Book Review – The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the GalaxyThe Restaurant at the End of the Universe is the second part of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe by Douglas Adams.  This version is from A Trilogy in Four Parts omnibus edition. It continues right where the first part left off, and it appears this is just one long continuous story. It’s a quick read, as it didn’t take me long to finish. As a comedy, it can’t be taken seriously.  It is pretty humourous.

The characters are mostly the same as before.  There are some new and some recurring characters, but the core remains the same.  Zaphod Beeblebrox is as crazy as ever, seeming like the star, rather than the main character Arthur Dent.  Arthur’s character is often serious and humourless, so doesn’t really stand out.  Ford Prefect continues as usual, and I would say he’s my favourite character at this point. He always finds something interesting in every situation.  Marvin the Android is very depressed, and didn’t care if he were destroyed.  He’s there for more comedy, of course.  Trillian actually seems pretty normal.  All around, a good cast with some surprising chemistry.

The story, originally a radio show, continues in this part with the search for someone important (I won’t say who). It leads to many different places, and as the title suggests, they go to the restaurant at the end of the universe, giving this part of the story a good dose of time travel. I found that there were a lot of coincidences, mostly concerning locations.  One of these coincidences involves the end of the story which may surprise some, but I guessed correctly what it was.  Ford is at his best in this segment.  It has me interested in seeing what happens next.  There’s a lot of time travel in part 2, but it’s handled well with a lot of humour.  I wouldn’t worry so much about time paradoxes, though.  You can’t take it seriously at all. I felt the story was stronger in this part.

While it’s funny, I don’t think it’s laugh out loud funny.  I felt like the story was crazier than the first part, but also better.  I really enjoyed it, especially the description of the restaurant.  When I saw the title, I was thinking the end of the universe was a location, which makes no sense.  It is a time, of course.  That makes much more sense.

I think this was a great installment.  I would highly recommend it to any science fiction fans who enjoy a good amount of humour. It is more complex than I expected, but it’s an easy read.  I enjoyed it better than the first part.  I’d have to give it a 4 1/2 stars.  Very enjoyable!

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