Off the Shelf
"Life, the Universe and Everything"
By Marcus Pan
Once again we return to Douglas Adams' zany and weird universe
with the third book of the trilogy (though not the final one as it is a four
book trilogy) called "Life, the Universe and Everything." After spending five
years living in a cave on prehistoric Earth alone, Arthur Dent once again meets
up with Ford Prefect and the duo casually ride a bouncing chesterfield couch
through a time continuum to land smack dab in the center of a cricket game only
days before the impending destruction of Earth by the Vogons. This may be a
little difficult to follow for those uninitiated in time-travel storylines.
Yes, earth was destroyed in the first book, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the
Galaxy." Yes, we find ourselves before the destruction of it in "Life, the
Universe and Everything." But remember in "The Restaurant at the end of the
Universe" (I do wish he'd shorten the titles of his books) Arthur and Ford
crash landed on prehistoric earth roughly two million years before the original
story began. So with that said and understood (or not understood, as it doesn't
effect my finishing this review) we move on.
At the cricket game, as luck would have it and it does
considering it runs rampant throughout the series, the characters climb off the
couch to find Slartibartfast, one of the men who built the Earth for the mice
and actually received an award for his great fjords around the coast of Norway.
He is there to pick up the ashes that is given as an award at cricket games.
Seems a new threat, or actually an old one revisited, known as the Krikkits are
out to destroy the universe. The Krikkit people led a peaceful life on their
planet around which was a dark cloud you could not see through. But when a
crash landed spaceship prompted them to build their own and go through the
cloud to discover that there was a whole universe out there one phrase echoed
back to Krikkit base down on the planet; "It's got to go." So they launched a
campaign to destroy the universe, all of it, and once again be peaceful and
alone. They simply couldn't handle not being all there was.
Eventually after wreaking a good deal of havoc the Krikkits
were caught and sentenced to spend the rest of the Universe's life in a time
envelope to be released after the Universe is gone so that they truly could be
a just decision. But their robot forces still at large began the
campaign of finding the items, scattered throughout the Universe, that were
needed to reconstruct the key that can unlock the time envelope and re-begin
the Krikkit's campaign against everything and anything. All that stood between
them were Zaphod Beeblebrox (who at the beginning of this book was rather
forlorn and upset about discovering he had accomplished all he was to do and
was moping about on his stolen ship, the Heart of Gold), Ford Prefect (who
really didn't care about the destruction of the Universe and only wants to get
drunk), Arthur Dent (who might care a little too much yet still finds himself
confused as all hell), Trillian (who has the answer to solve the Krikkiter's
dilemma and knows who really is behind these wars) and Slartibartfast (who now
mans a ship considered the next advance in space travel utilizing the theories
of Bistro Mathematics). They're too late to stop the envelope from being
But Trillian knows more than the rest and properly deduces
who is behind the whole mess in the first place; the manipulative computer
Hactar, destroyed millennia ago previous by the last race to consult him. This
sets the Krikkiters off of the domination quest and instead a wonderful round
of sporting events ensues.
One of the best of the lot, "Life, the Universe and
Everything" was a spectacular read. Moving quickly and fluidly like the other
books in this series, "Life" has the added bonus of having one main plot of the
Krikkits and their bid for universal destruction. This makes it easier to read
without getting lost in the jumble of unfinished and simultaneous plots rampant
in the first two books.
"Life, the Universe and Everything" by Douglas
Originally published by Harmony Books © 1982 by Douglas Adams
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