the Universe and Everything and saw our heroes set off on a whole new adventure. Yes it was random, silly and less plot-focussed than I think most of us are used to but it was still good fun. There was a bit of a mystery this time around too and a concrete quest but being an avid quest-reading, I just gobbled this instalment up even more! All of the stories in this series have made me laugh out loud multiple times throughout which makes it easier to forgive convenient plot-devices and nonsensical aspects. These books are clearly meant to be fun and imaginative, a feat which they accomplish time and time again - and this instalment is no exception.

Fans of space adventures, humor and people like me, bent on brushing up on their classic sci-fi really should check out The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy! They're quick reads that are sure to make an impression.  I definitely recommend the audiobook version too: Martin Freeman is brilliant!

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Previously...

5 comments:

  1. I should really give this series another try. I only read part of book one (I know!) and it's long overdue for me to come back. I normally love humor with SF so I'm not sure what my problem was the first time around. Anyway great review and this one sounds fun! I do love how imaginative they seem.

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  2. Oh, I need to read these books! I love a good fun read (or listen). You've convinced me. I'm glad you continue to enjoy this series.

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  3. I really must check this series out. That's so cool that Martin Freeman narrates the audiobooks! I really should give audiobooks a try, too; they might be just what I need to actually complete my GR challenge this year. XD

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  4. Yeah, there are a lot of great, fun characters in these books, but to me Arthur Dent is the best protagonist for the series so it's a shame that he is not always the focus. And I second all you say about Martin Freeman as narrator here - brilliant move bringing him on!

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  5. It has been so long since I read these but I remember them being a ton of fun. Glad you are enjoying them!

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