Life, The Universe and Everything
In consequence of a number of stunning catastrophes, Arthur Dent is surprised to find himself living in a hideously miserable cave on prehistoric Earth. And just when he thinks things cannot possibly get any worse, they do. He discovers that not only is the Galaxy mind-bogglingly big and bewildering, but also that most of the things that happen in it are staggeringly unfair.
Reviewed on 29th September 2009
The third and (presumably) originally final book in the H2G2 trilogy has a shift in style from the previous two instalments. Whereas before the novels seemed to be a loosely connected sequence of scenes containing the same characters, this one has an overarching plot that runs through the entire novel.
This novel has a much more constructed feel to it, rather than the bodged together feel of its predecessors - probably because it was created as a novel rather than a radio series. This actually has lead to a much better novel as there's an interest in where it's going, rather than just being along for a rollercoaster ride. I really love that Adams has continued inserting random asides (although sadly not so many towards the end of the novel where things get more serious) and that some of them, while seemingly innocuous at the time, turn out to have major repercussions later on.
I don't think there's anything that I can really criticise in this book - Adams has certainly improved on his resolutions to perilous situations as none of them seem forced. In an improvement over many writers whose novels I've commented on here Adams manages to plant the seeds of his resolutions earlier in the novel without them sticking out like sore thumbs. Again though his characters are fairly flat and only Arthur seems to get a significant amount of time spent on him. Admittedly he is the main character but none of the others seem to be more than one personality trait. In some places I got the impression that Adams' entire inspiration for the novel had been from odd things that interested him, such as the theory of space-time based on Italian restaurants and some very odd plot points around Cricket - but this doesn't detract, instead adding to the wacky nature of the H2G2 universe.
Overall I actually think this is the best novel so far in the series, although the first is still the best book.