Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Review: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams (Part 2)

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Douglas Adams
Series: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #2
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Comedy
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: What!? What!?
On Goodreads (Note, I link to the author's preferred text.)

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe begins almost too innocently. It leaves one waiting for the weirdness to creep in. If I had to describe the book alone in a word, I would have to go with ridiculous.

Our heroes from the first novel fly off to find something to eat, and are sidetracked considerably; this includes incursions across parallel dimensions and an extremely interesting dialogue with the ruler of our universe.

But be warned. If the first book did not resonate well with you, if you could not handle the weird, weird weirdness of it all or the fantastical improbability, then you will not find comfort or solace or anything of the like here. You will only find unparalleled wit, feisty humor, and an enrapturing plot line that defies what plot lines are made off.

However in this novel, Adams's ideals stand out a bit more, because we've become more familiar with his characters and extraordinary ability to surprise us at any given time. For example: "The guide is definitive. Reality is frequently inaccurate." Though obviously the punchline to a joke, we know that the conflicts between different opinions often skew everyone's concept of reality one way or another.
There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened (Adams, epigraph).
How can you argue with the mind-boggling, brain-twisting, face-screwing consequence of this epigraph. Adams's sure knows how to set the bar high. What's amazing about this book especially is that it is somehow even more comedic than the first book, yet it makes you consider and regard and contemplate and bash your head infrequently into a dry wall quite a bit more . . . just so that the secrets of the universe start appearing in your starburst vision.

I suppose it also sets out to teach something the first book did not. Whereas in the first novel, we are shown a reality so very unlike our own and asked simply to see that both worlds are rather similar indeed, this novel presents an imaginative and surprisingly succinct description of social and economic problems along with the questioning of reality (and so much more). All we are asked of is to live our lives in this mad mad world which is just about mad as the one Adams's provides for us, because "life is wasted on the living," and none of us are dead. Hitchiker's is all about understanding that our world is so much more, and by association, we are so much more (even if insignificant on the cosmic scale).

- Marlon

What's your favorite place to eat?
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