Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Review: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams (1980)

Earthman Arthur Dent, his Betelgeusean friend Ford Prefect, ex-galactic president and con man Zaphod Beeblebrox, Zaphod's astrophysicist girlfriend Trillian and Marvin the Paranoid Android are a bit peckish after escaping certain death several times and decide to stop off for a bite to eat.  Unfortunately, there plans are disrupted by an attack by a Vogon fleet, sidetracking to Ursa Major, getting dumped into the Total Perspective Vortex and meeting the ruler of the universe.  They are, in other words, famished by the time they reach the titular eatery.

Then things get weird.

The second volume in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy in five parts, Restaurant is also the last volume to follow the BBC Four radio scripts as a guide.  After this, it's all virgin territory.  While very entertaining, Restaurant, isn't as uproariously funny as the first instalment and the jiggling and cutting from the radio scripts often only serves to show the superiority of the source material.  It also suffers from the fact that Adams clearly intended the series to end here, but Fate and paperback sales said otherwise, so we end up with an ending that isn't really an ending.  That does not, however, keep it from being a really hoopy read.

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