- The Good: Scifi, humor, all-around madness
- The Bad: You might discover the key to the learning how to fly, but may not be able to keep the birds’ conversation out
- The Literary: Epitome of its genre
For years, since the end of the events in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Arthur Dent has lived on a pre-historic Earth in a little cave, until one day his old friend Fort Prefect shows up, and they both fall into a space-time eddy which happens to look like a paisley sofa floating a few feet above the ground. They materialize in the middle of Lord’s Cricket Ground, but shortly after a squad of robots land in a spaceship, attack the crowd, and steal the Ashes, a sort of trophy containing the ashes of a cricket bail. Hot on the robots’ trails, Slartibartfast arrives in the Starship Bistromath and requests Arthur and Ford’s help.
Turns out those sleek white robots belong to the planet Krikkit, the inhabitants of which want to destroy the entire universe after having discovered the existence of worlds beside their own when a spaceship crashed on their planet. They built a fleet of ships and robots to wage war on the rest of the universe in what became known as the Krikkit Wars.
Life, the Universe, and Everything is the first book in the series to feel like a novel, with a solid beginning and ending, an antagonist and an arc, albeit with many tangents in between. That’s because the first two books were written as a radio series, whereas this one was a novel from the start. Also, lucky for us, the idea of Krikkit and its people was rejected by the BBC as a film plot for the Doctor Who series, so were put into this story.
You might notice the coincidence between the sport of cricket, the planet Krikkit, the Wikkit Gate, which happens to look exactly like a wicket used in the sport, as well as the ball and the ashes. It’s a running joke that you probably won’t fully understand unless you’re British or Australian. I do enjoy that the missing McGuffins have been with our characters all along. Sure, it’s small-worldy, but highly improbably so.
You won’t be disappointed with the absurdist scenes that you’ve come to know and love from this series:
- Arthur also learns he is the persistent murderer of a creature called Agrajag—reincarnation after reincarnation—who’s bent on killing Arthur in revenge.
- The supercomputer Hactar who despite being pulverized into a dust cloud around Krikket, can still do some pretty advanced computations.
- Marvin gets a new leg and then loses it again
- A juror named Prak is given too much truth serum and proceeds to tell everyone around him all truths of the universe until they shut him up inside the courtroom.
Highly recommended for any ape-descended life form that still thinks digital watches are a pretty neat idea!