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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2012
Living apart from Ford, Arthur ekes out a living in a cave with his bathrobe and rabbit-skin bag. Randomly insulted by Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged and later running into Ford Prefect, Arthur and his hitchhiking friend hop upon a sofa which materializes from the eddies in the space-time continuum which dumps them onto the Lord's cricket pitch two days prior to Earth's destruction. Ford employs his knowledge to the Somebody Else's Problem field to gather that Slatibartfast has hidden his craft, the Starship Bistromath, in plain view. Once together, the three witness Krikkit robots descend to murder the people on the ground and fly off with a wooden wicket of the Ashes.

The Starship Bistro harnesses "all the ship's computation... done on a waiter's bill pad" (41) which is just at erratic at the Infinite Improbability Drive. Meanwhile, Marvin pivots around himself in the mud on the mattress-inhabited planet Squornshellous Zeta. Having his leg stolen for the use as a Key in the Wikkit Gate by a hoard of robots, the thieving robots further collect random bits of seeming rubbish so that they can unlock their planet of Krikkit in statis, something which Slartibartfast, Ford, and Arthur are trying to hinder.

The Krikkit race, as xenophobic and wantonly destructive (but also "whimsical... ordinary people... charming, delightful, intelligent" [73]) as they come, had been sealed off from the rest of the universe when they had discovered that their normally blank, dull, drab, dreary, matte sky actually held other lifeforms, which they deducted from a crashed spacecraft and the construction of their own craft within one year. Having spewed death across near space, their isolation was eventually their punishment... except for that one craft and its horde of robots.

Inexplicably, Arthur is materialized to a spacious cave which houses a 50-fooot statue of his self and one angry, angry ugly alien who posits that Arthur had killed his reincarnated being many, many times over; once a fly, Arthur killed him; once a rabbit, Arthur killed him; once a newt, Arthur killed him... and so on. Even more inexplicably, he soon found himself with the ability to fly and finds atop a mountain "a small navy-blue holdall that he knew for a fact he had lost in a baggage-retrieval system at Athens airport some ten years in his personal time-scale" (102). Oh, one hell of a party also shows up, a party which had been going on for four generations before being crashed by Slartibartfast, Arthur, and his boozer friend Ford.

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I wonder if this story made any sense to anyone. It felt like one disconnected scene, mildly amusing at maximum, after another disconnected scene. Stringing together random silly subplots doesn't make the greater plot more cohesive. From witty (Hitchhiker's Guide) to absurd (The Restaurant) and now at random--I suppose the "everything" in the title of the book applies to the "everything" which poured forth from the mind of Douglas Adams. Trillian, seemingly forgotten for two whole books, makes a late yet awkward appearance to simmer things down. I kept rhetorically asking myself, "What, what, what did I miss?"
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 18, 2010
I know, it's cool among nerds to love the first book of the "trilogy," like the next two, and dislike the final two, so I tried to like this book out of spite, but it's just not very good. The real strengths of the first three books come from a unique madcap zaniness, with snide comments about the state of the universe and exotic characters making brief and memorable appearances. This book carries a few characters over from the earlier works, but almost everything else is a change for the worse.

The tone, aside from the love story, is darker, with unidentified characters slinking around spaceships or creeping through the rain or going mad on a beach to build suspense before Adams tells the reader a little about who everyone is and how they fit together. The basic idea of a rain god who has no idea why clouds joyfully rain on him every second of his life? Funny, with plenty of potential. Adams doesn't really take it anywhere, though, as the guy grumbles and complains in a few chapters and then becomes a media sensation in a way that neither entertains nor advances a plot. And there is entirely too much flying around and having sex in clouds and actively snubbing the laws of physics for the gritty tale Adams tries to present. All of those fantasy elements would have been fine in the earlier funnier books (in fact, Arthur flying in the third book was fine - never great, but fine), but in this one, they're jarring and invite unwelcome comparisons.

I still plan to read the fifth book to build some nerd street cred, but I no longer look forward to the series the way I did for the first three books. I know, a reader who falls under the spell of the spectacular first two books and the very good third book will not listen to any advice not to finish out the trilogy, but I must offer some anyway. This fourth book is not worth the time.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2009
So far I have read the first 4 books, and they have many many problems with words missing, wrong, bad formatting, etc. It looks like they scanned the documents in with some character recognition software and then didn't proofread it (or even run a spell-check). I would like to know if I can get a free update if/when the publisher releases a corrected copy? First-time readers will be very disappointed. I know the books well enough that I (almost) always knew what the words were supposed to be, which is why I gave it 2 stars instead of just 1.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2000
The brilliant trilogy "Hitchhiker's Guide", "Restaurant" and "Life, the Universe" constituted an act which was nearly impossible to follow. With this weak effort, Douglas Adams proves that he cannot follow it. Only occasionally mildly amusing. Its successor, "So long, and thanks for all the fish" is worse. My advice is, don't risk major disappointment, stick to the real trilogy and end with the celestial high note of "Life, the Universe, and Everything".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I was disappointed with this book, and really don't understand all the hype over it. Out of the first four books of the "trilogy in five parts" (I haven't read the last one yet), this one is by far the least engaging. As short as it is, it took me three days to read it because I found it difficult to absorb. There is a mere skeleton of a plot line, which might have taken all of five pages to tell if not for all of the meandering and weaving around the story line. Much of what happens throughout the story has little to do with what the characters set out to accomplish. I know that this is characteristic of the Hitchhiker series, but at least in the other books, the meandering and going off on tangents leads to a funny occurrence, or is at least humorous in itself. I didn't get anything like that out of this book. While there are a few funny lines in it, it hardly stands out in my mind as a good read.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2009
So far I have read the first 4 books, and they have many many problems with words missing, wrong, bad formatting, etc. It looks like they scanned the documents in with some character recognition software and then didn't proofread it (or even run a spell-check). I would like to know if I can get a free update if/when the publisher releases a corrected copy? First-time readers will be very disappointed. I know the books well enough that I (almost) always knew what the words were supposed to be, which is why I gave it 2 stars instead of just 1.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 1998
Hitchhiker fans may be disappointed by this book. It's more of an account of Arthur's life rather than involving all of the characters, and I don't think I ever laughed in reading it...though there are some interesting conclusions to things that happened in the earlier books. The ending was also disappointing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 15, 2010
I've slowly been working my way through the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series over this past school year. Science-fiction is not a genre I typically like, but this series seems to be written for readers like me. It focuses more on humor and ridiculousness than it does on the fantastic nature of futuristic events. The main story of the stolen Heart of Gold ship and Arthur Dent's reluctant traveling through time and space is not nearly as interesting and enjoyable as Adams's small side notes and descriptions. In this book, the pieces are weightier than the whole.

Here are a few tidbits:
"He just won an award at the Annual Ursa Minor Alpha Recreational Illusions Institute Awards ceremony [for]..the Most Gratuitous Use of the Word `Belgium' in a Serious Screenplay. It's very prestigious."
"...pausing at a bar on the way back for a quick glass of perspective and soda."
"It's all right," she said in a voice that would have calmed the Big Bang down.

Life, the Universe, and Everything was a quick read and a good distraction, but I was impatient for its end. I'm sure I'll finish the series, but it may be a little while before I get to it. I know that these books are beloved by many, and I want to understand why. If you have an answer, please let me know.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2014
It's not up to the standard of his first three. Many key explanations are missing such as how the Earth came back into existence or why the dolphins disappeared. Some parts of the narrative are disconnected and quite pointless such as the truck driver always rained upon or Ford Prefect mucking about in a spaceship. Events sprout without rationale such as the spaceship making a show of itself towards the end of the book. It's quite a boring love story although the joke about God's Last Message to Man was a fine one. The foreword by Neil Gaiman gives some idea why this book is a bit wanting. Douglas Adams was paid a large advance to write it but, as the publishing date got closer and the book no closer to being written, his publisher Sonny Mehta, took a hotel suite and essentially locked Douglas in it to write it, editing the pages as they came through. Certainly not the most inspiring way to write any stuff.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2009
It almost seems like someone translated the entire book into German using Babelfish (the translation program, not the fish) and back into English. Some words are unreadable and make it hard to understand what is being said. The parts that can be read are quite ammusing, but this was very poorly done.
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