The regular early morning yell of horror was the sound of Arthur Dent waking up and suddenly remembering where he was. (p.7)
Arthur is a human. He has had a terrible time since the Earth exploded, or was detonated – depending on your view of things.
‘I went mad for a while,’ said Ford, ‘did me no end of good.’ (p.12)
He and Ford have been stranded on a remade Earth some millions of years ago in its environmental development, but some years forth in a hypothetical lateral timeline. Through distortions in space-time they arrive in the future to meet, once again, Slartibartfast who wants their help to prevent something horrid.
‘…which will engulf the Galaxy in fire and destruction, and possibly bring the Universe to a premature doom. I mean it,’ he added. (p.36)
This is the third book of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. They are enjoyable science fiction yarns, and while this has more ludicrous story elements than the earlier books, mostly the references to cricket’s The Ashes urn, it is a fun read.
Unlike the second book, which focused on Zaphod Beeblebrox, this book centres on the actions of the Earthman, Arthur. This makes for a central character out of his natural environment, and thus makes his achievements more impressive.
The whole Galaxy is at risk. That’s pretty important. Also, Arthur wants some peace and quite that isn’t isolating.
Time is always running out to beat evil robots to precious materials so as to stop the apocalypse. In between these events the book pauses to colour its world with intriguing explanations of the Universe it inhabits.
‘I think that your young lady friend is trying to understand some problems of Galactic history. I think the potato crisps are probably helping her.’ (p.119)
Every character has believable instances and mundane desires. Like eating crisps during dramatic events.
The explanations of the Universe are charmingly plausible and made by leaps of science, such as the application of Bistromathmatics in creating an incredibly implausible engine:
‘On a waiter’s bill pad,’ said Slartibartfst, ‘reality and unreality collide…’ (p.41)