Many books in my book queue are waiting to be read, and a common theme among them is they’re all part of a series, trilogy or saga. Each Sunday, I’ll share a book from a series. You can read along with me, or add the books to your own reading list. This week, I read “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe,” the second in a humorously named “trilogy in five parts” by Douglas Adams.
Zaphod is captured by a Frogstar Fighter ship. Its leaders plan to put him through a torture device called the Total Perspective Vortex, which will allow Zaphod to see how small he is in relation to the rest of the universe. After going through the vortex, Zaphod discovers he is the most important thing in the universe.
He meets up with Trillian, Arthur and Ford again, and they head to Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. The five-star restaurant exists at the very end of time, and those who plan to go can put a penny in a savings account millions of years prior, and the interest compounded over eons will pay for their entire meal.
While at the restaurant, Ford runs into Hotblack Desiato, an old friend who decided to die for a year. Hotblack belonged to the plutonium rock band “Disaster Area,” the “loudest noise of any kind at all.”
Zaphod decides to steal Hotblack’s starship, which was meant to crash into a star as a part of the band’s act. At the very last moment, Ford discovers a teleportation device, which transports Trillian and Zaphod back to the Heart of Gold and Ford and Arthur are transported onto a ship that is about to crash into prehistoric earth.
You have to be into science fiction to really understand and fall in love with these books. So many strange alien creatures and nonsense words are sprinkled throughout the narrative without any explanation whatsoever.
Yet I love it. I truly enjoyed my time reading “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.” It makes me want to spend a day inside Douglas Adams’ head. He pulls fantastical creatures and original concepts out of thin air.
I found myself laughing out loud throughout most of the book because Adams inserted more quippy little jokes into his narrative and changed his train of thought constantly. At the beginning of Chapter 17, for instance, he describes the plutonium rock band, Disaster Area, by saying, “Regular concert goers judge that the best sound balance is usually to be heard from within large concrete bunkers some thirty-seven miles from the stage…” The idea that a rock band is “the loudest noise ever” is completely over-the-top, but the hyperbole works within the novel’s reality.
Another refreshing part about this “trilogy in five parts” is that there’s no romance. There’s a hint of maybe a friendship developing between Arthur and Trillian, but no one really cares about it that much. Trillian is supposed to be Zaphod’s girlfriend, but he doesn’t really pay much attention to her. The character interaction is great. I don’t have to read about the tortured thoughts of some teenager. I just get to read about a misfit team of aliens flopping around haphazardly in time and space. What an adventure!
Next week, I’ll be picking up with “Life, the Universe and Everything.” At the end, Arthur throws his copy of “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” into a river, thinking he’ll never need it again. I’m guessing he will.