Life, 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.