Life, the Universe and Everything (1982) by Douglas Adams

I just read this on Wikipedia and was very surprised:

“The story was originally outlined by Adams as Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen to be a Tom Baker Doctor Who television six-part story, but was rejected by the BBC.”

[*If you haven’t read any of the Hitchhiker’s books before, there are mild spoilers for the first two books in the series. Proceed with caution, but most of all DON’T PANIC!]

Life, the Universe and Everything opens with Arthur Dent being rescued from pre-historic Earth by his old friend Ford Prefect. This feat involves a sofa that acts as a space-time portal which drops them onto Lord’s Cricket Ground in the middle of an Ashes cricket match between England and Australia. Coincidentally, it happens to be exactly two days before the Earth is destroyed by the Vogons, an unforgettable act which opens the first book in the Hitchhiker’s series. Have I lost you yet? I’m half lost just reading back what I wrote.

Arthur’s delight at being back on present-day Earth is quickly interrupted by the arrival of a spaceship full of deadly robots. After attacking the cricket crowd, the robots steal the Ashes and leave. This is how the book begins.

Douglas Adams‘ third book in the famous “trilogy of five books” is completely bonkers. Thankfully, it’s bonkers in a good way. I recently reviewed The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and wondered if the series “worked” for readers outside of “jolly old England.” I was reassured to discover that it does. The humour, again, feels very “English,” probably more so in this book with all its references to Krikkit or cricket. You know, that bat-and-ball game that nobody outside of the “Commonwealth” understands. Wait, am I allowed to say “Commonwealth” anymore? Too late.

If you are a fan of the first two Hitchhiker’s books, then I’m pretty sure you will enjoy Life, the Universe and Everything as well. I had a great time reading it, but I have to admit that this book almost stretches things a bit too far with certain “abilities” Arthur Dent later discovers he has. At least it’s inventive, and you get the impression that Douglas Adams was having a good time writing it. Despite his–ahem–trouble with deadlines:

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”

Douglas Adams

So, a definite recommendation from me with the caveat that you probably need to be a fan of Douglas Adams’ very English sense of humour. If you liked the first two books, I’m pretty confident you will enjoy this one, too.

My Hitchhiker’s Book Reviews:

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Thanks so much for reading!

-Wakizashi, *actually feeling a bit nostalgic for Sunday afternoon cricket on BBC2.*


4 thoughts on “Life, the Universe and Everything (1982) by Douglas Adams

  1. Yeah, I remember each book getting successively sillier and more out there. Which worked great for me when I was in my early 20’s. I’ve been scared to try again though. But your reviews are giving me hope that maybe I’ll still like them?

    so many books and there are so many I want to read again too.

    And I just looked. It was 2009 when I re-read them and I only gave the whole collection 3stars. Man, now I am really torn….

    Was this your first time or is this is re-read for you?

    Liked by 1 person

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