Review: Life, the Universe, and Everything

Review: Life, the Universe, and EverythingLife, the Universe, and Everything by Douglas Adams
Series: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy #3
Published by Wings Books on January 17, 1996
Genres: Humor, Science Fiction
Pages: 160
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

One of the strangest events in the history of life, the universe and everything occurred here on Earth shortly before it got demolished ...

For two books, humankind has been unaware of a not inconsequential snippet of information. The most careful consultation of The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy and The Restaurant at the End of the Universehave left millions unaware of why Earth has always been shunned by the rest of the galaxy.

Now all - and more - can be revealed ...

Douglas Adams is an example of someone who achieved something so wholly awesome with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that its really hard for anything he does afterward to be quite as good. The second book was not too bad, but I must pronounce myself quite disappointed in the third installment. While it still had some of the characteristic humor, which makes Douglas Adams so fabulous, the really good jokes were a bit further and farther between.

The plot, such as there was, seemed incredibly slapdash and weak. And often didn’t make sense, even unto itself. I kept having to force myself not to skim read, as many of the sections were so boredom-inducing as to make this tempting. How sad is that? Many of the chapters seemed not to connect to the main plot at all. The last chapter especially.

Nevertheless, this book does have a really great line, one that I stumbled across years ago in my search for wonderful quotes: “He hoped and prayed that there wasn’t an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn’t an afterlife.” That quote is made of so much win. Also delightful are a couple of recurring gags, like Arthur’s mysteriously misappearing and reappearing bags. Or his unintentional repeated murders of one reincarnated soul. Or his courageous defeat of Thor. Seriously, the god Thor. Way to go, Arthur.

6 responses to “Review: Life, the Universe, and Everything”

  1. Christina Kit. says:

    I haven’t read anything by Adams because I’m not such a huge sci-fi fan – too bad you didn’t like this one:(

  2. I had the hitchiker’s ‘trilogy in five parts’ book bought for me for my birthday about 14 years ago and I still haven’t finished it!
    I think the problem is like you were saying – it starts to get a bit boring in places. I’m nit sure which book it’s from but my favourite gag is this one:
    Gods final message to his creation, in 50 foot high, flaming letters – ‘Sorry for the Inconvenience’
    Love it!

    • Christina says:

      I have that same edition, I think. I’m trying to get through it, but it’s been going pretty steadily downhill. 🙁

      I do like that gag!

  3. Dovile says:

    I’ve read only Hitchhiker’s Guide, and I didn’t like it much. Maybe I didn’t get the humor, but it wasn’t funny to me. It seems from your review that Life and Everything is similar.

    • Christina says:

      Well, I actually loved Hitchhiker’s Guide. That type of humor definitely appeals to me, but I don’t think Adams was able to sustain it through the series.

      No judgment though because there are so many things other people think are hilarious that just don’t tickle my funny bone. Ex. Family Guy, South Park.

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