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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Losing grip on reality
Anyone who has read and enjoyed the sublime Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and The Restaurant at the End of the Universe is sure to welcome the third book of the series with open arms. At the same time however, they may quite rightly be concerned as to whether the high standard of the earlier books can be matched by Adams' third effort. If at all possible, 'Life, the...
Published on 17 Jun 2004 by Victoria Craven

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Little Too Different for My Liking
I liked this book, as the comedy was good(like in the other books in the 'trilogy'). However, I felt a bit disorientated. The style is quite different from the previous books. It is altogether more serious, dealing with love, which, when involved with Arthur Dent, is slightly unsettling(especially the scene with the flying; you'll now what I mean when you read it...
Published on 21 Feb 2000

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok, 18 Feb 2009
The book begins really well. Events are funny and unexpected. Somewhere along the way though, it loses it. By the end it has become half the book it was at the start.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flying : How to Throw Yourself at the Ground and Miss, 21 Oct 2006
Written by Douglas Adams, "Life, the Universe and Everything" was first published in 1982 and is the third instalment of his legendary five-part "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" trilogy. It opens around five years after "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe" finished, but follows up on what has happened in the previous books - as a result, it's the wrong place to start !! The series started life as a radio show, before becoming a book, a television series, a play and a bath towel. Douglas Adams was born in Cambridge in 1952 and died in May 2001.

Recent years haven't been kind to Arthur Dent. Having seen his home flattened by bulldozers, he barely escaped with his life when the Earth was demolished by the Vogons - officially to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Arthur was rescued by Ford Prefect, a roving reporter for "The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy". The pair were later picked up by an old school-friend of Fords, Zaphod Beeblebrox - the two-headed, three-armed, renegade ex-President of the Galaxy and owner of the most powerful and unpredictable ship in the universe. Having met Slartibartfast, the man who designed Norway, and eaten at the restaurant at the end of the universe, an unprogrammed teleport sees Arthur and Ford landing on...a prehistoric Earth.

As the book opens, Arthur has been living alone in a cold, damp, smelly cave for five years. Living alone in what would become Islington roughly two million years later, he hasn't had any company since the surviving Golgafrinchans went on holiday about three years previously. Ford, having spent the last three years in prehistoric Africa, is now responsible for the giraffe and returns just in time to save Arthur from madness. He has detected eddies in the space - time continuum, which he suspects may provide the pair with an escape route. His suspicions are proved correct : the pair catch an over-active Chesterfield sofa which carries them forward through time and deposits them at Lords Cricket Ground - just two days before the Vogons are due to demolish Earth. The arrive just in time to see England defeat Australia in a very important cricket match, a spaceship containing robotic 'cricketers' arriving to kill people and steal the Ashes (the 'trophy' being played for) and Slartibartfast trying to stop them. Slartibartfast kindly agrees to give the duo a lift, meaning they won't have to hitch a ride with the Vogons again. However, he seems to expect them to help him save the universe - a task that involves them discovering that cricket is actually derived from Krikket and that robotic cricketers are generally best avoided. Ford, on the other hand, aims to be exceedingly drunk and would rather visit Eccentrica Gallumbits - a very capable lady of negotiable affections.

This is an extremely silly and very easily read book - though it probably does assume a certain awareness of cricket. Hugely enjoyable and definitely recommended - though only after having read the previous two instalments !
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Hitchhiker's trilogy loses some of its focus, 16 Dec 2002
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
Life, the Universe, and Everything is rather different from the preceding two books in the Hitchhiker’s Trilogy. It’s quite funny, particularly in a few rather memorable sections, but it is not consistently funny from beginning to end. Parts of it were so unspectacular that I barely remembered what I had just read, and one aspect of the concluding scenario is still rather incomprehensible to me, a case of deus ex machina I just can’t place in the context of the whole story. All of our favorite characters are back: Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Zaphod Beeblebrox, Trillian, Marvin the woefully depressed android, and even Slartibartfast; unfortunately, they are rarely together, and I sometimes lost track of Zaphod in particular after reading a number of chapters that ignored him entirely. Much of the action is also rather contrived, such as the sudden appearance of a couch on prehistoric earth upon which Arthur and Ford travel forward in time to the last two days of earth’s existence. On several occasions, characters seemed to zap to another place and time by no discernible means. The game of cricket is particularly important here, to the point that I really wish I understood what the sport is all about, but I admit it was a clever plot device to tie the sport to a particularly nasty, universe-threatening planet ten billion years in the past. The planet of Krikkit, you see, set out to destroy the rest of the universe because its people basically just wanted to be left alone. Throughout the novel white Krikkit robots appear out of nowhere to seize special items needed to unlock their planet from the Slo-Time envelope established around it at the end of the Krikkit Wars. This is a bad thing because the people of Krikkit still want nothing more than to destroy the entire universe. In a rather murky way, Arthur Dent is called upon to save the universe, and that is also not a particularly good thing.
There are a few highlights to the story. The subplot involving Agrajag is particularly good. In the course of Arthur Dent’s journeys through space and time, he has been responsible for the deaths of a great number of creatures—insects, flies, at least one rabbit, etc. Quite coincidently, as Arthur tries to argue, every single one of these creatures was Agrajag in his multiple reincarnated forms. Naturally, a body develops a hatred for the brute who keeps killing it time and time again, but Agrajag has gone so far as to build a veritable shrine to the entity he hates most in the cosmos, complete with a gigantic statue of Arthur Dent simultaneously killing him in a great number of his past life forms. I also particularly enjoy Adams’ take on learning to fly; it takes a special knack, one which consists basically of throwing yourself to the ground and missing—the easily distracted Arthur Dent is a natural at it.
Overall, the plot just meanders too much to suit me. Transitions of characters from one time and place to another make very little sense, major characters are abandoned for too long at a time, and the plot is not laid out neatly enough for it all to make sense to me. On the whole, much less seems to happen in this book than often happened over the course of a few chapters in the first two books of the trilogy. This is still an entertaining read, but even the comedy lacks some of the satirical and witty zest that typified Adams’ earlier successes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite a different feel to this one, 14 July 2000
By A Customer
I found the first three books in the "Hitch-hicker" series incredible but this installment felt alltogether smaller, slower and different. Whether this is a good or bad thing i'm not sure, but it did dissapoint. If it wasn't for the last two chapters (God's Final Message and the Epilogue) this would have only gotten 2 stars.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Running on empty, 2 Jun 2005
Jane Aland (England) - See all my reviews
Following a highly productive breakthrough period when he was simultaneously knocking out scripts for both Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Doctor Who, Douglas Adams famously struggled with writer's block during the later half of his career as a novelist. Previous Hitchhiker novel Life, the Universe and Everything was itself a re-worked Doctor Who story, and by the time of 4th Hitchhiker novel So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish you can feel the author struggling to find a story to tell.
If there is a problem with this novel, it's that there simply isn't enough story here. Previous instalments in the Hitchhiker's series may have been short, but they were packed with fantastic mind bending SF concepts, which are almost entirely absent here. The main storyline consists of Arthur Dent returning to a mysteriously no-longer-destroyed Earth, and having a romance with Fenchurch, the girl who in a throwaway line in the original Hitchhiker's novel had a divine revelation on how to achieve world peace just before the Earth was destroyed by the Vogons. Arthur and Fenchurch's romance is touching, especially a chapter where they both fly through the clouds together, but storywise it doesn't really go anywhere - the identity of Earth's saviours is fairly evident from the books title (though incidentally, why is there a picture of a sea lion on the cover - misdirection?), and Fenchurch never remembers her divine plan for world peace.
At the end Adams tags on a coda where Arthur and Fenchurch meet up with Ford Prefect and Marvin (who dies, again) to read God's Last Message To His Creation, following up on the finale of Life, the Universe and Everything, but if anything this feels almost tagged on simply to please the fans of the previous novels. The only ideas that are original to this book, such as the unwilling Rain God, or Wonko's inside-out asylum, are mildly amusing but nothing more.
So Long, and Thanks For All The Fish is by no means a bad novel, and thanks to Adams prose it is engagingly readable, but it is a novel all about character - specifically having a few nice things happen to Arthur Dent for a while- and sorely lacking in plot, so don't expect anything much to actually happen beyond Arthur's romance. A pleasant read for fans of the previous 3 novels in the series, but by this stage Douglas Adams just seems to have run out of ideas, and was grinding a novel out for the sake of it.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor, 11 Aug 2001
I'm sometimes surprised when people find part of a series not as good as the rest. This time, I see it from a different perspective. The best parts of the real "trilogy" were when Arthur Dent was trying to get to terms with the overall differentness of space - the nutri-matic, Improbability Drive, and so on. But this book is merely about Arthur Dent's "exciting" adventures on Planet Earth. The romance with Fenchurch is far too "real" for these books, and has little of the zaniness I expected - more like a cheap romance novel. The only interest is when Arthur leaves the planet to meet space again, and the bits with Ford. I'd recommend it to fans perhaps, if only for the sense of completeness. But read this, then read the original, and see the difference in plot and quality.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where have all the dolphins gone?, 28 Mar 2005
Amanda Richards "Hotpurplekoolaid" (ECD, Guyana) - See all my reviews
This fourth novel in the inexplicably inaccurately named "Hitchhiker's Trilogy" is the easiest to read so far, the funniest, and the most down to earth.
Down to earth, that is, once you discount the flying romance into which our hero Arthur Dent willingly throws himself, completely forgetting to come down. Yes, this is a romance novel - Arthur and Fenchurch flying to the sea, K-I-S-S-I-N-G!
A Zaphod-free zone, Adams introduces hilarious new characters, such as the Rain God and the raffle ticket lady, with guest appearances by Ford Prefect and my favorite Marvin.
Mysterious fish bowls with cryptic inscriptions, disappearing dolphins, an inside-out house (not an inside out-house) and of course, a final message from God himself, round out this hilarious book.
Unfortunately, you won't appreciate it fully without reading the preceding three novels, so get busy - it's well worth your time.
Amanda Richards
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Arthur Dent has a day off, 4 Oct 2009
J. R. Johnson-Rollings (West Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
I'm actually a bit at a loss as to what I think about this one... and indeed what it was meant to be about. The fourth entry in the series is like nothing that has gone before. The first two were the classic random style and the third pretty much a standard novel - this seem to have slipped sideways out of its genre and ended up as a sort of romantic farce.

Of the main characters, only two make a significant appearance, and one of those seemingly for no reason other than to enable a reasonless plot point to occur. Yes, this book does start with Arthur Dent in one place and end with him in a completely different one, but the journey seems to be without purpose and nothing seems to have been achieved.

It does pick up on a few of the asides from previous books, and still contains a few random asides of its own, but the scenes which make up the plot are only loosely connected and don't seem to add to anything.

This is certainly the lowest that the series has come so far, simply because the book is lacking in any sort of real plot.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cricket and bistros – Douglas Adams at his very best, 10 Dec 2003
Darren Simons (Middlesex, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Before reading this review and book, make sure you have read the first two books in the Douglas Adams series of Hitchhiker Guides, without which very little will make much sense.
The third in the Hitchhikers series, this story starts with Arthur Dent finding himself in prehistoric Islington – yes, a cave in what would become Islington. The story finds Arthur and his so-called friend Ford Prefect saving the universe from its imminent destruction from the Krikkit race (with remarkable links to the sport of er.. cricket).
At a push, I would have to say this is my favourite book in the series, primarily because it is so downright ridiculous and yet incredibly entertaining. Any writer who can write a story comprising a cave in Islington, a cricket match being interrupted by a sofa appearing at the crease and a race who worship something that looks very much like a set of cricket stumps must be (a) slightly mad, (b) incredibly clever, (c) very very English.
Aside from coming up with the idea of the Hitchhiker series, I think this book is Douglas Adams at his very best – the notion of bistromathics (eating in a bistro allowing you to travel vast distances) was quite hilarious. One of my favourite aspects of Adams’s writing is his ability to provide the science before his claims, with bistromathics being the best example. I would have to say though that if you’re not a fan of British humour you may struggle to find any amusement in this book at all.
If you’re thinking of buying this book, also check out the ultimate hitchhiker’s guide which contains all the main books from the hitchhiker series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars 42, 3 Jun 2014
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Douglas Adams at his imperial best. I discover something new every time I read it. Peerless and a pure genius.
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Life, the Universe and Everything: 3/5 (Hitchhikers Guide 3)
Life, the Universe and Everything: 3/5 (Hitchhikers Guide 3) by Douglas Adams (Paperback - 1 Sep 2009)
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