Sunday, 24 February 2013

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish [Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy #4] - Douglas Adams


Including everything you wanted to know about the first three books but never thought to ask. "He lost all faith in the straightforward operation of cause and effect the day he got up intending to catch up with some reading and ended up on a prehistoric earth with a man from Betelgeuse and a spaceship-load of alien telephone sanitisers....". Left at the end of Life, The Universe And Everything with the address for God's Final Message To His Creation, Arthur Dent let this crucial information slip his mind. He tries everything to jog his memorymeditation, mind-reading, hitting himself about the head with blunt objects. But none of it works. Of course, as everyone knows, the answer lies in making life flash before your eyes...
Obsession is usually not a good sign, even in my book and reading three books in a row by the same author, in the same series coupled with dreaming about traveling through space with a two headed man rather than a two hearted man, in an old, new, blue, bigger on the inside box is rather worrying.  Especially when the chronicler decides to name this adventure ‘’So Long and Thanks for all the Fish’’.
By now I have grown to seriously love Douglas Adams and I was prepared to read whatever crazy adventure he had next therefore when he started with a recap like fashion in which pretty much all the other installments of this book I was not surprised, at least no immediately. However Mr Adams is or rather was indeed a very good at stirring your expectation so wildly out of action that you were unable to trust your own judgment.

This story is about that girl who realised how to make the world happier without anyone getting nailed to a tree unlike two thousand years ago. In fact this girl, who is called Fenchurch because she was conceived in the ticket queue in Fenchurch street station was supposed to have been destroyed by the Vogon ship just as she was supposed to tell the world how to be happy or rather  in this version is supposed to be a mad floating woman who figured out that she had lost whatever idea had hit her when the illusion of the Vogon ship had landed on Earth therefore the whole story starts in a terrible mass of confusion in which the Earth was never destroyed and Arthur had only been missing for about six months. 

Confused? Good it gets even better or worse depending on who you are.
Now before I delve into the usual appreciation I must take a breather to explain something that has been bothering me for a whole, although bother might be a bit of a strong word. I am not sure if it is because it was very painful obvious or because I have a very filthy mind is up to your own discretion but I wondered in the eight years Arthur Dent was tossed from one space port to another, not to mention get stuck in prehistoric Earth for five years, whether he had managed to get laid. Perhaps this was not such a very foreign thought as Douglas Adams clearly addressed the audience in saying that it is none of our business.  

When Fenchurch entered the scene it became even more obvious that Arthur Dent had probably remained celibate for the entirety of the journey which explained the way he… reacted towards the girl.  When time came for Arthur to finally get laid it was of course in the extravagant Adams fashion, flying on the wings of a boeing 747.  A whole new meaning to mile high club, I would think.
Now I am a fan of this pairing, I know most people would say that he should have gotten off with Trillion but somewhere in the past three books I realised that Arthur and Trillion, while they probably made a fairly decent match would not compare to the match made by Trillion and Zaphod, an idea that surprised even me in its painful reality.

This book is drastically different from it's predecessors in the sense that almost the entire book takes place on Earth and there are less mad dashes to and from spaceships but at the same time Adams did what was truly needed of Arthur, he gave him a back bone and even more importantly, he gave him a love story. something that was sorely missing from his life.

After Arthur had got his rocks off while flying it seems about time to add in odd details about the Dolphins disappearing and meeting a man who was crazier than… well in this book he was just probably just about sane. After several unconnected events where they all end up on a planet I can’t name to see God’s last message to his creation. A very useful message it maybe but again Adams refused to explain why and how the earth was still in one piece, except for several mentions that this might not be the ‘’same Earth’’. 

Helpful Adams. Really Helpful.

So naturally I bloody loved it and feel no guilt in giving it 4 out of 5 stars. 

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Life, the Universe and Everything [Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy #3] - Douglas Adams


The unhappy inhabitants of planet Krikkit are sick of looking at the night sky above their heads--so they plan to destroy it. The universe, that is. Now only five individuals stand between the white killer robots of Krikkit and their goal of total annihilation.
They are Arthur Dent, a mild-mannered space and time traveller, who tries to learn how to fly by throwing himself at the ground and missing; Ford Prefect, his best friend, who decides to go insane to see if he likes it; Slartibartfast, the indomitable vicepresident of the Campaign for Real Time, who travels in a ship powered by irrational behaviour; Zaphod Beeblebrox, the two-headed, three-armed ex-head honcho of the Universe; and Trillian, the sexy space cadet who is torn between a persistent Thunder God and a very depressed Beeblebrox.

How will it all end? Will it end? Only this stalwart crew knows as they try to avert "universal" Armageddon and save life as we know it--and don't know it!

There is something deeply contradicting about this book. First it made more chronological sense, there was a clear antagonist and an aim to the plot rather than having the characters wonder aimlessly through the galaxy which I am sure is a worthwhile venture. The contradiction emerged when you realise that the fact that there is an aim to the plot does not help the book make any real sense. In fact this book has people throwing themselves at the ground and missing, in other words flying as if by magic and meeting gods in random parties, seriously Thor is in this one.  

To be honest I am not sure about the random moments of Magic which is a statement I thought I would never have to make but part of me believes that the Galaxy as created by Adams is fantastic enough without magical involvements, not that I would say that if I ever met Thor in a party.

In this book the four who have been split apart more and more throughout this installment have to save the galaxy, a slightly typical aim for any hero of a story with added exaggeration from Mr Adams of course which really does make all the deference.  The gang have to save the galaxy from some ‘’charming, delightful, intelligent, whimsical, manic xenophobes’’ who have been sealed in a time envelop for obvious reasons whose robots are out to open the said envelop to release their master and with it the total destruction of the galaxy.

As I have mentioned before the characters have been split up a lot in this book. At the start of the story Arthur and Ford are stuck in prehistoric Earth while Trillian and Zaphod are somewhere in space suffering through Zaphod’s lack of aim in life. While this created some interesting moments in which Arthur made intelligent comments and acted more like his own man rather than a dumb struck Neanderthal from Essex however the group dynamic did suffer over this. There was no fun over Arthur’s or Marvin’s expense, at least not enough to satisfy me. However it should be mentioned that I devoured this book in less than a day therefore I must have enjoyed it immensely.

I give this book 4 out of 5 cupcakes.