Off the Shelf

"Life, the Universe and Everything"

By Marcus Pan

Life, the Universe and EverythingOnce 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 alone…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 opened.

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 Adams
Originally published by Harmony Books © 1982 by Douglas Adams
ISBN# 0-671-60107-5

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