[Audiobook] Review: Life, The Universe, and Everything (THHGTTG, #3), by Douglas Adams

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life, the universe, and everythingTitle: Life, The Universe, and Everything
Series: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, #3
Author: Douglas Adams
Genre: Science Fiction, Humour
Source: Borrowed

Length: 6 hours (Unabridged)
Narrated by: Douglas Adams
Published by: New MIllenium Audio

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The unhappy inhabitants of planet Krikkit are sick of looking at the night sky above their heads–so they plan to destroy it. The universe, that is. Now only five individuals stand between the killer robots of Krikkit and their goal of total annihilation.

They are Arthur Dent, a mild-mannered space and time traveler who tries to learn how to fly by throwing himself at the ground and missing; Ford Prefect, his best friend, who decides to go insane to see if he likes it; Slartibartfast, the indomitable vice president of the Campaign for Real Time, who travels in a ship powered by irrational behavior; Zaphod Beeblebrox, the two-headed, three-armed ex-president of the galazy; and Trillian, the sexy space cadet who is torn between a persistent Thunder God and a very depressed Beeblebrox.

How will it all end? Will it end? Only this stalwart crew knows as they try to avert “universal” Armageddon and save life as we know it–and don’t know it!

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I knew this had to happen at some point. Eventually, there would be a book in this series that wouldn’t completely grab me like the rest. This was that book.

One thing I love about this series is the humour, and this book definitely has it, but it didn’t seem to come in spades like it did in the first two books. I think the one thing that I didn’t like with this installment was the fact that it wasn’t as light as the first two. I loved the idea of the characters just randomly traveling through the galaxy, but this book is more about the prevention of the destruction of the planet Krikkit.

The thing that I think was missing in this book was the character interaction with one another. Think of the last book and the whole spaceship-making-a-cup-of-tea bit. That part was hilarious. It was great to see Arthur completely out of his element in space, but with this book, he’s really not. It all just seemed too normal to me. Also, I wonder if maybe the whole plot of the book was just too confusing for me (which doesn’t seem to be the case with the craziness of the first two books), or maybe I could do with a reread of it.

The audio, though, was still amazing. Douglas Adams is not only a wonderful writer, but he can narrate his books quite well. I know some authors can’t do this, but Adams has the right pacing, the right inflection, and just the right everything. I can honestly say that I don’t think I would get the same effect of his books while reading them on the page. If you plan to read these books, I highly recommend listening to the audiobooks narrated by Adams – they are wonderful.

So this book might not have been one of the better ones for me, but that doesn’t mean I won’t continue with the series. I’m eager to see how this trilogy in five parts ends!

rating-3-01

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[Audiobook] Review: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (THHGTTG, #2), by Douglas Adams

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restaurant at the end of the universeTitle: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Series: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, #2
Author: Douglas Adams
Genre: Science Fiction, Humour
Source: Borrowed

Length: 6 hours (Unabridged)
Narrated by: Douglas Adams
Published by: New MIllenium Audio

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Facing annihilation at the hands of the warlike Vogons is a curious time to have a craving for tea. It could only happen to the cosmically displaced Arthur Dent and his curious comrades in arms as they hurtle across space powered by pure improbabilityband desperately in search of a place to eat.

Among Arthur’s motley shipmates are Ford Prefect, a longtime friend and expert contributor to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; Zaphod Beeblebrox, the three-armed, two-headed ex-president of the galaxy; Tricia McMillan, a fellow Earth refugee who’s gone native (her name is Trillian now); and Marvin, the moody android who suffers nothing and no one very gladly. Their destination? The ultimate hot spot for an evening of apocalyptic entertainment and fine dining, where the food (literally) speaks for itself.

Will they make it? The answer: hard to say. But bear in mind that the Hitchhiker’s Guide deleted the term “Future Perfect” from its pages, since it was discovered not to be!

“What’s such fun is how amusing the galaxy looks through Adams’ sardonically silly eyes.”

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I had never really intended to read the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, it just sort of happened. While I tried to read the first book over and over again, I never got into it, but when I popped in the audiobook narrated by the author, I was completely in love. A little worried that I wouldn’t understand this second book in the series since it had been so long since I listened to the first, I was quite happy to be able to slide right back into that world, into the hysterical mind of Douglas Adams.

“It is worth repeating at this point the theories that Ford had come up with, on his first encounter with human beings, to account for their peculiar habit of continually stating and restating the very very obvious, as in “It’s a nice day,” or “You’re very tall,” or “So this is it, we’re going to die.”

His first theory was that if human beings didn’t keep exercising their lips, their mouths probably shriveled up.

After a few months of observation he had come up with a second theory, which was this–“If human beings don’t keep exercising their lips, their brains start working.”

In all honesty, I have no idea what to say about this book. I laughed and laughed at some sections (mostly while listening in my car, which I’m sure was hilarious to other drivers) – mainly the ones that revolved around tea, from Arthur Dent trying to explain to a computer how to make a proper cup of tea, or to the increasingly loud Number Two asking Arthur and his comrades what they want to drink.

“Your God person puts an apple tree in the middle of a garden and says, do what you like, guys, oh, but don’t eat the apple. Surprise surprise, they eat it and he leaps out from behind a bush shouting “Gotcha”. It wouldn’t have made any difference if they hadn’t eaten it.’

‘Why not?’

‘Because if you’re dealing with somebody who has the sort of mentality which likes leaving hats on the pavement with bricks under them you know perfectly well they won’t give up. They’ll get you in the end.”

I love how Adams pokes fun at certain things, with the whole book not making a whole lot of sense (seriously, these books can get weird!), but they’re still so accessible. For most of my listening, when I wasn’t busting a gut I probably had a furrowed brow as I wondered what in the galaxy was going on. Some sections were completely drawn out and ridiculous, other sections cut off abruptly, but the whole thing just works. When I finished, I knew that I would have to continue on listening to the rest of the story because I had to get to the bottom of it all!

I’m sure that there are still so many parts that will go over my head, but in the end, I found this book to be immensely enjoyable and I wish I had read (or listened to) it sooner. Can’t wait to continue on!

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[Short Story] Review: Beyond Lies the Wub by Philip K. Dick

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beyond lies the wubTitle: Beyond Lies the Wub
Author:
Philip K. Dick
Genre: Science Fiction
Source: Mark Turetsky (Audiobook Narrator)

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The wub stood sagging, its great body settling slowly. It was sitting down, its eyes half shut. A few flies buzzed about its flank, and it switched its tail.

“It” sat. There was silence.

“It’s a wub,” Peterson said. “I got it from a native for fifty cents. He said it was a very unusual animal. Very respected.”

“This? It’s a pig A huge dirty pig “

“Yes sir, it’s a pig. The natives call it a wub.”

“A huge pig. It must weigh four hundred pounds.” Franco grabbed a tuft of the rough hair. The wub gasped. Its eyes opened, small and moist. Then its great mouth twitched. A tear rolled down the wub’s cheek and splashed on the floor.

“Maybe it’s good to eat,” Peterson said nervously.

“We’ll soon find out,” Franco said.

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(This review originally appeared on my blog Winter Distractions on May 14, 2013)

I’m finding that I don’t read enough short stories. In my collection, I have quite a few short story collections, but I always find that when I go to read a book, I must read the ENTIRE BOOK and not just settle at one story out of the book. So, for me to read a short story is quite an accomplishment.

Science fiction is not something I read every day. For me, I like to find science fiction stories that are not only accessible to new-to-the-genre readers like me, but ones that are also quirky and somewhat different. With Philip K. Dick’s Beyond Lies the Wub, that was exactly what I got. For most of the story, I had a scrunched-up look on my face because it was just so different that by the time I finished, I knew that I had found the short story for me. And maybe the author for me (since I really haven’t read any of Dick’s work in the past).

This story is about the “wub” — a pig-like creature that is found by the crew of a space liner. What’s interesting about the “wub” is that the description we’re given pretty much lays the creature out as a pig, which makes the inhabitants of the space liner very keen on eating it. However, the wub talks and has philosophical conversations. Apparently, that’s one smart pig.

It was interesting not only that Franco (who seemed to be the leader of this crew) was so keen on killing and eating the wub, but that the wub was also very much aware to this fact. What makes the wub any different from a human on the space liner? I mean, the wub seemed to have a brain, an opinion, and an awareness — buy just because it speaks, does that make it any different from any other animal that does NOT speak?

Really, this story just opened up a huge bag of philosophical worms and even though the pace is slower, it’s a short read, and there’s nothing overly exciting in it, it’s still very much a quirky story that will open up conversation among its readers. Especially that ending. Once I finished reading it, I had to go back a few paragraphs to read it again before I could fully form an opinion on it. In some ways, it’s a delightfully quirky little read, but in others, it’s kind of horrifying and sad.

rating-4-01

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