After discovering that I had not, in fact, read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy I rectified that this year, and giving the audiobook version a spin I was excited. The story I was familiar with came alive and Stephen Fry was simply delightful as the narrator. I was so enthralled that I immediately downloaded the second book in the series The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, from Audible without thinking much about it.
After finishing Pronto I decided to revisit the satirical world of Douglas Adams and set out to listen to another leg of the journey with Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ford Prefect, Trillian, Marvin, and Arthur Dent. But this time I was left underwhelmed. It’s been several days since I finished listening to the book and other than an idea that there really wasn’t much narrative structure left under all the satirical whirligigs and tricks I don’t really know why I didn’t fall for this one the way I did for the first.
The plot is simple – immediately following the events of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy we pick up with a hungry crew aboard their ship fighting with the improbability drive to get to the restaurant at the end of the universe. Except Vogons are attacking, Zaphod’s great-grandfather’s ghost gets called in for a consultation, and our motley crew gets separated from each other, brought back together again, only to be separated once more. They eventually get to the restaurant, and find the person actually running the universe, but it all felt rather – flat.
It’s not that the book is without humor, it has that. It just felt like a set of episodes that weren’t really tied together. Zaphod off with Zarniwoop and Ford and Arthur crashing down onto Earth several million years ago never really felt like they belonged in the same book. Also, this feels like heresy, but I didn’t like Martin Freeman’s voice for Zaphod. I know how Mr. Freeman would react (and likely many of you).
Well then, I think I’m done with this now. While I’m sure I’ll eventually read/listen to the rest of the series I’ve gone a bit off the journey just now.