Thursday, April 5, 2018

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Douglas Adams
I can say, far and away, as much as I enjoyed the first in this series, the second one is really the better book. I can also say, based on my limited experience with the series so far, that you will enjoy these books all the more if you read them right after one another. Because, really, as much as they are individual books, they really aren't the "proper" sort of books one might be used to reading and they just kind of bleed into and fall on top of one another as they go along. There's little distinction between the end of one and the beginning of the next. Which is, honestly, what makes this a better book than the first one.

Book one takes its time setting everything up and had a rushed "plot" near the back while teasing a much better, bigger plot, in one of the middle chapters. It also did little to really set up any characters. I learned quickly that these books are not enjoyable because of either of these conventional aspects but because of the ideas that they're chock full (and may I say, Terry Jones foreword in this edition said everything I had been thinking). Still, it would have been hard for me to continue the books if I didn't form some sort of emotional connection with the characters at some point, or enjoyed the plot to some degree. This book took care of all that and, additionally, kept introducing new ideas. It was as fun of a ride as book one and also had twice as much content that invested me as a reader.

To stay away from spoilers I'll remain vague about what happens, but the ending was a true delight. For a number of reasons, really, but also because it felt like going back to the roots of book one by returning some focus to Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect and their adventures together. It helped develop their relationship as friends, which I feel like we never really got to see so clearly on the page before. On the flip side I also enjoyed the journey Zaphod and Trillian's adventure took them on and the revelations they made (seriously, one of the most positive revelations in the novel). I do hope to see them both in the series again, though I have a feeling I may not.

There's little to be said without spoiling the joy of these books so just go pick them up and read them yourself. They're quick to get through and very rewarding.
TL;DR I enjoyed this one far and away more than the first, likely because of the ending(s) and character developments.
Following the smash-hit sci-fi comedy The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe is the second part in Douglas Adams' multi-media phenomenon and cult classic series.
If you've done six impossible things this morning, why not round it off with breakfast at Milliways, the Restaurant at the end of the Universe?
Which is exactly what the crew of the Heart of Gold plan to do. There's just the small matter of escaping the Vogons, avoiding being taken to the most totally evil world in the Galaxy and teaching a space ship how to make a proper cup of tea.
And did anyone actually make a reservation?
Douglas Noël Adams was an English author, comic radio dramatist, and musician. He is best known as the author of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. Hitchhiker's began on radio, and developed into a "trilogy" of five books (which sold more than fifteen million copies during his lifetime) as well as a television series, a comic book series, a computer game, and a feature film that was completed after Adams' death. The series has also been adapted for live theatre using various scripts; the earliest such productions used material newly written by Adams. He was known to some fans as Bop Ad (after his illegible signature), or by his initials "DNA".
In addition to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams wrote or co-wrote three stories of the science fiction television series Doctor Who and served as Script Editor during the seventeenth season. His other written works include the Dirk Gently novels, and he co-wrote two Liff books and Last Chance to See, itself based on a radio series. Adams also originated the idea for the computer game Starship Titanic, which was produced by a company that Adams co-founded, and adapted into a novel by Terry Jones. A posthumous collection of essays and other material, including an incomplete novel, was published as The Salmon of Doubt in 2002.
His fans and friends also knew Adams as an environmental activist and a lover of fast cars, cameras, the Macintosh computer, and other "techno gizmos".

Toward the end of his life he was a sought-after lecturer on topics including technology and the environment.


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