Book Review – Life, the Universe and Everything

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the GalaxyLife, the Universe and Everything is the third novel in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams.  It’s a continuation of the previous book, but it’s also a self-contained story.  I read this in the Trilogy in Four Parts omnibus.

We start off with Arthur Dent alone in his cave trying to consider whether he should go mad or not when Ford Prefect shows up after quite a long time.  We follow this pair for a while until they meet Slartibartfast and they go on an adventure to stop the people of Krikkit from destroying all life.  The story mainly follows this trio, though they do manage to meet up with Zaphod, Trillian, and Marvin eventually.  It’s a short story, but it does have quite a variety. Much of it felt very random with little direction.  But it all had a purpose, and in the end, it all seemed to match up.  Not that the story is over, not by a long shot.  There’s still another part after this.

The characters are the same as before, though with a focus on Arthur and Ford, we get to see their dynamics quite a bit.  The return of Slartibartfast was refreshing, though I didn’t quite feel he seemed like a wise old man.  Zaphod was his usual self, though much less prominent in this part of the series.  Trillian was quite brilliant, I thought.  Always level-headed, except that she was almost seduced by a god.  Marvin had only a couple brief appearances, but his leg was a very important part of the story.  Arthur and Ford carried this whole story, basically, though Trillian was a major contributor at the end.  They continued to be quite amusing.

The story took place in several places, though mostly going from planet to planet in Slartibartfast’s ship, the Bistromath.  They did have stops on Earth, Krikkit, and a couple planets that are quite difficult to pronounce.  Adams has quite the way of describing scenes, focusing on some absurd elements, as well as creating new words that he sometimes doesn’t even define.  But don’t worry, you don’t need to know what they mean.

You know, at first, I wasn’t really sure where this story was going.  It was incredibly random, or so it seemed.  Remarkably, I didn’t feel very enthusiastic about reading it, but as it progressed, I realised that everything was connected.  Some of it was quite brilliant, I thought.  I just kept getting better, and the ridiculous situations made me wonder what was going to happen next.  It was certainly entertaining.

Overall, this was a solid entry in the series, and I recommend it to anyone who has read the first two parts.  It’s a quick read.  I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Encyclopedia Entry #1 – Aurora

Welcome to the inaugural Encyclopedia Entry, where I will give you some brief, but interesting facts about various topics.  In this week’s entry, I talk about something that’s been in the news, and should be peaking in a few hours, aurora.

Aurora over Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station
Aurora over Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station

Aurorae are light emissions in the atmosphere caused by oxygen and nitrogen gaining an electron or going from an excited state to ground state.  These atoms are hit by energized particles from the sun that enter the atmosphere and are directed to the polar regions by the Earth’s magnetic field.

5 Interesting Facts

1.  Aurorae come in a variety of colours.  Usually they’re green, but they can also be red or blue.  Green aurorae are caused by oxygen atoms returning to ground state.  Red can also be caused by the same mechanism, but with a different energy level.  Blue is caused by nitrogen atoms regaining an electron after being ionized, while red is caused by nitrogen returning to ground state. For more, see here.

2.  Aurora borealis is visible in the northern hemisphere.  Aurora australis is visible in the southern hemisphere.

3.  Aurorae may cause sounds, but this is rare.  It has been observed by researchers. For more information, check this out.

4.  Aurorae are very strong and bright on Jupiter and Saturn, and have also been observed by telescope on Uranus and Neptune.  Venus and Mars also have aurorae, but are very diffuse due to the lack of a significant magnetic field.  Also, Io, Europa, and Ganymede have been observed to have aurorae. See here.

5. Aurorae are at their most frequent and strongest during the sun’s sunspot peak and the following 3 years.  The last peak was May 2013, so we are currently in an active period.

For more information, check out the Wikipedia article.

Calling for Guest Posts

Guest posts are a great way to get to know other blogs.  And it’s a great way for bloggers and their readers to interact more.  So, I am calling for some bloggers to be my guest on this blog.

It’s pretty simple.  You can contact me via the comments expressing your desire to make a guest post.  The topic is books or writing.  You have a lot of freedom about what to write, but there are some things I prefer not to have:  reviews (I do those on this blog) and anything about erotica or of a sexual nature.  Once you’ve left your comment, I’ll email you (please leave your email in the email field for the comments, I do not share them), and you can write the post.  Email me the post, and I’ll have it up soon.

Although I focus on fantasy and science fiction with a bit of Shakespeare thrown in, you can focus on any genre you’d like, or you can write about writing, or about some other aspect of blogging, writing, reading, books, and so on.

Also, I will likely contact some bloggers I’m interested in seeing guest post.  I hope to have some fun with this.  Thanks!